Activision Blizzard has released its Q3 2021 financial results slide show, and in its “Update on Our Pipeline” slide (page 6), it announced it had delayed the release dates for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, potentially to 2023. The games had no set release dates in the first place, except that neither one was expected to launch in 2021, but now Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV are being formally delayed to reach their “full potential.” Additionally, Blizzard co-leader Jen Oneal has simultaneously announced she is stepping down from the company at the end of the year, leaving Mike Ybarra as the sole head.
Blizzard still intends to deliver a “substantial amount of content” in 2022 despite the big shake-ups. Activision Blizzard has also detailed its “commitment to a safe, inclusive work environment” following the scathing allegations and California lawsuits filed against the company, but time will tell if any of those commitments result in meaningful, positive change. For her part, Oneal said she is leaving Blizzard “not because I am without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite–I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts.” She said this has in turn inspired her to “step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well.”
Meanwhile, as far as announced platforms go, Overwatch 2 is set to launch on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, whereas Diablo IV has only been announced for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox to date. Here is some additional context on why Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV are being delayed:
These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides towards completion in recent quarters. But we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years into the future.
These decisions will push out the financial uplift that we had expected to see next year. But we are confident that this is the right course of action for our people, our players, and the long-term success of our franchises.
Suffice to say, there is a lot to mull over here. What do you think of the current state of Activision Blizzard?