This year, Activision released Call of Duty Mobile, a Tencent-developed take on the franchise that feels like they jumbled all of the Call of Duty properties together to deliver a compact, “best of” hits collection – in a free-to-play package. It’s easy to deride, but it’s one of the most fun mobile games I’ve played in ages and it’s become an incredible success, amassing over 100 million installs in its first week of wider availability.
It goes without saying that Activision might like to tap into success with its other franchises. Speaking in an earnings call, Activision Blizzard president and chief operating officer Coddy Johnson said that the publishers was considering making mobile versions of its other games – but not before reminding people that as it owns Candy Crush developer King, that a lot of its business is already focused on mobile.
“A third of our business is on mobile already. We have the largest mobile gaming presence in the west. So we want to build on that leadership position. We think it’s a foundation of strength to do that. It is a massive opportunity, and we think not just for Call of Duty and not just for Diablo Immortal,” Johnson said.
He said that as phones and tablets become more powerful, it’s making it easier for the company to adapt its games to those platforms.
“The AAA kinds of games we make are ready to work on mobile because of the improving compute and graphics capability,” he said. “And honestly because of evolving player expectations. It’s now the case that many of the most successful global games are first-person action, strategy; those all align, as you might imagine, very well with our portfolio. We have a growing ability to execute”
The key is turning the right franchises from Activision and Blizzard’s stables into mobile games.
“We’re seeing that franchise familiarity and awareness matter–they matter fundamentally to the tune of hundreds of millions of people. When you reach out in the right way with franchises they’re willing to come in. So let’s the level of opportunity we see,” he said.
He also said that the company was considering “all of our franchises” for the mobile market, suggesting that we could see things like Warcraft or Overwatch hit phones in the future.
“In terms of what we’ll make, you might imagine we’re looking at all of our franchises. We want to do it where it makes sense,” he said.
There are three main brackets of mobile games that the company is considering. The first is the sort of game that would “extend existing gameplay,” like Call of Duty mobile. The second is games that the company sees as “reimaginations” of existing franchises, with Hearthstone (a game in the Warcraft universe) as an example. The last bracket is a “true cross-platform title” that operates across PC, consoles and mobiles right from the onset
While Activision has no examples of games like that, I think they’d look to games like Fortnite and Minecraft for inspiration.
Last Updated: November 8, 2019