Blizzard’s Q4 2014 Report: Hearthstone Edition

The big news in the Activision Blizzard Quarterly Report everywhere else is that WoW appears to have stabilized at 10 million subscriptions. Also, that Hearthstone has 25 million registered users, whatever that means. After reading through the transcript of the earnings call however, it turns out that we can estimate exactly how well Hearthstone is performing. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty damn good.

First, we have this quote from Bobby Kotick:

Last year, we launched 2 of the most successful new entertainment brands, Destiny and Blizzard’s Hearthstone. Combined, they attracted over 40 million registered players worldwide and generated more than $850 million in non-GAAP revenue, a testament to our team’s proven abilities to capture the imaginations of millions of people around the world time and time again.

Then from Eric Hirshberg (CEO of Activision):

So in closing, over the last 3 years, Activision Publishing has methodically expanded its portfolio, and for the first time in its history, now has 3 tent-pole properties, each of which generated over $500 million in non-GAAP revenue this year and drove the highest digital revenues in Activision Publishing’s history.

So by the power of inductive reasoning, we can say Hearthstone made around $350 million in revenue last year. Further, according to Thomas Tippl (COO), Destiny and Hearthstone are “tent-pole franchises” that were “profitable out of the gate” and are expected to “contribute to [Activision Blizzard’s] results every year in a significant way.” Combine that with Mike Morhaime confirming that the December release of the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion resulted in the highest monthly active players and highest revenue quarter-to-date, that indicates Hearthstone is still growing a year later. That’s kind of a big deal.

Now, it’s entirely possible that “more than $500 million” means Destiny has a larger slice of the $850 million combined revenue pie than I am assuming here. Maybe Hearthstone “only” achieved $300 million. Or even as little as $250 million. It’s helpful to keep some perspective though: all of paper and digital Magic: the Gathering brings in $250 million in revenue. So, on the low end, Hearthstone is already a bigger franchise than Magic: the Gathering. And apparently growing.

Not bad for a “casual app with a PC port.”

Posted on February 9, 2015, in Commentary, Hearthstone and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. The three tent-poles would be CoD, WoW, and Destiny (can’t read the transcript as I’m not going to register, but did they specifically say HS was the 3rd? From the quote you included it doesn’t look like that, considering it says EACH tent-pole generated 500m+).

    Also we know exactly what 25m registered users means; 25m people created a free HS account since launch, whether its to seriously give the game a shot or win three games to get a free mount in WoW. One could ask why they didn’t provide monthly users or another common F2P statistic like, say, CoC or LoL provide, but I think we likely know the answer to that one.

    So ultimately we have a Warcraft based game, made by Blizzard, cross three platforms now (PC, apple, android), that is maybe, maybe generating the revenue of a game that is what, 25 years old at this point and has perhaps one of the worst online aspects?

    Also it still hasn’t move much up the charts in the app store, but why look at charting revenue when you can run with number of free accounts, right?


    • The context of the “3 tent-pole” quote is solely from Activision’s side: CoD, Destiny, and Skylanders. I’m actually suspicious of the Skylanders number being $500m+ considering “Mobile and Other” amounted to $447m in 2014, but maybe the toys and actual videogame interface are being calculated separately.


  2. Can you imagine what would happen if they figured out a decent mobile strategy for phones?


    • Hearthstone is eventually coming out on iPhone and Android phones.

      That being said, Blizzard is leaving a completely stupid amount of money on the table currently. Can you imagine WoW’s Pet Battles being sold for $2.99 or whatever in the app store? Or something like Garrisons? Or even goddamn fishing? Daily quests on your phone… BAM. There’s an easy $10 million.

      Blizzard introduced the mobile AH over 4 years ago and sold access for $3/month. I’m not entirely sure why they stopped, but it would be really easy to start again or just sell those sort of mini-games either as a one-time purchase or “enhancement” to your subscription account.

      I wouldn’t even be mad.


      • They stopped because no one serious with the AH was using it. Was way too dumbed down.

        You’re right about the money on the table. Pet battles could take a mint.


      • Hearthstone must have a pretty small dev team. They don’t even fix bugs very promptly.

        But they don’t put garrisons in an app because then no one would ever log in to WoW.


  3. In other news that will infuriate Syncaine, apparently Bioware cancelled Shadow Realms to focus more resources on The Old Republic.


  1. Pingback: The little tent-pole that could, and the little blogger that couldn’t | Hardcore Casual

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