2022 in Review: We Went Big and You Went With Us
Our teams delivered tens of billions of hours of gameplay in a year for the ages
What can we say about 2022?
It was a year where we made history, made major strides, and made good on our promise to deliver epic entertainment. Always. The Call of Duty® franchise entered a new era with a record-shattering launch. World of Warcraft® took flight on the backs of dragons for a whole new perspective on Azeroth. Overwatch® dropped a pulse-pounding sequel with instantly iconic new heroes. Candy Crush found a way to sweeten its world with a “divine” 10th birthday celebration. And Diablo® went mobile, opening the gates of Sanctuary to new players around the world. Although the year is coming to an end, we can’t shake the feeling that we’re just getting started.
Activision Blizzard is proving games are now a dominant driver of entertainment, and our community of close to 400 million players across 190 countries is constantly shaping and moving culture.
So no matter what your game is, where your quest takes you, and who makes up your squad, let’s raise a collective toast to 2022 and all the people who made it a great one — especially you, our incredible community of players.
How does Activision end a year that saw the Call of Duty franchise have the biggest entertainment opening of the year, with Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® II? Well, we had a little help from our squad.
This year was all about bringing a new era of the Call of Duty franchise to our community. Not only did the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II hit — and hit big — on multiple fronts with Campaign, Multiplayer, and Co-Op, Call of Duty®: Warzone™ 2.0 took just five days to reach 25 million players. Bolstered by the brand-new, free-to-play DMZ, it took the first-person action genre by storm. The battle is only going to get bigger from here. After the announcement of Call of Duty® Warzone™ Mobile, there were 25 million people pre-registered ahead of its 2023 debut. Warzone even helped Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the 2022-23 NFL season.
And at The Game Awards, Crash Bandicoot repelled from the ceiling to announce his return next year. And he’s bringing friends. A lot of them. Will you be ready to Rumble?
If you spent your 2022 riding dragons, fighting hordes of demons, solving murder mysteries, and commandeering iconic heroes from the comfort of your ergonomic gaming chair, congratulations — you’ve completed Blizzard’s 2022 fantasy achievement list.
Under the gaze of the famous Orc statue at Blizzard’s Irvine headquarters, it was a banner year for new adventures, with an eye-popping four major launches, five expansions, and two new game announcements. In the happiest battlefield on earth, Overwatch® 2 welcomed 35 million players in its first month.
Meanwhile, the Warcraft franchise – with nearly 250 million accounts created by players across its lifetime – released Dragonflight®, World of Warcraft’s ninth expansion for the modern game. Notable fans joined in on the launch celebration, including David Harbour of Stranger Things and Lana Condor from To All the Boys.
Blizzard’s amazing teams also released Wrath of the Lich King® Classic™, giving players the opportunity to live (or relive) the beloved expansion from 2008.
With a lifetime reach of more than 130 million players, Hearthstone continued its run as one of the world’s most popular digital card games, launching its 20th, 21st, and 22nd (!) expansions this year.
And in more Warcraft news, Blizzard announced Warcraft® Arclight Rumble™ — a mobile action strategy game where collectible Warcraft Minis come to life and clash in epic (tiny) skirmishes on PvE and PvP battlefields all across Azeroth.
Diablo® Immortal™ brought Sanctuary to millions, launching as the No. 1 most-downloaded game in the U.S. app store and then topping the game download charts in more than 100 countries and regions. Diablo® IV waited in the wings — until the date of Lilith’s return to Sanctuary was announced at the Game Awards. The battle between the High Heavens and Burning Hells will rage again June 6, 2023.
And in case you missed it, Blizzard revealed they are working on brand new IP — an “unannounced survival game” introducing players to a whole new universe.
And if you don’t know, now you know.
How does one express all that Candy Crush Saga has done to improve the state of idle time? Over the past decade, the deliciously sweet and colorful match-3 mobile game transformed long lines, long commutes, and every moment in between into five trillion levels of play — with more than 200 million downloads this year and a total of three billion since launch. Every day, Candy Crush Saga players swipe a distance equivalent to three and a half times around the globe on their phones, keeping the whole Candy Crush franchise at the top of U.S. app charts for five years running.
For its 10th anniversary, the most-downloaded casual match game of all time teamed up with Grammy-winner Meghan Trainor; she released her latest Candy Crush Saga-inspired music video “Made You Look” exclusively in the game, 24 hours before it was available anywhere else.
It was a big moment in a year of activations-as-celebrations, including a drone takeover of the New York City skyline and a soundtrack makeover with 12 new tracks, recorded at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios.
