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A few years ago, we crowned Blizzard as a Develop 100 victor, back when the MMO worlds were unmeasured, but the gut instinct in the market was that the World of Warcraft firm was ahead of everyone else. It was just fresh from a merger with Activision, and WoW’s user numbers peaked. Once upon a time we’d have said it was the MMO model that would serve Blizzard well in the long-term, but instead a broader commitment to its global community and WWW.DEVELOP100.COM
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continued development of its genre-fiction-style IPs is what has kept it resilient. The studio itself knows this most of all, having struggled to replicate the WoW magic via the long-in-development and ultimately cancelled second MMO Titan, intended to establish a whole new franchise. Instead, new spin-offs from its established series Warcraft and StarCraft, such as card game Hearthstone, have driven the business forward. There are now 40m registered users
of the game, which was met with near-universal praise from critics, some of them the game’s biggest ambassadors. Blizzard made around $1bn from its games this year. Industry estimates – based on Activision Blizzard financials and public comments – peg Hearthstone at about $500m. The other half accounts for that declining WoW revenue base, and the growing franchises like StarCraft and emerging hit Heroes of the Storm. STUDIO HOTLIST
Our 10th anniversary edition once again ranks the world’s most successful studios, this time more comprehensively than ever before. Taking i...