Blizzard’s Q4 2013 Report

If you have not already heard the news, WoW has lost gained 200k subscribers in the last quarter, edging back up to 7.8 million subs. This is quite a reversal from last May, when they hemorrhaged 1.3 million in three months.

In a fit of investigative journalism, I went ahead and looked at the investor report. Here are some choice quotes:

In particular, free-to-play games have achieved scale that should now allow us to realize great returns from the investments that we’ve been making in this area. Over the next few years, we plan to introduce at least three potential groundbreaking franchises operating on our free-to-play transaction systems designed to appeal to players across numerous platforms and in numerous geographies. These games including Hearthstone, Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm and Call of Duty online, all have enormous potential.

Personally, this is the first time I’ve heard about a Call of Duty online, but I confess that I don’t follow CoD news generally. Apparently, it is going to be released in China first, but… actually, I don’t know. Surely there will be mainstream releases of the regular CoD franchise every year (even if they go to a 3-year cycle), so perhaps this will be China-only.

When the call got to Mike Morhaime, there were a series of amusing transcription errors. Like this one:

We should use the strength in Q4 for a few factors. The excitement from BlizzCon, seasonality from the holidays and a refresh of the recruit of final program which offer special test inbound to players to bring revenue into World of Warcraft.

…and…

We think that this is a great feature that will make it easier for friends to play together in World of Warcraft. It’s also attractive for veteran players, who have already experienced the level and process multiple times and wants to quickly raise a new character to deal ending combats.

…and…

Entry into a special game mode called Arena can also be purchased with Indian gold or real currency.

So when you face your special inbound test, make sure to use real currency instead of Indian gold to deal ending combats.

The rest of the call was uneventful beyond one final item, of particular note to the skeptics of Blizzard’s “stabilization”:

Okay. And the other part of the question was on the East-West split. So, in Q4 we were slightly down in the East and slightly up in the West.

So in other words, a lot of the gain came from NA/EU rather than the people paying pocket change in China.

And that’s basically it. Morhaime mentioned that he’s expecting some weaker numbers in Q1 2014 given how they won’t have the BlizzCon boost anymore nor any new content, but is otherwise hopeful that the level 90 boost will drive some ex-player engagement. It doesn’t do anything in particular for me though, at least right now, but we’ll see.

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Posted on February 11, 2014, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’m still trying to figure out what he really said. I can’t come up with phonetically similar words that would fit in most positions. I figured out that “recruit of final” must be “recruit a friend”, and that “Indian gold” must be “in-game gold”. But what are deal-ending combats?

    • Oh, also: does nobody proof-read these minutes before they publish them? That’s really embarrassing, and pretty poor.

      • I’m assuming that they were simply fed through a voice transcriber and left as-is. Technically, there’s a link/email address one can use to point out errors, but yeah, it shouldn’t be our responsibility to do so.

    • I figure “test inbound” is supposed to be “testing ground”. “level and process” is “leveling process”. I don’t get the Arena one at all though…why would you have to pay ingame or real money for access to Arena?

      Really poor, reminds me of some of the work emails I get that obviously haven’t even been glanced over once after typing.

  2. Call of Duty online? How would this differ from the current Call of Duty games? I can’t imagine any way in which a persistent world would improve Call of Duty.

    I guess we’ll finally find out what happened to all that Indian gold that the conquistadors got their hands on.

  3. Hearthstone made me miss WoW after having been away for a year so I re-subbed … for a month and a half then remembered why I quit. Same old, same old.