Activision Blizzard ($ATVI) held an event yesterday to announce the latest entry in the long-running Call of Duty series, Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War. The series is one of the most notable in all of AAA games, having sold approximately 248 million copies since 2011 according to Statista. Often divisive for its arcadey gameplay that fits awkwardly with the serious topics and world events it deals with - like World War Two, the Highway of Death, and now the Cold War - this latest entry is already drawing both equal excitement and criticism from all angles.

So how does the release of a game that generates this many sales and this much conversation impact the metrics of the parent company? We’ve tracked Activision Blizzard’s social metrics throughout the week to understand how a major AAA game reveal benefits a major publisher.

The answer seems to be “not much.” At least in terms of social metrics, the reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War has done little for Activision. The company’s Facebook following has grown by approximately 1,000 likes throughout the week so far. Players may simply be more inclined to follow the specific accounts associated with the game rather than the company at large, and care more about the body that has an immediate interaction with them - the game brand - than the developer in the abstract.

Twitter following reflects a similar trend. While Activision’s Twitter followers have increased by about 50,000 since the beginning of August (Black Ops - Cold War was first teased on August 20), followers have marginally increased during the last week. 

However, Activision’s Twitter has grown meaningfully since January, adding approximately 340,000 new followers. This can likely be attributed to the increased popularity of gaming during the pandemic as well as the March 10 release of Call of Duty: Warzone, a free battle royale game which took off in popularity, catching Activision by surprise. In fact, Warzone is so wildly popular that many fans were watching the reveal of Cold War only to see how it would interact with Warzone.

Since Warzone’s release, job listings at Activision have increased by 34%, perhaps to dedicate more support to the game, which is still plagued with bugs and receives frequent fixes. While the growth driven by a long-term service title like Warzone is more difficult to pin down than the release or announcement of a game, Warzone’s surprise success means it - and Call of Duty at large - will stick around as a major force in AAA games for a long time to come.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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