Mike Morhaime on Blizzard and Diablo 3 in latest financial results


Activision Blizzard released their latest financial figures over night and as usual Mike Morhaime was on hand to bring us the latest from the Blizzard camp.

According to Mike, WoW subs are down on the last quarter to 9.6 million with the majority of lost players coming from China. He also confirmed, which we know already, that Blizzard All Stars is in development along with a new MMO. On Diablo 3, Mike added:

“Launching the game back in May had a tremendous impact on Blizzard and our community. Diablo 3 broke PC game sales records, and as of the end of the year has sold more than 12 million copies world wide.

Whole this is a humbling achievement we’re not satisfied with merely breaking sales records. The development team has worked worked aggressively adding new content, game systems, features and other improvements.

A new update is in testing now which will add dueling and other new content.

Diablo is extremely important to Blizzard and we will continue to invest aggressively to support the franchise and the community.”

No huge revelations this time but it’s nice to hear they are 100% behind Diablo 3 and we can hopefully look forward to lots more in the future. They do however need to pick up the pace of updates which have been pretty slow since release.

By August 2012 Diablo 3 had sold more than 10 million copies. By November it was still selling “very well” but no advance on the 10 million figure was given but since then Diablo 3 has gone on to surpass 12 million copies sold.

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  1. By adding new content and systems they mean simply adding features that were already in D2. Way to play catch-up for 8 months Blizz!

  2. Pretty slow with updates? They’ve been extremely slow. I do still think it’s because most of their work force is instead working on an expansion.

  3. “Launching the game back in May had a tremendous impact on Blizzard and our community. Diablo 3 broke”

    — up to this point he was on track, then he completely lost it:

    “worked aggressively adding new content, game systems, features and other improvements”

    — is the part where he finally drifted into utter BS.

    • Well, they are working on adding new content and features, which are mostly seen as improvements. I don’t see how his statement is “utter BS”. He may have exaggerated by saying “working aggressively” – but then again you definitely are exaggerating by saying “utter BS”. I guess this makes your post utter BS; see what I did there?

      • And I would guess by your post you have not played Diablo 3 at all.

        • yeah, yeah…
          OR maybe he enjoys the game which is a fun one, has gotten past the “omg I miss D2 SOOO much, where are my point buttons” tearful nostalgia, adapted to the new systems, is happy about all the stuff added over the continous patches and is looking forward to future content

          just MAYBE

          • seems very unrealistic to me

          • Its not about adapting or d2 nostalgia, in fact the parts I like the most about d3 arent even present in previous games, its just straight up that alot of systems in the game are poor, boring, and have shitty replay value,
            Everyones a cookie cutter, theres no customization besides dyeing items, etc.

          • You lost me when you said everyone’s a cookie cutter. This is a major fallacy. Most are, but seeing I know many who are not I think you’re wrong to say it. I think one of the main flaws right now is that it is almost necessary to be cookie cutter until you have the gear to support experimental setups.cookie cutter builds also change depending on patches. People were using bladestorm and sword and board monk builds before cyclone overawe came about. I personally don’t think many at all are built anything like my monk and I can tell by ah prices.

  4. Blizzard are all mouth and no trousers, I shall believe if they deliver, which is, in all probability quite doubtful.

  5. Oh,one more thing, they are not using previous name for PvP system “Arean”, now it’s “dueling”. We remember time when “dueling” was only a small part of something bigger..

    • And we had to beg for dueling too. It was too much trouble to bring it over from D2 on day 1. They can stop acting like they are doing us any favors.

      • They didn’t even want dueling to exist. They knew it wasn’t very fun. It’s something that should have existed in the game since day 1 period. The mind blowing decisions they have made for d3 only point to one conclusion. They wanted d3 to be short lived and fail. I can’t comprehend any intelligent game designer expecting a long lasting, re-playable, and worthwhile successor to Diablo 2 to have made the final decisions blizzard made without eventual failure being the endgame goal.

        Look back a year to half a year before release and the game looked unstoppable, amazing, and simply pure gold. Then everything was cut and changed. Pure and purposeful sabotage.

    • @ FacelessOne The PvP system is what we have now. The other system is what they scrapped and are reworking now.

