Article originally published on LinkedIn. Daniel Camilo is a business developer for Chinese game publisher APPTUTTi, based in Shenzhen, China.
About a year ago Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick gave an interview to CNBC where, among other things, he discussed the future of the company. At the time his messaging seemed loud and clear to me: to bring more of Activision’s IP to mobile.
Kotick at the time said "We have these great franchises, that have evolved over long periods of time. Many of those franchises though are not on phones yet.". I wrote a small article about it at the time where I tried to dig deeper into how that strategy would materialize for Activision. I listed a few potential Activision franchises that I believed (and still believe) can be successful on mobile, and that was that. What caught me off-guard at the time however, was that apparently, nobody cared. I don’t mean that nobody cared about my article (only, am i cry), but more importantly, most media and industry analysts failed to highlight how significant and consequential Kotick’s words were.
Sure, at the same time Kotick gave that interview, the Blizzard/Hong-Kong scandal was in full swing, and Call of Duty Mobile was celebrating a tremendous first month in the market. Those topics were the main focus for the media, I suppose.
Now we find ourselves almost exactly one year later, and Activision COO Daniel Alegre pretty much reiterated Koticks intentions by saying the following during a recent investor’s call: "We need to make sure that we're enabling our franchises on the billions of mobile devices that are available right now. That's by far our biggest opportunity and we're investing meaningfully to capitalize on this and to take all our franchises to mobile over time."
What Changed in a Year?
Not much, but also, quite a lot. Perhaps the most significant development was just how enduring CoD Mobile proved to be, becoming one of the biggest mobile games ever. Plus, with the game also launching in China, the growth is expected to continue.
Looking elsewhere, the huge success of mobile games like Among Us, and more recently Genshin Impact, have reinforced that diverse core console-like games can also be very successful on mobile. Publishers and developers are taking notice, and we can expect more and more core games making a big splash on mobile (Fall Guys coming to mobile in China as well, League of Legends Wild Rift and other recent announcements are a clear indicator).
Best IPs for Mobile
All this conveniently falls in line with Activision-Blizzard rich catalog of IPs with potential for mobile ports. Diablo Immortal has been (infamously) in development for a long time now, and several other franchises would certainly find an audience on mobile. I mentioned this on my aforementioned article, but I’ll name a few once again: Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Crash Bandicoot (kart racing game anyone?), and perhaps a few others (don’t necessarily expect direct ports, obviously). If anything, the success of Cod Mobile is probably what’s enabling Activision to take its time developing other mobile versions. While the IPs are different, the audiences for a lot of these easily intersect, so it is important to pace releases appropriately, and making sure that each title can create and contain its own audience, possibly.
Daniel Alegre only came short of listing which Activision games we’ll be seeing on mobile soon, but have no doubt, they are coming. It’s not a matter of “if”, but only of “when”. It was clear one year ago, and it is now as well.