The new 150-player free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone battle royale game is the most important thing Activision has ever done. It represents the start of a new age of layered engagement for the billion-dollar company, and sets the roadmap for future games in the near-, mid- and long-term future.
Warzone is a potent mechanism that's doing two things simultaneously: Sparking full game sales, and generating big earnings from a cross-monetization structure. It's built on a new engagement model that Activision-Blizzard devised, one that combines cross-play, cross-progression, and cross-SKU into a cohesive standalone free-to-play package. The results are already tremendous for the company.
In this article, I'll outline why Warzone is so transformative, what it means for current Activision games, and how it'll shape the company's future titles--and more importantly, how it'll mold the live services that underpin those games.
I'll discuss how Activision-Blizzard's business works, from microtransactions to full game sales and everything in between, and how Warzone's model could be translated to other franchises. This article aims to do one thing above all else and arm you with the information to not only understand Activision-Blizzard but the games industry as a whole.
This content consists of three main topics:
- The Engagement Cycle - A five-part wheel whose parts synergize both in a linear and cyclic structure. How well developers adhere to this cycle determines if a live game sinks or swims.
- Activision's new four-part plan - This new plan is the blueprint for everything the company does, and making new games is only 1/4th of the equation.
- The Warzone effect - Warzone is immediately accretive to the company and is generating revenue in unique ways, making it one of the most game-changing titles on the market.
Before we can really understand just how powerful Warzone is, we have to understand how Activision currently conducts business and how it adheres to the almighty Engagement Cycle.