2023 in review: It's a whole new game.
New games, new milestones, and oh yeah—we joined Team Xbox, too. Here's everything that happened at Activision Blizzard King in 2023.
What happened this year? A lot.
We launched new games. Rolled out new seasons. Deployed new updates. Celebrated new anniversaries. (It was a busy year!)
Before the curtain opens on what’s sure to be a glorious 2024, here’s a look back at Activision Blizzard’s year to remember.
We joined Team Xbox.
There is, of course, the biggest news of all—that Activision, Blizzard, and King are now part of Microsoft Gaming. (Anyone else want to see a Minesweeper and Call of Duty collab?) Our two organizations worked incredibly hard to bring this amazing partnership to life. The result? A chance to reimagine the future of gaming.
As we wrote on the day of the deal close, it’s an exciting new adventure for our team, and we’re stoked to bring our games to more people in more places and co-create the future of gaming together.
Tell us your favorite moments from this year in the comments.
We reloaded, kickflipped, and rumbled.
Activision Publishing had an active 2023.
In June, we introduced Crash Team Rumble, the 4v4 online multiplayer game developed by Toys for Bob and starring characters from the world of Crash Bandicoot.
But the biggest splash of all? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, of course. The latest installment of the wildly popular action franchise debuted on November 10 and has thrilled players since. As of December 13, the new game brought in more hours per player overall than its predecessors from 2019 and 2022, more Campaign mode hours per player than the previous two installments, and the most hours per player for a new premium Call of Duty release during the Thanksgiving weekend since 2019. One more thing: Zombies is now the most engaging third mode in Modern Warfare history. The action didn’t stop with new launches.
We rolled out six seasons of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, multiple seasons of the aforementioned Crash Team Rumble, and countless updates along the way. Activision also celebrated the 25th anniversary of Spyro, the 20th anniversary of Call of Duty, 10 million units sold of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and 10 million units sold of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
And did we mention the music? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III featured “Call Me Revenge,” an original song by 21 Savage featured in-game and within the game’s marketing campaign. In addition, global artist Peso Pluma collaborated with Call of Duty to create “Peligro,” a song inspired by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. As Nigel Tufnel might say, these go to eleven.
We butchered, skirmished, and cosplayed.
‘Twas a big year for Blizzard Entertainment, too.
The long-awaited Diablo IV made its debut in June, tallying an astonishing $666 million in sales in the first five days and earning the title of fastest-selling Blizzard game of all time. Players killed 276 billion monsters in the first week and played 1.5 billion hours by the first week of November. More than 23 million players played a Diablo title this year, and what can we say about that other than: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥?
Speaking of November…Blizzard also rolled out Warcraft Rumble, the mobile action strategy game set in the Warcraft universe. The engagement numbers are eye-popping. Players have played more than 4.5 million hours worth in the first official launch week alone. Just 86 players have bested the mighty dragon Onyxia since November 3—but players have defeated more than 300 million bosses since the game’s soft launch. (Hungry for more? The most used mini is S.A.F.E. Pilot, played in more than 248 million matches; the most used leader is Baron Rivendare, played in nearly 100 million matches.)
All of this led Warcraft Rumble to be the No. 1 mobile strategy game in November. Pretty pretty pretty…pretty good.
Elsewhere, Blizzard introduced multiple seasons of Diablo III, IV, and Diablo Immortal, released six content updates for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, revealed the three World of Warcraft: Worldsoul Saga expansions (The War Within, Midnight, and The Last Titan), and launched two updates for World of Warcraft Classic—Hardcore Realms and Season of Discovery.
Blizzard also supported more than six seasons of Overwatch 2 with lots of newness including the addition of Hero Mastery and PvE Story modes, a new hero called Mauga, a new support called Illari. Not to mention special team-ups with John Cena and LE SSERAFIM—Blizzard’s first in-game musical collaboration. There was also plenty of Hearthstone hype in the form of catch-up packs and three new expansions: Festival of Legends (with the Audiopocalypse mini-set), Titans, and Showdown in the Badlands.
And then there was BlizzCon. Blizzard’s fantastically popular convention returned IRL to the Anaheim Convention Center this year with all of the news, cosplay costumes, and community you’ve grown to expect. It was great to see everyone in person and celebrate Blizzard games as a community again live.
We celebrated the playful.
There was so much to celebrate at King that we partied after we reached the incredible milestone of $20 billion in revenue.
We partied after Candy Crush added its 15,000th level, where the newest designers on the team get to design the milestone level leaving their mark on the always growing game.
And we partied after engaging in supercool partnerships with the Jonas Brothers (songs!), World Surf League (Soda Surf Cup!), Barbie (quests!), and the fashion designer Christian Cowan (attachable pockets!).
We raised a salute.
The Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) reached the milestone of placing 125,000 military veterans in high-quality, high-paying jobs over the last 14 years—the equivalent of 24 vets per day. (That’s enough service members to fill every seat in the largest football stadium in the U.S. and still leave some standing.) The Endowment has created nearly $7 billion in economic value for U.S. and U.K. veterans and their families, and that’s phenomenal.
But we didn’t stop there. We also hosted the Loot for Good in-game charity event for Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 and crowned a surprising new C.O.D.E. Bowl champion: the Royal Canadian Air Force, who had joined the competition for the very first time.
We crowned the playful.
Speaking of esports…Call of Duty League wrapped 2023 as its most-watched season with an average viewership of nearly 190,000 people—the highest to date for a Call of Duty esports event.
Meanwhile the World Series of Warzone held its first-ever in-person tournament in front of a sold-out crowd in London and attracted more than 60,000 signups.
Finally, the Overwatch League saw the Florida Mayhem win Season 6, which means the bottom four teams of Season 1—San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons, Dallas Fuel, and Florida Mayhem—have now won championships.
Plus: Team United States from the Overwatch World Cup fulfilled a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraising goal.
We put people first.
We shared our 2022 progress in our ESG report that highlighted how we quadrupled the number of women in game development leadership roles since 2016 and increased the combined percentage of employees who self-reported as a woman or non-binary person.
We now count 142 Way2Play Heroes at the company. Way2Play Heroes is our global network of peer-nominated global ambassadors from across Activision, Blizzard, and King who serve as a sounding board for all of our employees to speak up and ultimately strengthen our ethics and compliance efforts.
About 3,200 employees are now members of our global employee network groups. This year we launched our tenth such group, the Multicultural Employee Network.
We also welcomed 240 babies born to our team members this year and congratulated many U.S. employees who grew their families through the company’s surrogacy and adoption benefit or received support through our Infertility Treatment Program this year.
We celebrated our achievements.
Individuals, teams, and their amazing creations were recognized in a number of ways this year.
Some of our favorite nods include:
BAFTA nominations for Diablo IV (Artistic Achievement, Multiplayer, Music, Narrative) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (Audio Achievement, Multiplayer, Technical Achievement)
Inclusion on Newsweek’s America’s Greenest Companies list, thanks to our commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050
Top marks in As You Sow’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report, which ranked Activision Blizzard No. 2 overall among large-cap companies—besting Amazon, Netflix, and Nike—and No. 1 in the communications services category
We’ve got more surprises ahead.
For more than four decades, players have inspired us to push the boundaries of imagination and deliver the world’s most epic interactive entertainment experiences.
We certainly did that this year—and have every intention of keeping up the momentum in 2024, bringing our iconic universes to more people, more screens, and in more players' hands than ever before.
So like we told you last year: Check your loadout, adjust your avatar, sharpen your blade, and—as always—game on. We’ll see you in the new year 🎮