  6. They plan to do 2 expansions, right?

    • I think that was a maybe. But judging by the sales figures, it would seem wise.

      • well that said , i think there arent going to be 2 expansions.
        I mean srsly who will buy the fu*k*ng expansion when they just add content (items acts ect).i want something gamechanging otherwise i wont buy anything from that franchise again.

        MY BET only 10% of the buyers of the original game are gonna buy the expansion.

      • Wait to see the financal results for D3EXP.It’ll be hilarious.I wont buy it for sure!If they sold 12mln D3 copies,i predict arround 3-4mln D3EXP copies sold.The whole conception is wrong.The “systems” are pretty much lame.

    • Instead of ripping us off once they want to rip us off two more times!

  7. Way to leave out how many of those 12 million copies are still active users.

  8. Hahaha Morhaime should look up the definition of “aggressive.”

    He just made himself look like a JW style ass.

    Developers working? YEA RIGHT

    • YEAH BUDDY , you just got him wrong. They are working aggresively to ruin the entire Lore, Gameplay + they bring a pvp that is absolute bs.

      They are working very hard on that!

  9. D3 gone winds for me most likely. PoE is everything D3 should have been mechanics wise, so 95% sure won’t be investing expansions/DLC’s anymore.

  10. I am being 100% serious when I say I wish they would take a page from the comic book movies and just have another go at D3. The expansion should totally throw out all of D3’s story. How much better would it be if they just held up their hands and admitted sheablo was a terrible idea. Cain can be alive again, I don’t have to think about the lord of tearror in high heels. The stupid kid emperor disguise and all that crappy dialogue. Lets just get rid of all of it.

  11. It’s pretty obvious that the game is doomed to forever live in the shadows of its predecessor. The company has become so interested in its image and blinded by profits and figures, that it is (at its inevitable peril) ignoring the other lasting qualities of its titles that they owe all their success to. They really do need a wake up call they can understand. I suspect it will come somewhere down the line in the form of an unsuspected poor sales figure on a title they expect to do well. Until then, we can just hope they don’t butcher another franchise the way they did with the realm of Diablo.

  12. The update pace is slow atm because most of the team are already working on the first D3 xpac (quote Jay, iirc).

  13. Doomed implies that it already hasn’t been something of a failure.

    It isn’t even in the top 40 currently on the amazon pc charts.

    http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Video-Games-PC-Hardware/zgbs/videogames/229575#3

    They almost hit their 5 billion revenue for the year. If only they liked making games as much as money.

  14. 100% behind Diablo 3? Not just satisfied with the sales figures?

    I’m not buying either statement.

    Their glacial pace at updating the game and addressing the \collapse of the 5 pillars\ suggests that they are more like 20% behind the game most of that 20% being PR spin, bug fixing, and damage control.

    I think their original strategy was to release relatively meaningless content patches (table scraps) in order to placate the user base and the press just long enough till expansion. Best case scenario for the franchise at this point is that they are being greedy and reserving the major gameplay changing fixes for the expansion pack. Worst case scenario the really don’t have any clue whatsoever how to fix the game without at least partially scrapping major revenue generating features like the AH which would clearly not be allowed by the bosses.

    In either case I believe that the strategy they employed has completely backfired on them at this point. While the game itself is not legendary the negative press and community resentment it has generated most certainly is. These are the dark ages of the Diablo franchise. Hopefully that means a renaissance approaches in the distant future when a new open minded team takes over the project and reboots it erasing all the damage done.

    • man, it’s interesting what you write. It’s a nice oxymoron you have there. Because it would seem the “new open minded team” did take over and all they’re getting is non-stop bashing for all the changes they made. So make up your mind – either you expect a retrofitted Diablo 2, which means you want the OLD D2 team back, not a “brand new” one or are really willing to embrace change and will stop being so negative when said changes are made by a new set of minds.

      • In my mind it’s at rock bottom right now. So the only way to bring it back up is change. Sure the new team could make changes that result in the franchise staying depressed as far as actual quality is concerned but a guy can hope can’t he?

        Look at what happened with the Batman franchise reboot. Turned a crapfest of sequels that amounted to nothing more than paycheck movies into something amazing despite the skepticism. 🙂

        It all depends on the quality of the team that is tapped and what kind of limitations are imposed on them limiting their creativity.

