Bobby Kotick: "Hearthstone can become the fourth mega franchise of Blizzard"
Optimistic words come from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. In the quarterly earnings report, Kotick states that Blizzard's new card game can become the fourth mega franchise of the California studio and take its place among StarCraft, WarCraft and Diablo.
“2013 was a transformational year for Activision Blizzard and for our industry," says Bobby Kotick in the official earnings report. The company CEO, alongside chairman Brian Kelly, helped the studio buy itself off of Vivendi in July and in Kotick's words "returned [Activision Blizzard] to independence and eliminated the challenges and constraints of being a controlled company."
Kotick also writes that 2013 was a transformational year for the company as they enter 2014 with "the strongest and most diverse pipeline of games in [Activision Blizzard's] history." Apart from Bungie's FPS Destiny which will be published by Activision and launched on PS3, PS4, X360 and Xbox One, Activision Blizzard are also looking at officially releasing Call of Duty Online, Diablo III's expansion Reaper of Souls, Blizzard's first MOBA Heroes of the Storm as well as getting Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft out of beta. Although not mentioned in the report, it's also likely that 2014 will be the release year of WoW: Warlords of Draenor, the next installment of Blizzard's MMO announced at last year's BlizzCon.
While 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for Activision Blizzard, the company reported that 2013 saw a decline in revenue compared to 2012. The annual 2013 GAAP net revenue is reported to be $4.58 billion which is $0.28 billion less than 2012's $4.86 billion.
Highlights from the Q4 conference call:
- BlizzCon 2013 was the most successful BlizzCon to date, with 4.5 million viewers and 24,000 attendees
- World of WarCraft ended 2013 with 7.8 million subscribers
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls coming out on March 25th. The auction house will close one week before that
- 100,000 concurrent viewers watched Hearthstone's Innkeeper's Invitational online
- iPad and Android versions of Hearthstone are planned for later in 2014
- Heroes of the Storm was named "the most anticipated game" by a G-Star poll in Korea
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm was the #1 selling game in NA retail in 2013