Kotick: We delivered another record quarter, and we continue to focus on building enduring franchises for our nearly 500 million monthly players around the world. Continuous innovation within existing franchises, and the creation of new franchises (like Overwatch) helps broaden our audiences, deepen engagement, and increase player investment.
We believe gaming is the most engaging form of media, and players spend tens of billions of hours a year with our franchises. In fact, this quarter alone, our players spent over 10 billion hours playing our games. This strong engagement and the social experiences that are such an important part of gameplaying have been the catalyst for our new opportunities in enhanced game monetization, expansion of our franchises into linear media and consumer products, and greater involvement in advertising supported spectator gaming like we have with MLG.
It is estimated that as many as 225 million people are now watching organized gaming competitions. Competition between videogame players is becoming as thrilling to watch as traditional professional sports. With the launch of professional global leagues, we believe games spectating will grow significantly as an opportunity for us and for our players. The increased popularity of spectator gaming will enable us to celebrate and reward our players, and recognize their accomplishments. Professional gamers will eventually be as celebrated, honored, and recognized as professional athletes.
Professional gamers will be the role models and goodwill ambassadors of the digital generation, and we believe great new business opportunities are emerging throughout the esports ecosystem, which we helped pioneer more than a decade ago with games like StarCraft.
In May, Blizzard released Overwatch, which in about four months has already eclipsed 20 million registered players making it Blizzard’s fastest, new intellectual property to reach that mark; and Overwatch was specifically designed to be a definitive competitive game.
We are uniquely positioned to realize the full potential of esports. We have some of the most successful iconic franchises in gaming, and direct relationships with nearly half a billion monthly active users. A powerful combination that distinguishes us from the rest of our competitors; and we have unmatched commercial capabilities that have served our shareholders extremely well over the last 25 years.
Before I hand off the call, I want to take this opportunity to thank the talented people who drive the success at our company every day. They are our greatest asset, inspiring play, competition and community by creating the most engaging entertainment in the world.