Activision Shares Down Thanks to World of Warcraft Slide

Activision Shares Down Thanks to World of Warcraft Slide

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Despite posting great financials for the quarter and the year, Activision's share value dropped more than six percent on news that World of Warcraft subscriptions continue to decline.

Behold Activision, which is having a pretty good year. In its most recent financial statement, the company reported third-quarter earnings of $148 million, nearly tripling the outlook it provided in early August. Quarterly profits outpaced analysts' expectations, leading Activision to raise its year-end forecast. On top of all that, Modern Warfare 3 was every bit as big as expected and may ring up 18 million unit sales by the end of the year.

Yet Activision's share price tumbled 6.5 percent on the news. The problem, according to Citigroup analysts Neil Doshi and Mark Mahaney, is World of Warcraft, which lost 800,000 subscribers over the quarter. That's problematic because subscription income from games like World of Warcraft - and let's be honest, the only game like World of Warcraft is World of Warcraft - represents 44 percent of Activision's business, the largest single slice of the pie.

And although it's still the big dog in the subscription-based MMO pack with 10.3 million users, nothing, not even WoW, can take a hit like that and not feel it. It's even worse if you look back over the past year: from October 2010 until now, the game has dropped nearly two million subscribers. Those losses could grow even worse over the holiday quarter, they said, thanks to competition from big releases like Skyrim and, you guessed it, Modern Warfare 3.

Source: Bloomberg

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I see the problem of the decline right there...

Skyrim... MMO killing withouth even trying...

(killing is a strong word, but hey... don't give a dam... Skyrim!!)

If WoW ever goes down to like, 2 million subscribers, they would have to fire half the company to remain profitable.

Activision isnt losing money out of this anyway, what with MW3 currently outselling kiddies chocolate bars by 10-1 one day to a week.

Still im someone who wants to see Activision follow in Atari's footsteps.

Now we wait and see if Blizzard overreacts and does something stupid with WoW, or they wake up and realize they are just boring their players to death anymore and put their heads together to revamp the game as it needs to be.
I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard is forced to start the reveal on their second MMO they have been working on. That will bring the stock back up, though it will also pile the work on the developers on the project.

So because their stocks are down, Activision (being money greedy as they usually are) will probably be paniced and say "quick! we need to do something to get the share back up!", where someone will say: "I know! Let's have two Call of Duty games out a year!". Reply: "Perfect!"

samsonguy920:
Now we wait and see if Blizzard overreacts and does something stupid with WoW, or they wake up and realize they are just boring their players to death anymore and put their heads together to revamp the game as it needs to be.
I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard is forced to start the reveal on their second MMO they have been working on. That will bring the stock back up, though it will also pile the work on the developers on the project.

This.

I'm tired of them looming this MMO over everyone's head saying it's done. This is what I imagine Blizzard is doing:

*meanwhile, at Blizzard HQ*
CEO: Okay, so we copied half the fights from previous expansion, and took some more fights from the expansion before that. We got the other 3/4 of the year to do whatever we want--

Runner: Excuse me, sir, communication from Activision.

CEO: Holy balls, guys, we have lost 6% on our stock price. Activision is telling us that we have to start working again.

Senior Development Manager: But we're not equipped to work more than 5 hours a week, sir.

CEO: Okay, well, let's just tease that we're working on Titan and its going to be awesome.

PR Manager: We've done that for the last 3 years. Last time we said that we're working on titan, it only brought us up by 0.01% in the shares.

CEO: Patch Diablo III's beta with some lose files and text moved around?

D3 Head Producer: Tried that. No one cared.

CEO: Announce Titan?

Titan Head Producer: (hits the Bong) Yeah, we...umm... we got the name Titan.

CEO: We're screwed.

gigastar:
Activision isnt losing money out of this anyway, what with MW3 currently outselling kiddies chocolate bars by 10-1 one day to a week.

Still I'm someone who wants to see Activision follow in Atari's footsteps.

No, but it is a big sign to Kotick that it is time something gets done. Losing that many people from your only MMO is a sign that only more will follow unless something gets done. When the subscribers lost hits over a million, then the income starts smelling of decay.
In Atari's footsteps...do you mean the original Atari? Because then you are saying you want Kotick to make nothing but crappy business decisions and then just let Vivendi sell Activision/Blizzard off piecemeal.
I don't see Bobby doing that. Activision's one fault is overdoing some titles, but otherwise they do have strong business sense. They don't embrace crap DRM like EA or Ubisoft, and even with all of Bobby's rants about wanting to squeeze money out of people, his actual track record says otherwise. It is weird to say, but right now Activision is the gaming good guy this year. EA could still commit corporate suicide if they don't handle Origin right, and from what I have been hearing so far, Battlefield 3 is coming up short in its promises. Modern Warfare 3 has potential to come out the winner this time.

