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Published: May 7, 2021

Written by: Edward Pearcey

  • Blizzard revealed it has lost yet another 2 million active players
  • The company lost just under a third of its users in the last three years because of varied factors
  • Despite the drop in active players, the company reports an increase of revenue

Blizzard’s community continues to decline but the company’s endeavors still prove profitable.

Blizzard’s Decline and the Recent Scandals

Blizzard’s active user count seems to be plummeting as the company just lost another 2 million active users. This was reported by Blizzard itself while it was disclosing its financial results.

The report said that at the beginning of the year Blizzard had around 29 million active users per month which have now decreased to 27 million. If we count the statistics for the last three years, we find out that Blizzard has lost 29% of its monthly playerbase or 11 million people.

This is a considerable drop and it has pretty numerous reasons behind it. Some of them are the scandals around the company that were a common occurrence during the last few years. To name a few, we have layoffs in 2019 and the recent layoffs in March 2021, the Blitzchung outrage where a player was denied his prizes for voicing his support for the Hong Kong protesters and the surprisingly high salary of Activision Blizzard’s CEO.

The Gaming Side of the Problem

Scandals aside, there have been other more gaming-themed reasons for Blizzard’s decline. The company has been lying low for the last years and hasn’t really made a new game since Overwatch. StarCraft 2 started fading away as the RTS genre is undergoing a dark age. Heroes of the Storm could not establish itself well against its MOBA competitors. The Warcraft III rework became the subject of an instant scrutiny because it failed to meet the standards it had set for itself. World of Warcraft’s recent expansion Shadowlands met a pretty warm response but failed to keep fans engaged with new content: the upcoming first major patch Chains of Domination still lacks a release date.

However despite losing a significant amount of players, Blizzard is still doing well in terms of revenues. In fact, its income has increased by seven percent, mainly thanks to Shadowlands. The Warcraft universe still seems to be the main driving force behind Blizzard. In 2020 they marked another rise in revenue thanks to WoW (both retail and classic) and Hearthstone.

Blizzard will soon be releasing the Diablo 2: Resurrected remake and the Burning Crusade expansion for WoW Classic. On the other hand, Diablo 4, the continuation to the series, and Overwatch 2 are currently in the works, together with several mobile games. With all those upcoming games, it is possible for Blizzard to spring back into having a growing community.

Moreover it seems Blizzard is trying to change tact as Bobby Kotick will be reportedly halving his salary. However it is still early to tell whether the future will bring a Blizzard Renaissance or the company will continue losing favor. 

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