Activision Blizzard has big plans for 2012 – Diablo III and a new Call of Duty are the headliners.
In the company’s quarterly report, Activision Blizzard announced strong numbers in both digital and retail alongside new product releases that should have gamers excited for 2012.
To appease the avid Blizzard fans, the company let drop in the report that Diablo III is targeting a Q2 launch this year. They report that the current beta and auction house testing is going well, so Diablo III should make its Q2 release window.
As for Blizzard’s other franchises, the new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, is going to be detailed in more depth at a press event on March 19.
In StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm news, they are adding in new multiplayer units. Blizzard is also going to be taking a “more active” role in the eSports community surrounding the game.
Finally, Blizzard has multiple unannounced titles set for 2012 with one of them being Blizzard DOTA – a free-to-play online game. There is also the unannounced MMO that we’ve known about for a while.
As for Call of Duty, as expected there will be a new release this year. The company announced that the series is now the “largest interactive entertainment franchise ever” in the U.S. and Europe.
With each new Call of Duty release, the number of online players has grown exponentially. In the graph below, it shows the number of online players growing by the millions with each new game. Modern Warfare 3 saw a jump of 20 million online players over Black Ops to reach 40 million active monthly users across all Call of Duty games since the original Modern Warfare.
Call of Duty ELITE, the multiplayer service for the game, has reached 7 million users worldwide with 1.5 million of them being paid users. They also announced more DLC than ever before to continue support for Modern Warfare 3. They also announced development of Call of Duty China, a free-to-play microtransaction based game for Asian markets.
If you were wondering what Bungie was up to after they left the Halo franchise, they are hard at work on their new game for Activision that is set to be revealed at some point this year.
Lastly, we can’t forget how amazing Spyro Skylanders has done for the company. The video game where players scan in actual toys to unlock new characters was Activision’s largest new IP launch ever. They sold over 20 million toys and it became the number one children’s title in 2011.
The company took the opportunity to announce Skylanders Giants, new toys that are much larger than the original toys from last year. They will be all new characters with unique in-game powers. Thankfully, the toys will still use the same scanning device called the “Portal of Power” from last year. The toys will be sold in starter packs that come with the “Portal of Power,” expansion packs and stand-alone characters.
Activision Blizzard is looking to have a great year and gamers, no matter the age or type, should find something to enjoy from the publisher in 2012.