Image from: Forbes
Blizzard Entertainment is renowned for developing and publishing revolutionary games. Their products are so powerful that many have become household names and each time Blizzard releases a game, the gaming industry is forced to conform to new and increasingly rigorous standards.
Battle.net is Blizzard’s unified product portfolio website, where customers can buy any of the three franchise games of Starcraft, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. Battle.net is itself somewhat revolutionary and one of the most powerful creations of Blizzard, unifying its products, player profiles, and heightening account security for its users. With the launch of Diablo 3 on May 15th Battle.net traffic has skyrocketed to over 2.7 million Americans, seeing a 38% increase in unique visitors, a 37% increase in visits, and a 46% increase in attention (an aggregate of time-spent, loyalty, and popularity). On the following graph, the recent flare-up is highlighted by comparing the website to its popularity in May of the previous two years, which last year was the month of lowest popularity for the website.
Diablo III’s launch also set the new all-time record for fastest-selling PC game by selling over 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release and 6.3 million sales in its first week. The game also amassed 4.7 million players on its first day thanks to a deal that bundled the game with an annual World of Warcraft subscription. We can see the spikes in traffic to Battle.net with Compete’s daily traffic metrics.
Blizzard’s teams have to be thrilled at the enormously successful launch of its newest product. The marketing behind the product was an ingenious display of cross platform advertising, including Facebook Ads, TV commercials, and Search Marketing. The Facebook marketing seems to have been enormously successful, with over 300% increase in traffic from Facebook to Blizzard.com in May. Blizzard has also seen significant traffic from Twitter, but the most powerful channel by far has been YouTube.
YouTube increased the amount of traffic sent to Blizzard.com by over 1000% in May. This is most likely due to their incredible commercials, and really shows how YouTube is unparralleled in terms connecting offline (TV) content to drive marketing through online channels.The release was certainly a success and there is an online eco-system forming around the online games. However, in order to turn the game into the success that is World of Warcraft (over 10 billion dollars in revenue), Blizzard will need to sustain the growth and attention to the game for a long period of time. The game launched in multiple countries, across two operating systems so Blizzard is surely looking to recreate success similar to that of World of Warcraft.
Is it safe to say that Blizzard’s launch was a success? Yes; but in order to sustain this success, Blizzard’s user base will have to continue to grow over the next few years. It sure seems like Hardcore mode is now on for Blizzard’s marketing team as they try to carry the success of the launch into sustainable growth for the game.