Fortnite's Massive Success Has Impacted Call Of Duty Publisher
The free-to-play game has had a "near-term impact" on Activision Blizzard.
Fortnite is one of the biggest, most popular games on Earth right now--it's so big that it's even impacting the established juggernaut Activision. Management said on an earnings call today that the popular free-to-play game, and other battle royale games, has taken away something away (potentially money or players) from Activision properties in the short term. "We have seen some near-term impact from Battle Royale," Activision Blizzard management said during a Q&A this afternoon.
The publisher did not say how much of an impact Fortnite and other battle royale games have had on Activision Blizzard's bottom line or which of its games were most affected. However, it is noteworthy that management would say this at all.
Also during the call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said Fortnite is helping gaming overall become more popular and mainstream. Activision Publishing president Coddy Johnson added that the battle royale mode is "contributing to innovation within the industry," going on to say it is helping bring new, younger games to video games. He added that it is "really encouraging" to see Fortnite and other battle royale games do well on mobile. This may inform what Activision Blizzard does in the future with its own mobile games, the publisher said.
Perhaps the bigger takeaway here is that Activision Blizzard, as suspected, might be looking to get in on the Battle Royale movement in some manner.
"When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation," Kotick said. "When we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those."
Some have suggested that the popularity of Fortnite and other free-to-play games is in some way eroding the traditional $60 business model. Johnson said the video game industry, like other industries, is big enough to support multiple business models.
"We think that in a growing industry like ours there is room for multiple business models to succeed in parallel," Johnson said, pointing out that video streaming sites like the subscription-based Netflix and (mostly) free YouTube co-exist in harmony. He added that Activision Blizzard's own portfolio of games is diversified with free-to-play and paid games alike, along with other revenue streams from things like add-on content and microtransactions.
"We do think $60 games will continue to be an important part of that equation," Johnson said.
The most important thing when creating content is to ensure that the "value proposition" is in a good place; that is to say, that the content in question is perceived to be valuable enough for people to feel compelled to buy it and satisfied with their purchase. This is Activision Blizzard's "north star," Johnson said.
One of Activision's next big new releases is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, which comes out in early October for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. There have been rumours online that this game will include a Battle Royale mode, but Activision has made no announcements yet. The company plans to formally unveil the game during an event on May 17.
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