Activision Blizzard's revenue performance is continuing to fall as Microsoft completes its $68.7 billion plan to bring the massive publisher to Xbox's campus next year. But what's most worrying for both companies may be the decline in player involvement that Activision reported Monday.
Monthly active users, which Activision and other companies use as a success indicator while keeping hard-earned revenue hidden, fell to their lowest level since Call of Duty Mobile was launched in the fall of 2019. They were 94 million this year, down 28% from the 127 million in June 2021.
Call of Duty Mobile increased its monthly active users figure, which came from Activisions half of the business, to 128 million in the first quarter, compared to 36 million in the previous quarter.
The decline in player engagement since March 2021's peak of 150 million monthly active users suggests that Call of Duty: Vanguard's last drop, if not to blame, might at least have those numbers cannibalized by Call of Duty Warzoner Mobile, both of which have been more successful.
Activision filed its annual report on April 30 and had not made an investor call since Microsoft announced the purchase on January 18 that Vanguard did not meet our expectations, which we believe was primarily due to our own execution. The World War II setting did not resonate with some of our members, and we didn't provide as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked.
FromSoftwares Elden Ring, which was launched on February 25, was the most popular U.S. title for the previous 12 months as of May 13, surprising fans and observers who had expected Call of Duty to maintain the top spot for the better part of ten years.
Activision stated that Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone had improved some in comparison to the previous quarter, but that Call of Duty's contribution to the company's bottom line was still declining year over year.
The launch of Diablo Immortal, a free-to-play game, took place with one month to go in the most recent quarter, but it still accounted for 27 million monthly active users for Blizzard. That's up 4% year over year, and a 23% increase from the previous quarter, although that was a new low for the company back in 2016.
Blizzards' revenue dropped by 7% from the previous year; the company faced a difficult comparison to the same quarter in 2021 when it launched World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic.