Diablo fans were eager for a new game in the series but they were not happy to see the studio opt for a mobile game, and they revealed it publicly, calling it “disrespectful” and “a slap in the face.” Blizzard realized that the strength of the backlash caught it by surprise, and it clearly learned some lessons from the incident. Not that mobile games are bad, but that big, high-profile buildups aren’t necessarily the great way to reveal them.
That may be why the first word of a new Warcraft game—for mobile—was not sunk on the main stage at BlizzCon, but in the midst of Activision Blizzard’s Q4 2021 financial results statement. Not that there’s much said about it: “Blizzard is planning substantial new content for the Warcraft franchise in 2022, including new experiences in World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, and getting all-new mobile Warcraft content into players’ hands for the first time.”
The game could be something as simple as the original Warcraft RTS, some kind of all-new mobile spinoff. It could also be that we’re finally going to get our hands on the Pokémon Go-styled game based on Warcraft, only time will tell.
Whatever Blizzard is making in the lab, it’s clear that the experience with Diablo Immortal hasn’t prevented it from bringing its most significant games to mobile. That’s not surprising: In the same financial report, Activision Blizzard said its mobile net bookings grew 18% year over year and represented 33% of its entire net bookings in the quarter. And while Call of Duty net bookings on PC and consoles actually declined in the quarter, “reflecting lower premium sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard versus the year-ago game and lower engagement in Call of Duty: Warzone,” Call of Duty Mobile was up, because of its popularity in China.