Q3 Blizzard results: Should we worry about Hearthstone?

Activision Blizzard

Earlier today, Activision Blizzard published their third-quarter results for 2018, and they are quite impressive. The overall growth is incredible. Today we want to focus on specifically Blizzard’s part in things, namely Hearthstone.

Quote from the Q3 Activision Blizzard Conference Call:

At Blizzard, monthly active users were 37 million, consistent with the prior quarter. Overwatch’s monthly active users are mostly stable quarter over quarter. Hearthstone monthly active users declined, although PvP modes again attracted strong engagement.

Spencer Neumann, CFO of Activision Blizzard, did note the growth in segment revenue was mainly due to World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth‘s success. The success of World of Warcraft offset the lower revenue from Hearthstone and Overwatch.

Quote from the Q3 Activision-Blizzard Conference Call:

Blizzard grew segment revenue 20% year over year, driven by World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. This offset lower revenue for Overwatch and Hearthstone, with the latter facing a tough comp against the record launch of the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion in the prior year.

This is somewhat surprising, maybe even shocking news. Before today, all we heard about Hearthstone was that it was still consistently growing. It seems the outcry of the player base on social media about how lackluster the past expansion was reflected in their sales and the amount of play the Hearthstone players were willing to do.

The Potential impact on Hearthstone

There are a couple ways this low can affect the future of Hearthstone. The first option is the worse one for the players: Blizzard could push to drive more revenue from the players through more cosmetic aspects, such as the hero portraits we have been seeing more of in recent months.

On the other end of this is Blizzard taking the path of making expansions more impactful and exciting. This approach would be similar to what Magic: The Gathering did during its lower times. Creating more strong effects and higher stats on minions will cause people to replace more cards from their old decks and collection. While it’ll make Hearthstone a bit more costly than it is now, we are all for new things. The expansions tend to get less enjoyable a few months in, especially when a new expansion doesn’t shake up the meta enough. If this happens it causes the competitive players and streamers to get burned out much faster on the game.

Conclusion

No matter what Blizzard decides to do with the Hearthstone franchise, the game is not going anywhere. Lows and highs are always happening. This low might just be what Blizzard needs to make the game even better than it has been. We are curious to see what changes Blizzard will make in the future to their franchises. How will they adjust closing out 2018?

For more esports coverage, check out “Sjokz moving into a freelance position with Riot Games.” For more about Hearthstone, have a look at “Hearthstone reaching 100 million players” and how they are celebrating it! If news from Australia is more your style, check out which university in Australia is giving out League of Legends Scholarships!

You can find the full quarterly results on their website Invest.Activision.com.

Featured Image credit: Activision-Blizzard Inc.

I’m Arend Zijdenbos, from the Netherlands. Gamer for as long as I can remember. for the past 5 years I competed and coached Hearthstone at the top level . My current focus is to expand further in the esports writing scene.

I currently also write for Gamersensei, Dignitas, Team Genji, Montreal Gaming and Kyoto Esports for all kinds of Esports related articles.