Diablo Immortal launch turns around two-year trend of tumbling Blizzard player numbers

Diablo Immortal has stemmed the flow of falling Blizzard user numbers, and given the company a modest increase in monthly active engagement.

However, Activision Blizzard’s latest financial results show Blizzard active users have only recovered slightly – to where they were just over a year ago – and revenue remains down slightly year-on-year.

After falling to 22 million monthly active users for the quarter ending in March 2022, Diablo Immortal has helped Blizzard back to 27 million for the quarter ending at the beginning of July.

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But cast your eye back over a year and Blizzard’s player numbers are still nowhere near where they once were – to 29 million at the end of 2020, 32 million at the end of 2019, and 35 million at the end of 2018.

How important has that Diablo Immortal boost been? Well, it’s the first time in two years Blizzard has recorded any quarterly uptick in its player numbers, despite the general downward trend.

Additionally, it’s likely we’ll see further improvement from the game’s Chinese launch in Blizzard’s next quarterly results – after the title was delayed at the last minute in the country, reportedly due to a social media post referencing Winnie the Pooh, which insulted the Chinese government.

But as GamesIndustry.biz noted, that boost may still fall short of some expectations – especially when compared to the enormous quarter-on-quarter ~90 million user boost seen by Activision for the launch of the similarly free-to-play Call of Duty Mobile.

Blizzard has struggled to retain players over the past few years as interest in World of Warcraft continues to fall, games such as Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have been delayed, and the company has struggled through a number of crises and controversies.

Next up for Blizzard? Overwatch 2 arrives as a free-to-play early access title in October, before Diablo 4 at some point in 2023.

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