Fortnite: Battle Royale‘s juggernaut-like success hasn’t had much impact on Activision-Blizzard, financially at least. The mega-publisher of games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Destiny, World of Warcraft, and other titles reported another record quarter with $1.97 billion in revenue Thursday during a conference call. Still, the success of Epic Games multiplayer shooter hasn’t escaped notice the notice of executives like CEO Bobby Kotick who recognize a successful formula.
The success of Fortnite: Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has many in the gaming industry expecting big AAA franchises to start adopting the 100-player last man standing mode soon. Call of Duty: Black Ops IV is one of those upcoming games with rumors of a Battle Royale style mode coming.
Perhaps the Black Ops IV reveal on May 17 will reveal a massive free-for-all coming, or perhaps Activision has something else planned. The executives on the quarterly earnings call played coy about upcoming content for their franchises, and rightfully so. There were still some choice quotes captured in the call transcript via Seeking Alpha that does hint at possible directions.
Kotick praised Fortnite for helping to expand the marketplace by innovating in a way that has turned it into a mainstream product that has brought in new players of all ages and gender. Additionally, Activision appears to be keenly aware of Epic Games’ success in the mobile space.
“It’s also highlighting the ability to successfully bring immersive gaming experiences like Battle Royale to mobile in both Western and Eastern … markets,” Activision CFO Spencer Adam Neumann pointed out. “And that’s really encouraging as we think about our future mobile opportunities and our growth opportunities generally as gaming becomes increasingly mainstream.”
The most interesting comment perhaps came from Kotick as a follow-up to Neumann. It strongly suggests future titles will take “inspiration” from some Fortnite: Battle Royale to include a new mode or other feature.
“When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation. And so we as a company, in our DNA, in our culture, when we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those.”
While most are focused on Activision providing some kind of twist to the Battle Royale formula in Call of Duty or another title, Fortnite‘s Battle Pass is something else likely to cause inspiration as well. Instead of players spending money on slot machine-like loot boxes to receive an in-game item that will likely not be what they hoped to get, they spend money on a whole suite of content that encourages them to play the game and complete certain challenges to unlock.
Given last year’s backlash against loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II and Destiny 2, it would not be surprising to see an Activision AAA or mobile title pick up the concept of the Battle Pass before the Battle Royale mode.