Good, good. This not only means that hopefully some day in the future Metzen will go unemployed, but also that more MMO:s may go on the market.

Let's just hope that D3 flopps, and no one buys the SC2 DLC...sorry, "expansion". Down Blizzard! Down!

WoW's dominance will remain, I think, but nothing like it's known in the past. Especially with how promising GW2 looks...

Imper1um:

samsonguy920:
Now we wait and see if Blizzard overreacts and does something stupid with WoW, or they wake up and realize they are just boring their players to death anymore and put their heads together to revamp the game as it needs to be.
I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard is forced to start the reveal on their second MMO they have been working on. That will bring the stock back up, though it will also pile the work on the developers on the project.

This.

I'm tired of them looming this MMO over everyone's head saying it's done. This is what I imagine Blizzard is doing:

*meanwhile, at Blizzard HQ*
CEO: Okay, so we copied half the fights from previous expansion, and took some more fights from the expansion before that. We got the other 3/4 of the year to do whatever we want--

Runner: Excuse me, sir, communication from Activision.

CEO: Holy balls, guys, we have lost 6% on our stock price. Activision is telling us that we have to start working again.

Senior Development Manager: But we're not equipped to work more than 5 hours a week, sir.

CEO: Okay, well, let's just tease that we're working on Titan and its going to be awesome.

PR Manager: We've done that for the last 3 years. Last time we said that we're working on titan, it only brought us up by 0.01% in the shares.

CEO: Patch Diablo III's beta with some lose files and text moved around?

D3 Head Producer: Tried that. No one cared.

CEO: Announce Titan?

Titan Head Producer: (hits the Bong) Yeah, we...umm... we got the name Titan.

CEO: We're screwed.

A perfect example of Acti/Blizz doing the overreactionary stupid thing. Nicely put.
No, it is high time they took the covers off their new MMO and show us real product. Quit teasing us with a name that won't even be on the box. And once they release the new one, shut WoW down, give it a good renovation and refit, and release it 2.0 style. It would even help if they make and release a new Warcraft RTS to help set the stage for the new world. And erase the fucking pandas. In fact that would be the perfect setting: Play as the Horde, Alliance, or Scourge to eradicate the Panda infestation from Azeroth and Kalimdor. WoW 2.0 would take place afterward, where the Horde and Alliance take the gloves off and we get true battlefields between the factions instead of only these tournament games.

Two words: New content.

Actual new content. With actual difficulty for those of us who want it, and an easy mode for the people who want that. Make a clear cut difference. Don't listen to the people who whine that they can't have the best gear for doing nothing.

Oh, and stop worrying about ways to charge us for shit. Make us actually want to play the goddamn game and the money will appear.

And with Guild Wars 2 which is coming out soon (I HAVE NO IDEA) looking very good and no monthly fee, I can guess that more WoW subs will decline fairly rapidly.

Those losses could grow even worse over the holiday quarter, they said, thanks to competition from big releases like Skyrim and, you guessed it, Modern Warfare 3.

this makes me giggle in a way that can not be expressed by typing


(no i've never like Blizzard or Activision how could you tell?)

gigastar:
Activision isnt losing money out of this anyway, what with MW3 currently outselling kiddies chocolate bars by 10-1 one day to a week.

Still im someone who wants to see Activision follow in Atari's footsteps.

wht do you mean by that?

I like how they manage to ignore the 800 lb gorilla in the room.

samsonguy920:

Imper1um:

samsonguy920:
Now we wait and see if Blizzard overreacts and does something stupid with WoW, or they wake up and realize they are just boring their players to death anymore and put their heads together to revamp the game as it needs to be.
I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard is forced to start the reveal on their second MMO they have been working on. That will bring the stock back up, though it will also pile the work on the developers on the project.

This.

I'm tired of them looming this MMO over everyone's head saying it's done. This is what I imagine Blizzard is doing:

*meanwhile, at Blizzard HQ*
CEO: Okay, so we copied half the fights from previous expansion, and took some more fights from the expansion before that. We got the other 3/4 of the year to do whatever we want--

Runner: Excuse me, sir, communication from Activision.

CEO: Holy balls, guys, we have lost 6% on our stock price. Activision is telling us that we have to start working again.

Senior Development Manager: But we're not equipped to work more than 5 hours a week, sir.

CEO: Okay, well, let's just tease that we're working on Titan and its going to be awesome.

