2 years ago, Blizzard fans were asked: "Do you not have phones?"
Of course they do. And not only that, they will be playing Diablo Immortal on release. And after $ATVI (Activision-Blizzard) earnings in February, we can anticipate from the marked success of the latest Call of Duty entry, the 'Warzone Model' is now the Activision-Blizzard model. Free to play access, with microtransactions and pay-to-play content baked in is the move now. But of course that would be the plan with the Phone Diablo... Phoniablo?
We can't be mad at Wyatt Cheng. I mean, unless you spent two-hundred dollars for tickets and flew out to Anaheim and had to stay in some satellite hotel and your cosplay wig glue was melting down the back of your neck after waiting in lines all day. Hell, even then - we can't really be mad at the man. We DO have phones. And we DO play videogames on them. More folks on phones now than desktop and laptop machines, let's be honest. And there's no need to really break down the why and how of the outrage. But $79.59 dollars on the stock in October to $47.23 in December is nothing to sneeze at.
Fast forward a few years and a global quarantine later. Between earnings in 2021 and Blizzconline two weeks later - we see ATVI break through the resistance into 100 bucks (103.81 at the peak) and slide back to 96.60. Anticipate some fluctuation in this space as the droves return for the nostalgia-flavored dopamine of World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade. Blizzard promises this to be a 2021 release and if it will be anything like Original Classic, it will be exciting and fresh for at least a year and cover the bases until the heavy hitters in Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 hit the board. And that's not to write off the Shadowlands expansion of World of Warcraft either, which as is typical, always brings in a bit more new blood and anima for those sub numbers. At least until they hit level cap.
Some concerns to consider is playerbase cannibalization between Diablo 4 and Diablo Immortal, which is likely low risk as Blizzard will stagger the releases to protect them both - and the fact that they both serve a different base. Diablo 4 will absorb most of the attention- while Immortal will very quietly bring in the Whale's check.
To summarize, the Blizzard release cycle is on its way and there's a halfway solid line-up to anticipate. Emphasis on halfway. No news on Starcraft, and anyone who actually understands that the MMO is a dead genre knows the real and current sub numbers need to be hidden in a basement. Blizzard makes dead games - with love. As much love as Activision will let them. Which is to say, just enough for Overwatch videos to resurface on Pornhub.com. At $ATVI 's current price point, it is a decent swing trade toy-stonk. Fluctuation in the space isn't going away and it's clear they can break past the point of resistance. And expect a .50 cent (annual. yawn. ) dividend this year too. With this said, nu-Blizzard lives and dies by their mastery of the honeymoon phase. Consistent, relentless release cycles are not their strong suit. They build hype and deliver some such product that (less and less) people already believe they will love. As they transition to a microtransaction model expect a brain-drain in the talent department and in 5-years Blizzard will need new IPs that they care about, or they will cement themselves as a "What-could-have-been" game company, lost like so many. (pretty much... all of them??) But hey, maybe they'll make animated movies finally like they've wanted to since forever? One can only hope.