Twitch Overwatch viewership is also down by 75%.
Since the beginning of 2020 and the Covid pandemic, the gaming industry has seen a surge as players have more free time. With this growth comes increased competition among developers as they compete for a piece of that extra gaming time. Some have experienced rapid growth, while others have suffered setbacks—Blizzard Entertainment is one of them.
According to research from Mejores Apuestas (MA), Blizzard has lost around 12 million monthly active users (MAU) since 2018. Since 2017, it has lost about half of its player base, and as of Q2 2021, Blizzard’s MAU across all properties sits at 26 million. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the studio’s IPs dropped 11 million players falling from 46 million to 35 million by Q4 2018.
The decline has not been precipitous, as can be seen in MA’s charts (below). It has been steadily falling over the past three and a half years. However, its Twitch audience has seen an even sharper fall.
In August 2019, Blizzard’s Overwatch following on Twitch sat at about 47 million followers with an all-time viewing count of 7.6 billion, making it the seventh most popular game on Twitch. As of August 2021, the follower count has dropped to a dismal 12.1 million. Overall, Overwatch viewership has dropped 75 percent.
The decline in popularity of Blizzard cannot be entirely attributed to the pandemic. The studio has struggled with a number of issues that have caused players to abandon ship. Recently, Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in legal battles over its alleged toxic workplace culture, which has escalated to the point where the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into its workplace culture.
It’s also worth noting that the studio hasn’t released a new property since Overwatch in 2016. Furthermore, the fan-favorite franchise Diablo hasn’t seen an update since Diablo III in 2012. Blizzard has announced that it is working on Diablo IV, but it is still in early development and has no set release date. In the meantime, the studio is trying to placate fans with a mobile game called Diablo Immortal, which nobody asked for and fans rejected upon announcement.