PR Manager: We've done that for the last 3 years. Last time we said that we're working on titan, it only brought us up by 0.01% in the shares.

CEO: Patch Diablo III's beta with some lose files and text moved around?

D3 Head Producer: Tried that. No one cared.

CEO: Announce Titan?

Titan Head Producer: (hits the Bong) Yeah, we...umm... we got the name Titan.

CEO: We're screwed.

A perfect example of Acti/Blizz doing the overreactionary stupid thing. Nicely put.
No, it is high time they took the covers off their new MMO and show us real product. Quit teasing us with a name that won't even be on the box. And once they release the new one, shut WoW down, give it a good renovation and refit, and release it 2.0 style. It would even help if they make and release a new Warcraft RTS to help set the stage for the new world. And erase the fucking pandas. In fact that would be the perfect setting: Play as the Horde, Alliance, or Scourge to eradicate the Panda infestation from Azeroth and Kalimdor. WoW 2.0 would take place afterward, where the Horde and Alliance take the gloves off and we get true battlefields between the factions instead of only these tournament games.

They specifically said last year that they are keeping it under covers until October 2012 at the earliest.

That explains the "Pay a full years subscription receive Diablo 3 for FREE!" Deal they had going on.

Edit: Wait no, just crafty password stealers I deleted the moment I looked at the title.

samsonguy920:
Because then you are saying you want Kotick to make nothing but crappy business decisions and then just let Vivendi sell Activision/Blizzard off piecemeal.
I don't see Bobby doing that. Activision's one fault is overdoing some titles, but otherwise they do have strong business sense. They don't embrace crap DRM like EA or Ubisoft(snip)

Time for another ...
OBJECTION !!!
Crappy business decisions ?
My - look the way WoW handles balancing before Kotick and with Kotick at the helm. It ain't pretty.
Not supporting local Lan mode for the most important game in competitive RTS history ?
Not embracing DRM like Ubisoft ? Sorry, have you heard of Battlenet 2.0 ? What gives you the idea that this always on DRM would not be DRM ?
Not supporting Mods for Diablo 3, map marketplace for SCII ?
Those decisions will throttle the creative scene around these games, and in the case of D3, it outright kills it.

NOT SMART. Blizzard games are successfull because they can be played forever and ever after. If you butcher user created content, you have to ramp up your own development for several years to make up for the creativity your fans would give you for free.

It gives Torchelight 2 ample amunition against its competitor, as it can brag "Why yes, you can play your game anytime, anywhere and how you like it!"
The only way they got away with Bnet2.0 is because there is 0.0 competition for Starcraft2. Nothing comes even close to it.

With WoW it's an entirely different cup of tea. They slept for too long to realize that the market has developed way ahead of them. The technology, the storytelling and the mechanics have grown over the years - but WoW only imitated during those times. They addepted some promising concepts from other games and integrated them into WoW, but never as successfull as other mmos. Now, a fair share of their customers outgrew them too. The IP, for what I know about it, has been used up. Unless you reroll the scenario completly it simply can't generate enough convincing story to support several years of gaming. They are down the barrel with this expansions... pandaren COULD have been cool, if they where presented more like the kick-ass samurai/ferocious monks etc. But no! gotta apease the kids... make em´fuzzy grinning cuddly bears!
Get your carebear sticker on your way out, see you in another MMO. (GW2 for me)

SecretNegative:
Good, good. This not only means that hopefully some day in the future Metzen will go unemployed, but also that more MMO:s may go on the market.

Let's just hope that D3 flopps, and no one buys the SC2 DLC...sorry, "expansion". Down Blizzard! Down!

Well.... This is awkwardly ironic, what with your Illidan Stormrage avatar and all... *Cough*
(Seeing as Illidan Stormrage and his storyline was who rang in the golden age of practically MMO freaking monopoly as The Burning Crusade came out, people would think of you as a supporter for Blizzard. o.O)
However, when Titan comes out, (which I suspect will be an SC MMO right after their final expansion from SC II Legacy of the Void) their styling reputation not only from their SC II RTS, but from their works from WoW, will surely make a huge comeback. I wouldn't remain so optimistic of being pessimistic. Just saying.

OT; I am convinced Blizzard saw this drop of recline a mile away, and so has other works on the way. Diablo III and Heart of the Swarm expansion are just about to be released, which can turn the tides quite significantly for at least a good year or so. Not only that, but as I mentioned before, Titan will be fresh and probably dominate the MMO market once more, right after Legacy of the Void.

Just my theory, anyways.

The money they've got from all the CoD games combined is probably about equal to say 2 years of WoW subscriptions.

