Activision Blizzard (ATVI) will announce its first quarter results for calendar 2021 on May 4th. The China games market is increasingly important to ATVI, based on data from Niko’s China Games Streaming Tracker and our market insights. Niko’s China Games Streaming Tracker is a tool we developed to track games on the largest game livestreaming platforms in China: Huya, DouYu, and Bilibili. We track these three platforms daily and capture metrics for games and streamers, producing rankings in six categories: Hours, Streamers, Tips, Subscribers, Heat Index and Niko Index, which is our approximation of viewers.
Call of Duty Mobile, developed and published by Tencent, launched December 25th in China with over 70 million pre-registrations. It was the #3 mobile game in Niko’s China Games Streaming Tracker in Q1 2021, with 1.9 million hours of gameplay streamed during the quarter. Streamers earned $3.4 million in tips and donations from streams of that game in the quarter. Niko Partners estimates that total cumulative viewers of the game during the period reached 270 million. CODM was the #2 downloaded iOS game during the quarter in China and #13 by revenue, according to Sensor Tower. The esports scene for the game is already off to a strong start in China with the Call of Duty Mobile Masters Cup having a $450k prize pool.
World of Warcraft was the #7 PC game in Niko’s China Games Streaming Tracker in Q1 2021. The recent Shadowlands expansion and ongoing success of Classic has kept players engaged. Gamers streamed 2.3 million hours of gameplay in Q1, with streamers earning $8.4 million in tips and donations. Niko Partners estimates that total cumulative viewers of the game reached 170 million. Overwatch was the #13 PC game during the quarter in Niko’s China Games Streaming Tracker. According to Niko’s Chinese Gamers Survey conducted in March 2021, Overwatch 2 is the 4th most anticipated new PC game by PC gamers in China. The Overwatch League is also returning to an offline format in China this year with three live competitions in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
We await the release of Diablo Immortal globally in 2021. The recent beta tests have been well received by players and the game received an ISBN license on February 9, 2021 to launch in Mainland China. We note that King’s Candy Crush: Friends Saga also received a license on December 2, 2020 and has begun operations in China. Both games are operated by NetEase. We expect the cumulative gross revenue of Call of Duty Mobile, Diablo Immortal and Candy Crush: Friends Saga to exceed $400 million in Mainland China this calendar year. Overwatch 2 is not expected to launch in China, or globally, until 2022.
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