A hot potato: Remember the hate that Activision took when it unveiled the mobile-only Diablo Immortal back in 2018? The devs were forced to answer difficult questions from fans—one asked if the reveal was an out-of-season April fool’s joke. Now, however, the company says the success of Call of Duty: Mobile proves that embracing handheld gaming is the way forward.
The amount of criticism leveled at Diablo Immortal might have forced some companies to rethink their mobile strategy, but CoD: Mobile has shown the platform’s lucrative potential. The game reached 100 million downloads in the first week of launch, almost four times more than the launch week downloads of Fortnite, Apex Legends, and PUBG. It recently passed 250 million downloads and has accumulated over $327 million in player spending.
In a Q&A section of the company’s quarterly financial call, Activision Blizzard CFO Dennis Durkin was asked how Diablo Immortal might be impacted by CoD mobile. “There’s a lot more to come on mobile too. CoD Mobile is off to a really great start, but we’re just scratching the surface of what that franchise can be on mobile, and then integrating the experiences across multiple platforms, we know is just an incredible opportunity for the franchise,” he said (via PC Gamer).
“But to the early successes [of Call of Duty: Mobile], they do represent incredible proof points as to your question of how the franchise strategy is really working. And it certainly applies to a lot of other franchises that we have. We see that our current players really want more ways to engage with their favorite IP, be it through mobile or other platforms, and that offering authentic and really deep experiences on new platforms can drive much much higher engagement. And this quarter’s results really shows that.”
Durkin added that free-to-play mobile games could coexist alongside their franchises’ other platforms, and therefore were not “cannibalistic.”
Blizzard and Chinese developer NetEase recently revealed a new trailer (top) for Diablo Immortal at China’s biggest video game convention, ChinaJoy. Blizzard plans to expand internal testing of the game in the next few weeks, but there’s still no word on a beta or release date.