IF they ever lost a considerable amount of subs, they'd probably have to downsize.

Actually, they just fired one of the leads on the Titan project a few mere days ago... so I don't know if that is coming along as planned: http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/11/07/rumor-senior-titan-designer-laid-off-by-blizzard/

I don't see that much potential in Call of Duty or Skyrim getting people away from WoW... well maybe Skyrim but not the other one, luckily Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 and a lot of other AAA MMOs are coming out soon, which WILL and amongst other things games like Lord of the Rings Online, DC Universe Online and Star Trek Online going free to play might get a few people too e.g. why pay for an monthly, buy expansions and let them try to microtransaction you in their MMO if you can play others for free somewhere else?

Unfortunately even if their Subscription numbers go down to something more managable like 2 Million they still have the "Free2Play" card they could play, which could turn to be even more effective than it's been so far and the last thing Activision Blizzard needs is more money...

so I guess no one is gonna count SWTOR into the equation? lol

Glad to see almost 2 million people have regain their senses. Congrats on beating that addiction folks.

Its ok when Diablo3 ships Activision should see a nice boost. Not to mention Heart of the Swarm.

Then there is next years COD

iLikeHippos:

SecretNegative:
Good, good. This not only means that hopefully some day in the future Metzen will go unemployed, but also that more MMO:s may go on the market.

Let's just hope that D3 flopps, and no one buys the SC2 DLC...sorry, "expansion". Down Blizzard! Down!

Well.... This is awkwardly ironic, what with your Illidan Stormrage avatar and all... *Cough*
(Seeing as Illidan Stormrage and his storyline was who rang in the golden age of practically MMO freaking monopoly as The Burning Crusade came out, people would think of you as a supporter for Blizzard. o.O)

Well, if you want to know the backstory, Illidan was one of the better characters in Warcraft 3, but in the "Golden age" in TBC, he got turned into insane, rambling batman-villain raidmeat. It made me a little upset.

Up until 2007, when Blizzard started to hunt after WC3 characters like a aserial killer, I liked them. After TBC I thought, "Hey! They've turned the unstoppable legion into puppies, but atleast we've got something left, right?", then came Wrath, which was even worse. Around this time I started losing hope in Blizzard, and with Cata and Harrison Jones, Goblin-Hitler, Rambo and other stupid shit, I'm really not supporting them. Add to that the utterly stupid SC2, and the asshole-moves with D3, I'm not quite fond of them. Also because people like Knaak, Metzen and Golden still are emplyed and making money.

LorienvArden:

samsonguy920:
Because then you are saying you want Kotick to make nothing but crappy business decisions and then just let Vivendi sell Activision/Blizzard off piecemeal.
I don't see Bobby doing that. Activision's one fault is overdoing some titles, but otherwise they do have strong business sense. They don't embrace crap DRM like EA or Ubisoft(snip)

Time for another ...
OBJECTION !!!
Crappy business decisions ?
My - look the way WoW handles balancing before Kotick and with Kotick at the helm. It ain't pretty.
Not supporting local Lan mode for the most important game in competitive RTS history ?
Not embracing DRM like Ubisoft ? Sorry, have you heard of Battlenet 2.0 ? What gives you the idea that this always on DRM would not be DRM ?
Not supporting Mods for Diablo 3, map marketplace for SCII ?
Those decisions will throttle the creative scene around these games, and in the case of D3, it outright kills it.

NOT SMART. Blizzard games are successfull because they can be played forever and ever after. If you butcher user created content, you have to ramp up your own development for several years to make up for the creativity your fans would give you for free.

It gives Torchelight 2 ample amunition against its competitor, as it can brag "Why yes, you can play your game anytime, anywhere and how you like it!"
The only way they got away with Bnet2.0 is because there is 0.0 competition for Starcraft2. Nothing comes even close to it.

With WoW it's an entirely different cup of tea. They slept for too long to realize that the market has developed way ahead of them. The technology, the storytelling and the mechanics have grown over the years - but WoW only imitated during those times. They addepted some promising concepts from other games and integrated them into WoW, but never as successfull as other mmos. Now, a fair share of their customers outgrew them too. The IP, for what I know about it, has been used up. Unless you reroll the scenario completly it simply can't generate enough convincing story to support several years of gaming. They are down the barrel with this expansions... pandaren COULD have been cool, if they where presented more like the kick-ass samurai/ferocious monks etc. But no! gotta apease the kids... make em´fuzzy grinning cuddly bears!
Get your carebear sticker on your way out, see you in another MMO. (GW2 for me)

Bnet2.0 for Starcraft can be left offline for the single player campaign. I doubt that will change just because they want to treat Diablo 3 as an MMO. I am confused by the rest of your argument since it actually sits in line with what I said. I do not support WoW as it is anymore. It is a tired and used up game that 800k people woke up and realized. As far as I know, Battle.net is Blizzard's property only. Activision does not use it for any of its titles, nor would I expect them to. Considering Activision's biggest title is known for its multiplayer, people are going to be online for it anyway.
As I said, if Acti/Blizz wants to prevent a serious plummet, they need to put serious thought into just putting all effort in Blizzard's second MMO, and when that releases, shut WoW down and get it renovated with new content and a new engine. They can keep the old engine to run on smartphones by then.