        Believe it or not I WANT to love big D as much as you do Mical…

        • No, I agree with you that it’s deifinitely possible to spin the game into something much better (I still wonder what could’ve been with the non-WOW graphical style…). I don’t think the game’s perfect but I definitely don’t think it’s at rock bottom as you said.

          I just think it doesn’t deserve all the negativity expressed from the commenters on this website without getting some credits as well. At least the articles and podcasts are a good wake-up call in the sense that the authors clearly like the game and present the defects in a sensible manner rather than just blatantly throwing insults left and right (see the latest cast re Jay’s departure, which was a fantastic mature take on the matter – bravo Flux and Elly).

          • See my problem with them revolves around this… the defects have been presented to them for a very long time now. I know this for a fact because I was part of the effort on the official forums to help organize and prioritize the problems for them back when I was a fan of Blizzard who sincerely believed they could fix it. Pages and pages of material were presented to them. Time ticked by and the patches continued to disappoint.

            Their choice of which problems to address and to what degree time after time has been pretty questionable IMO. I was most encouraged when they wanted to improve legendaries but as we saw it was just too little. I’ll give you a recent example. All this to do about PvP (most of that effort ended up wasted as we know) but they are still concentrating on it with this patch. A playable dueling system is not really something that is going to rebuild one of the 5 crumbled pillars would you agree?

            I personally don’t know anyone that would come back to the game just for that. So yeah… I just can’t make sense of their actions most of the time. I certainly can’t find a way to justify their slow pace and minimal community feedback either. Something brutally simple like increasing pack density on the other acts so people don’t have to farm Act III constantly… “We’ll consider it, Give us a few months.” I mean… come on now. lol

            Do I think they deserve personal attacks and insults? Nah most of them don’t as long as they show equal respect to the community they are just doing what they are told in the end. I blame the leadership in the end who I think are lazy, greedy, and closed minded.

            I too think that Elly and Flux are doing an admirable job at reporting the developments in a balanced fashion here. I gave up on the official forums because I think it is even MORE negative over there and some of the meaningful critical posts (and funny posts) end up getting mod deleted for PR control reasons.

          • Yeah, the PvP is an epic fail, I agree. I don’t know what changes/features you guys were suggesting but obviously the design decision is theirs and they won’t do everything just because a group of people would like it. Then there’s the limited workforce and time – we just don’t know enough the internals to make correct judgements.

            I have strong faith in the x-pack and future patches and am happy the game is getting better.

            Things I would like to see:
            – better crafting system
            – better usage of non-primary stats (no statpoints, but just better benefits and more varied builds with non-primaries)
            – more random side-quests
            – more item customization BUT WITH MAINTAINED BALANCE! I don’t want to see must-have items. There should be several items per category that provide equal benefits, don’t want to see Lacuni’s on every character

    • “Worst case scenario the really don’t have any clue whatsoever how to fix the game without at least partially scrapping major revenue generating features like the AH which would clearly not be allowed by the bosses.”

      As a result of the RMAH, the game has become delicate to the point where changes the development team (however passionate they are about ARPGs and Diablo) are being held hostage to its negative impact on the game economy, loot system, and itemization. It is handcuffing the team and stifling their creativity and ability to make substantial incremental changes to itemization that would please a large majority of its disgruntled playerbase.

      Look at what happenned with the IAS nerf of 1.0.3. This nerf was probably only considered because of how close to release it came. This nerf instantly made the game slower and more tedious (particularly for the wizard), and encouraged people to play at a slower pace, which is the opposite of how ARPGs are supposed to work. What we are experiencing is an MMO approach to balancing for an ARPG title with no ladder. I honestly don’t see the point to nerfs at all, especially ones that make the game LESS FUN TO PLAY…oh wait, the RMFAH.

    • My opinion is that it is more like they are 100% behind Titan because they know that as an MMO that will be their next big cash cow, D3 at this point is just a throw away game that looked good to investors by making good sales figures. Infact I believe they have stated they are hugely investing into Titan that it is their “most ambitious project yet” along those lines.

  15. stop saying that poe is better then D3 coz it isn’t !!!!
    got bored after 1 hour … i still play D3 every day , says enuf !

