Activision Blizzard has acknowledged during a financial conference call that the Battle Royale phenomenon Fortnite has had a direct impact on its first quarter this year.
With Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 set to release in October later this year, there has been a lot of indication that the title will feature some big differences from its predecessors. First, reports surfaced that Black Ops 4 would not feature a campaign mode – a departure from convention for the series – while shortly afterwards rumors began to circulate that the game would be similar to Overwatch‘s hero-based combat. Activision Blizzard, it seems, are not afraid to make big changes in order to stay relevant in the constantly-evolving shooter genre.
Of course, no single title is more relevant in the shooter genre than Epic Games’ cultural phenomenon Fortnite Battle Royale – a fact that Activision Blizzard immediately commented on during its Q1 financial review conference call yesterday. “Gaming is constantly evolving and innovating, which often expands the marketplace,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, “and the success of Fortnite is no exception.”
The mention of Fortnite was inevitable given the game’s unprecedented success – though it was more surprising to hear Activision Blizzard’s Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann mention it in relation to revenue. After reporting on the company’s better-than-expected first quarter earnings, Neumann noted that the company has “seen some near-term impact from Battle Royale.”
Despite this, and as with all mention of Fortnite during the call, Epic Games’ success was presented more as encouraging than threatening. There was much talk of the millions of new players Battle Royale has brought to the shooter genre, and even some hints from Kotick that Activision Blizzard will take inspiration from the genre with its upcoming titles:
“When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we’re very quick to capture inspiration from innovation, […] When we see things appeal to our audiences, were very good to be inspired by those.”
So, while Activision Blizzard are in no danger of being significantly damaged by the financial competition posed by Fortnite, it’s clear that bosses are paying close attention to its success. The inspiration Kotick mentions may be further evidence that Black Ops 4 will have a Battle Royale mode, or may simply refer to Epic Games’ microtransaction model.
Whatever the case, this conference call serves as the latest example of Fortnite‘s immense impact on the games industry. However, with Treyarch’s teasing of Black Ops 4‘s perks already creating a buzz about the title, it will be interesting to see how the two industry giants perform against each other come October.
Fortnite is available now in early access for iOS, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Activision Blizzard