Activision Blizzard

Monthly active users for Activision and Blizzard games have taken a tumble, dropping to levels last seen before the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Warzone 2.0. A still-monstrous 98 million players logged on in March 2023 (mostly playing COD), which is down from some 111 million in December 2022.

It was worse with Blizzard titles, with 27 million playing in March, down from 45 million in December (with Overwatch 2 arriving in October to big numbers, but facing a bunch of issues). Not strictly relevant to our audience, but World of Warcraft has seen a dropoff, too, with the expansion Dragonflight the first in a decade not to match the launch-day numbers of its predecessor.

One potential explanation for the drop in numbers is the messy breakup between Activision Blizzard and NetEase, the company's partner in China. As of 23rd January, many of the company's most popular titles (WoW, Overwatch, Diablo 3, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone) are no longer playable in that region after the 14-year partnership ended under acrimonious circumstances.

And then, of course, there is the neverending legal hoopla; although it can be salacious at times, we would doubt this kind of nerdy industry news would have a real impact on player numbers. Having said that, Diablo 4 is coming and will probably be absolutely massive; but we'd still be willing to bet that in a quiet boardroom, somewhere, a room full of suits is pondering the exact same question.

Are you still logging into Call of Duty, Overwatch, or other Activision Blizzard titles regularly? What do you think is the reason for this drop in active players? Pontificate with us in the comments section below.