Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that he wants a billion customers in the next five years - and that number just might be achievable.
Say what you will about Bobby Kotick, but the guy knows the games business. He's got plans for Activision that includes a billion customers by 2025, and although that number sounds ludicrous, it might be closer than you think.
Speaking at the CNBC Evolve LA Conference, Kotick revealed that Activision Blizzard has "350 million customers in 190 countries," but "there is not a good reason why that number shouldn’t be a billion in the next five years."
The plan, according to Kotick, is to take their current franchise and grow them on new platforms. This specifically seems to refer to mobile gaming and its rise in Asia--particularly in China. China represents the largest gaming market on the planet, but the majority of Chinese gamers do so on their mobile devices.
"When games became available on phones, the market exploded and the audience size went from a few hundred million to billions of potential consumers," Kotick said, revealing that Call of Duty mobile hit 100 million in a single month. “As these franchises go from consoles to PCs to phones, the growth in the audience is going to be staggering.”
Maybe so, but it won’t come without sacrifice. The recent Blitzchung controversy caused an enormous amount of backlash against the company after it suspended a Hearthstone player for expressing support of Hong Kong democracy during a tournament. Eventually, Blizzard returned Blitzchung’s winnings and reduced his suspension, but the entire ordeal showed just how far Blizzard and Activision were willing to go in order to secure the Chinese market.
And in case you needed a reminder just how much Activision values profit over anything else, Kotick basically made it clear during the conference when he said he’d prefer to stay out of politics in his business. “My responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders."
Emphasis on the shareholders.