Activision didn’t reveal anything new about the state of Overwatch 2 or Diablo 4 during today’s quarterly earnings call, but it did tease some very big plans for the future, including more frequent game releases and an increased focus on live operations, which will require significant levels of new hires over the next couple of years.
“As we look ahead, demand for our content has never been stronger,” CEO Bobby Kotick said. “We continue to ramp our investment in creative and development talent, especially with increased competition from Chinese companies and platform providers, and this will allow us to better serve our players.”
“From the start of 2020 through the end of next year we intend to hire more than 2000 developers. We plan to triple the size of certain franchise teams compared to those team sizes in 2019, and we have aggressive hiring plans around the world including new studios or major expansion in Poland, China, Australia, and Canada.”
Activision COO Daniel Alegre repeated that commitment in later comments, saying, “We recognize with our strategy of increasing game content and frequency, as well as doubling down on live operations, we must and we have to continue to grow our developer base.”
🙏♥ Thank you to our community, players, and supporters! We couldn’t have done this without you!👍🎁 Be sure to check your #CODMobile in-game inboxes for a gift! pic.twitter.com/RexG8WSPM3May 4, 2021
While no specifics were given, it’s reasonable to assume that the increased focus on more frequent content releases and live services—and the people necessary to provide them—are driven primarily by the runaway success of Call of Duty: Warzone. Activision said that free-to-play and mobile have “transformed the franchise” by more than tripling the number of monthly average users across the franchise over the past two years, and driving premium sales of Black Ops – Cold War “well above” levels normally seen in the first quarter of the year.