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Activision Earnings & The Fallout from Its Diablo Mobile Fiasco

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On today’s episode of the Tech Talk Tuesday podcast, Ryan McQueeney discusses the drama surrounding Activision Blizzard’s new mobile game, Diablo Immortal, and recaps the latest estimates heading into the video game giant’s earnings announcement.

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Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Free Report) generated quite the controversy over the weekend as a major announcement at BlizzCon 2018 did not land with gaming fans. After teasing something related to the Diablo franchise, the company’s Blizzard segment delivered with the reveal of a new addition to the series, Diablo Immortal.

A brand new Diablo title shown off at Blizzard’s biggest event of the year—must have been party, right? Well, not exactly.

Diablo Immortal is not quite what fans wanted from Diablo, a franchise traditionally beloved by diehard PC gamers. Instead, the new title is an online mobile game that attempts to bring the Diablo universe onto one’s smartphone.

Mobile games have become Activision Blizzard’s most profitable business in recent quarters, so it makes sense—from a business perspective—that the publisher would milk the trend for all it is worth. But for gamers, that perspective speaks to a frustrating evolution of the gaming industry that has seen massive corporations ditch tradition and disregard fan loyalty in return for short-term profits.

Publicly-traded companies are responsible for delivering value to their shareholders, but what do they owe the gamers who have supported their franchises for decades? Do gamers carry a collective voice that is loud enough to influence or change major company decisions? Can Activision learn from the PR backlashes suffered by the likes of Electronic Arts (EA - Free Report) in the past year?

On today’s Tech Talk Tuesday, Ryan attempts to answer these very questions. He recaps the Diablo Immortal reveal, explains why gamers are so angry, and compares the outcry to that which faced EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II game last year.

Later, he highlights Activision’s upcoming earnings report, which is due out this week. It will be all about the guidance for ATVI, as Wall Street will want to hear how recently released games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 are performing. Make sure to check out the episode to hear more!

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Thanks for listening to the Zacks Tech Talk Tuesday Podcast; we will see you next time!

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