Candy Crush Is Worth More Than Star Wars And WoW Is A Cow

The news that Activision Blizzard purchased the Candy Crush devs (King Digital Entertainment) for $5.9B definitely gave me reason to raise an eyebrow. Just a few years ago, Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4B. Lucasfilm… Candy Crush…. Lucasfilm… Candy Crush… I just don’t… yeah. There’s clearly money to be made crushing candies.

Blizzard BCG Matrix
Where would you put Blizzard’s products on this BCG matrix? Hint: WoW has udders, Hearthstone’s engagement metrics are up 77%, and Overwatch has 7 million people playing a beta.

The other part of this news story talks about how World of Warcraft’s subscribers drop by another 100,000. This most recent drop follows the previous 3 million sub loss. While some people are questioning the statement made by Blizzard that these sub numbers put the game in a “relatively stable” state, I think that’s the absolute truth. If you just dropped 3 million subs, haven’t released anything new in months and do not plan to until the next major expansion in 6 months, and you only dropped 100k subs? That’s… yeah, that’s relatively stable.

Playing WoW myself right now I can attest to the fact that there isn’t a whole lot to do. WoD, while relatively fun compared to Cataclysm and MoP, isn’t a WotLK. There’s not much to live through in this expansion. Could Blizzard have continued making content? I think that question takes a back seat to whether or not they should have kept making content. I believe pushing for Legion is the right way to go. Let’s be real, when Legion launches you know they are rebounding at least 5 million subs. It always happens.

WoW as a whole is being slowly pushed to the side to make room for other (potentially more lucrative) projects. Yes, WoW makes a ton. No, they won’t just toss it aside. But look at the big picture (and a BCG matrix) and it’s becoming ever more clear that WoW, while a cash cow, is no longer their star.

  • Hearthstone and HotS, while amusing, aren’t even in the same time zone of enjoyment for me as WoW in its heyday (pre-Cata). It’s sad to me that the age of great MMO’s is over, replaced by moronic match 3 games on tiny screens.

  • what do you think about “Blizzard will no longer report subscriber numbers”?

    if you dont want to show something is because that something is “bad”

  • @TheCrow: There are multiple ways to spin this one. I think the one that carries the most weight is the idea of judging MMORPG success on metrics other than subs. What are those metrics? Well, that becomes complicated when you talk about things like Krono/Tokens/Plex/etc.

  • The more stories I hear about big purchases like this, the more I feel we’re in the midst of the second big tech bubble.

  • If you read the statements made by the CEO of Activision Blizzard it sure reads like the shift is going to be made towards finding new ways to monetize their current titles. He even says KING excels at that and that is why they wanted, their knowledge and experience in that aspect of gaming.

    Based on comments like that I would imagine the number of subs is going to be less of a focus and the importance will be on how much revenue can be generated per player on average.

  • Each rebound has successively had less subscribers. Wow survives on it’s own momentum due to it’s large player base and being a “first” for many people, but as to whether it’s a good game? It’s not. Polished sure, but when you bleed subscribers like this, there’s generally a reason for it.

    Also you can’t just look at beta numbers, beta is not the same as buyers, just ask Wildstar. While of course these games will sell well, they won’t sell as crazy well as previous blizzard titles, and this ‘hype’ for legacy of the void is nigh nonexistent except on blizzard focused sites. All part of the slow decline.