    • i disliked poe for the first few hours as well. its only after you start getting into crafting and understanding the passive tree that the game takes off.

      the more you play it, the better it gets.

      d3: the more you play it, the worse it gets.

  16. Went through my friends list last night to delete inactives. I think I have around 40 on there total, and only needed to delete 3 people.

    D3 has addictive fun gameplay. Give it a rest. 6 million in first 2 months, then 6 million more? Are those all bot accounts?

    D3 ain’t perfect (what is??). It is still fun to login and bash demon heads. Stop staring at the ah and dweLling on what you don’t have. Play the game or get a new hobby.

    • Sadly enough quitting the game and making more hesitant purchases of future Blizzard titles is the only way disgruntled players can actually influence the direction blizzard takes future with future titles. I completely agree that some people would be better off just finding something else to do, but why would you chastise them for venting about a game they had a lot of hope for but feel fell short? It’s a cathartic experience.

    • A large chunk of those 12 million are bots. Exactly how many? No one can say for sure. All I can say with certainty is that it’s too many.

  17. Lets clear this right now. Poe has a nice system, a system that D3 should’ve had from the start. However, if D3 can implement a system, equal or similar to poe, EVERYONE will be back playing D3. The graphics, mechanics, and pace are just much better than POE.

    • what system? stat system? and please don’t tell me that it’s better because it has skill points…

    • PoE’s crafting system is a work of art. The D3 team recently stated that just adding sockets is a “long term design goal” when in the PoE system that is just a small piece of the puzzle. It really puts into perspective how screwed D3 is.

    • you really think blizzard will change its course having 12 million sold copies ?

      everything which great about d2 and POE is fuckin terrible in d3 – id also be curious about the revenue of the RMAH i think its rather significant in the great scheme.

      that being said i don’t think they give much of a fuck anymore about the hardcore players there have only been patches so far which add grind and “balance”-changes of the crudest kind – no depth or complexity though – they couldn’t even deliver on the things they’ve promised and featured.

      1.07 is a slap in the face and is pretty good at showing how much they do not care.

      I have absolutely no expectations anymore concerning design improvements of the game – they get tons of feedback if you cry enough you get buffs (monk) but all their buffs and “improvements” are off the mark of the root problems – it’s like they have completely lost any drive to improve the game and just pile on “content”

      and that content is usually just a new tier of items which is insanely grind intensive and involves no costumization but only luck (hellfirering & BOA crafts)

      that being said i think Blizzard is satisfied with its approach despite the community outcry – even if only 1 million players remain who atleast play once a week it will still have been a financial success and it will have sucked in a lot of casuals which is all they want.

      it doesn’t matter that the game could have become gradually be more complex and appealing for hardcore players as you progress towards inferno – atleast not to Blizzard …

  18. You kids get off my lawn god damnit.

    Way back in my day, gamers were nerds. The people that made the games were bigger nerds. They made the games because the loved the worlds they created and truly wanted to make a game they would love to play with their fellow nerds.

    Nowadays, all the young whippersnappers play video games. The jocks. The cool kids, the hipsters…hell everyone plays games now and it’s big business.

    These nerds that made the game worlds are being told they need to make their game so everyone will buy it. The nerds could handle a little more complex game than the jocks and cool kids could handle cause they are smarter. They need to make the games these days dumber so even the jocks and cool kids can buy it and jump right in without having to read anything. Just turn it on and mash buttons. These sell more than the hard games designed by nerds for nerds.

    This is why games these days aren’t as interesting as they were in my day. Diablo 2 was for nerds and a little more complex. Diablo 3 is for the cool kids, the football team and their cheerleader girlfriends.

    Can’t blame that Wilson guy or anyone else who is making the game. They are doing what they are told.

    The days of nerds making game worlds they truly love to play in are gone. The old nostalgic gamers that complain here are a small market percentage and not worth the trouble anymore. The gaming world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

  19. What joke! they have add nothing! This patches could been alredy here if blizzard had a “Open beta, all this problem have been gone!!

    But i think blizzard know that Diablo3 was not so good like D2 was. And they hyped game sold maney copys!! Diablo3 expansion will never sold so much like 12 milions…

  20. Working hard it seems; with all our money

    #insertpicofjaywilsonincasino

  21. This was a Diablo 2 fansite for most of the time and given how far away D3 is from D2 you can see why this is happening. And every Diablo 3 forum/comment is like this, its just a reflection of the reception that the game received.