Baldr:
They specifically said last year that they are keeping it under covers until October 2012 at the earliest.

Specifically or not, last year they were sitting pretty with a player base that hadn't just hit a pothole. Business decisions can change those kinds of things on a whim at any time.
As it is, I have to wonder if the turnout for Diablo 3 will hit their forecast, because if it doesn't(as it shouldn't with the crap they've put into it between the auction house and online only DRM),then that is going to be another wack to the old stock price. About then, Vivendi's board will start wondering if there shouldn't be some people getting fired from Blizzard.

samsonguy920:

Bnet2.0 for Starcraft can be left offline for the single player campaign. I doubt that will change just because they want to treat Diablo 3 as an MMO.

It has been confirmed that the D3 client will not have the necessary data to act as a server by istself to prevent piracy. Meaning: Without a stable connection you can't play it, period.
Also, You can only play the campaignmode of SC2 without access to Bnet - no custom maps, which make up quite a large portion of the gameplay for many people. With the centralized server structure , we will not be able to play D3 at several of our lans over here because there simply is no way to get internet for 40 people at a sufficient quality to play it lag-free. We play more WcIII then ScII (around 8-10 people on different Towerdefenses at any given time, perhaps one or two rounds of SCII if any) How's that for your salesfigures ? Outclassed by your own product.

I objected to the quoted paragraph. As you can see, I stand by it that Blizzard isby no means a stranger to DRM and is using it very much in the way other publishers do.
And that Kotick is making some incredibly stupid decisions .

The press releases don't break down the numbers so we can see how many players they are losing in the east and the west. I'd imagine monthly fees are highest in North America and Europe, so if most of the lost customers are coming from the west it would hit them harder. That's probably the case, from the way people generally talk about WoW these days and from how hard the shareholders took it.

Yay 2 million people are "free" of the Grind of WoW and can be immersed in the not-grind-honest of "Not-Cool-To-Bash MMO otherwise identical to WoW 12801831"

LorienvArden:

samsonguy920:

Bnet2.0 for Starcraft can be left offline for the single player campaign. I doubt that will change just because they want to treat Diablo 3 as an MMO.

It has been confirmed that the D3 client will not have the necessary data to act as a server by istself to prevent piracy. Meaning: Without a stable connection you can't play it, period.
Also, You can only play the campaignmode of SC2 without access to Bnet - no custom maps, which make up quite a large portion of the gameplay for many people. With the centralized server structure , we will not be able to play D3 at several of our lans over here because there simply is no way to get internet for 40 people at a sufficient quality to play it lag-free. We play more WcIII then ScII (around 8-10 people on different Towerdefenses at any given time, perhaps one or two rounds of SCII if any) How's that for your salesfigures ? Outclassed by your own product.

I objected to the quoted paragraph. As you can see, I stand by it that Blizzard isby no means a stranger to DRM and is using it very much in the way other publishers do.
And that Kotick is making some incredibly stupid decisions .

There is no doubt what is being done with Bnet and Diablo 3 is downright insane and ludicrous, but I have yet to hear that Kotick had anything to do with it. Though Blizzard is the minority "partner" in Activision Blizzard, it is still autonomous in much of its own administration from Activision. If there is one thing that does reek of influence by Bobby Kotick, it is the auction house in Diablo 3, as that is only meant to bring more money in for the company, and probably to help offset the cost of having servers running Diablo 3 ala Ubisoft style. Which actually establishes some brains for Blizzard as opposed to Ubisoft hoping they sell enough games to afford their "DRM servers." I have reservations about the auction house in that it could set up a system of embezzlement by cashiered players where they can hold certain very rare items hostage over others who don't have their own Scrooge McDuck safe. One wonders if Blizzard isn't set to safeguard against this happening, that there isn't some federal investigation to occur. This would make me think that Kotick isn't administering this, as he has in the past shown to be quite savvy in keeping the company's financial practices under the radar. At least where he has been in direct control.

 

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