Next year, King turns 20!
With the return of in-person esports this year, both the Call of Duty League (CDL) and the Overwatch League (OWL) rode the wave of renewed enthusiasm, on their way to reminding us that games are a thousand times more fun with a cheering section.
Fans raised the roof for the CDL’s Toronto Ultra during the 2022 Kickoff Classic, gripped the edges of their seats as OpTic Texas took on (and took out) Atlanta FaZe during Major 1, and cheered loud enough to rock the whole West Coast when the LA Guerrillas and the Seattle Surge took Majors 2 and 3. They played to packed crowds, and we’ve never been happier to hear so much noise.
And when the Overwatch League championships hit Anaheim, California, the electricity in the convention center was matched by the nearly 2 million fans who tuned in online to watch the San Francisco Shock get, um, surprised by the Dallas Fuel in the final match.
The skill levels of these athletes has never been higher, and the support they receive has never been more visible… or more welcome. We’re all back. Game. On.
This year, going big meant getting bigger — and better at supporting all the dreamers and doers behind our games, including many new full-time colleagues around the world who joined us this year!
The Activision Blizzard team didn’t just grow in size — it also grew in diversity. We increased our representation for those who identify as women or non-binary from 24 percent in 2021 to 26 percent in 2022 globally, and our overall representation of underrepresented ethnic groups (UEGs) from 36 percent in 2021 to 38 percent in 2022 in the U.S.*
We had so much growing to do this year that we didn’t just find new game devs, we built them up. Level Up U, our new in-house boot camp, turned 100 professionals with diverse backgrounds — across demographics, professions, and North American time zones — into Activision Blizzard game developers in just 90 days.
And then our efforts got noticed. Shareholder advocacy non-profit As You Sow ranked us second overall on its Racial Justice/Workplace Equity Scorecard, ahead of other global, world-class brands like Nike, Visa, CVS, and Microsoft.
Our creative teams also wowed the world’s marketing and design community — and set a personal best for total number of advertising and marketing awards — by bringing home hardware from some of the industry’s most respected recognition programs: 22 awards across Advertising and Games at the Clios, 18 Pencils at One Show, 9 Pencils at D&AD, and 7 Lions at Cannes. But who’s counting?
At Activision Blizzard, impact is driven by innovation and powered by people.
As the Call of Duty Endowment blew past its stated goal to place 100,000 veterans in quality jobs two years ahead of schedule, Activision Blizzard accelerated their impact— making an additional $30 million commitment to further fund the Endowment’s veteran employment initiatives over the next five years. Now the Endowment is focused on placing even more veterans into high-quality jobs.
Running on empathy, the Endowment launched the first-ever in-game charity run, Call of Duty Veteruns, which had players sprinting 227 million virtual kilometers (almost halfway to the moon) to allocate a $1 million donation to support their U.S. and UK non-profit partners.
Meanwhile, half a world away, our colleagues at Infinity Ward in Kraków were answering a different call of duty, opening their homes and hearts to dozens of Ukrainian refugees who were streaming into Poland.
In November, Activision Blizzard was honored by the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan (FAUF) with the International Public Service award for assisting with the evacuation and relocation of hundreds of students, faculty, and families from Kabul to safe havens around the world.
This year, we crossed a milestone by supporting more than 100 developers through AbleGamers’ Accessible Player Experiences (APX) certification training — a groundbreaking program that prepares developers throughout the industry to be more accessibility-minded in their work.
While we build new worlds for our players, protecting our planet is incredibly important to us. In 2022, we moved forward with our Net Zero by 2050 commitment by being the first pure-play video game company to fully disclose its Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, while also starting a decarbonization planning process.
In December 2021, we launched ABK (Activision Blizzard King) Gives Back, an employee charitable donation matching program. In 2022, our people donated nearly $3 million to more than 4,500 charitable organizations across 66 countries.
We’re not about to let the dust settle. This year, we kept our promise to deliver epic games and entertainment, and you made it all worthwhile by continuing to grow our communities around the world. No matter what or where you play, we’re with you. To all the gamers, streamers, developers, noobs, god-tier warlords, and candy crushers, thank you for being a part of it all.
We now invite everyone to take a few minutes to check your loadouts, adjust your avatar skins, and down a pint of mead — 2023 is on the horizon. If you’re wondering how we could possibly top everything we did this year, all we can say is: Keep playing. 🎮
🦾 Start your mission, and come work with us.
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*This is as a percentage of non-temporary employees. See further details in our recent announcement: https://www.activision.com/cdn/activisionblizzard/ABK-2022-Representation-Data.pdf