    The term of “vocal minority” no longer applies, I think its time to accept that the people who are okay with D3 are the minority now.

  22. It’s easy to read between the lines here, hearing Blizzard tell that they’re aware of the negative feedback and shaky launch of Diablo, but reaffirming that it’s an important IP to them. Always good to hear. 🙂

  23. there is a huge difference between a fanboy site and a fan site

    this is a fan site

    fans see and recognize the problems and want them fixed

    fanboys say everything is good, and the only reason people are complaining is because of nostalgia of an outdated game

    POE has it’s problems, but its crafting, skill system and currency system is far superior to D3’s

    we don’t even have to talk about the passive skill tree or characters stats (str, dex, int) just the idea of the linked sockets and support gems alone are better than anything D3 has to offer

    I’m happy D3 is making improvements to crafting, but they still have a far way to go to reach POE

    as for the implementation of dueling, both games are about equal, except POE actually HAS dueling

    POE has in-game ladders while D3 requires sites to build their own, you can argue over which is better for the the long run, but for short contests (3 hour hardcore, 3 day hardcore, one week hardcore) POE’s is obviously better;
    and that only illustrates the point that POE can have these contests, D3 cannot

    D3’s melee mechanics are better than POE’s
    I’m hoping that’s due to POE being free and being in open beta and having more people playing than the servers can handle

    I’m hoping POE can get this fixed, but we’ll have to wait and see;
    if they don’t get it fixed then that will be a problem

    build diversity easily goes to POE
    I have a melee marauder using raise zombies
    I have a witch using a bow

    end game definitely goes to POE
    crafting and grinding maps is more fun and more challenging than running the same areas in D3 over and over

    how more awesome, challenging and fun would D3 be if you could transmute an entire Act to give 50% more loot, and yet every monster have 25% more elemental resistance
    or give every monster the “corpse explosion” skill

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S0RY2kQ3GM

    I expect the D3 expansion to add cool stuff, but we’ll see how it goes

    • Ya PoE devs are improving a lot of stuff including melee mechanics etc. And what’s more they won’t take 4 months for content changes. Also they are shooting to eventually bring in 1 new skill/support a week. That’s insane. They are doing a tremendously good job at communicating their ideas/goals, communicating with the community AND getting stuff done. In nearly all aspects GGG is doing an outstanding job especially in comparison to blizzard.

      I lost all interest in picking d3 up again for the new patch and for that matter any new patch until expansion. I won’t even bother logging in to sale my DH and barb’s gear for RMAH which would probably fetch me a few hundred at least. Maybe I will do that and then just give it to GGG if they keep up the awesome work.

      Despite Morhaime’s insistence that they are behind d3 100 percent, which I highly doubt, it honestly doesn’t matter if they are behind it 100 percent because they won’t/can’t make the necessary changes to actually make the game fun for most who quit until loads of stuff is revamped completely. They should just stop patching the game with new content ( new content that is honestly pretty weak in terms of actual content )and devote nearly everything to their expansion. Out with the broken and in with the new already.

      Anyway despite my relative negativity and disappointment in d3 i still consider it a good game, but not a very good diablo game. I’m having a blast with PoE and look forward to d3 xpac beta.

  24. come on incgamers wheres the new post about dueling becoming brawling now?

  25. At least he didn’t call the game a success because they know it was a flop and the game sold on name only.

  26. HOLD ON GUYS — Blizzard is on the case: dueling is now called brawling. Thank god they quickly fixed this or I probably wouldn’t be playing in 1.07.

  27. 12.000.000 copies sold so far

    12.000.000 x $60 = $720.000.000 :O

    Even if Blizzard has only 10% clean profit that is $72.000.000

  28. They didn’t mention anything about how much money they’ve made from the RMAH – is it lumped in with subscription profit in their report I wonder?

    $1.00 from every item sale + 15% from every gold/gem sale + 15% to transfer money off of b.net would surely add up – I’m curious to see how much.

  29. With Blizzard seeing is believing. Taking everything from them with a grain of salt.

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