Activision Blizzard Game Development Wasn’t Impacted by COVID At All, Says COO


The impact of COVID on game development has been severe, with a string of delays that hit the release schedule pretty hard recently (and it's not over yet), but Activision Blizzard doesn't seem to have been impacted at all.

During the conference call following Q1 2021's financial report, Daniel Alegre (President and COO of Activision Blizzard) said:

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As for your question on game development, we are fortunate that to date we really haven't seen any significant impact on game development with our current games in pipeline because we're really meeting our pre-COVID milestone. And as we have seen in 2020 and also in early 2021 we've delivered the games that our players have expected and with the quality that really defines our company and we also have been very fortunate that we haven't had to compromise game that our players have as a result just the best value for the money. So, it's been incredible to see.

Indeed, we haven't heard of any game delays from Activision Blizzard so far. On the other hand, Daniel Alegre went ahead to outline the plan to massively increase the headcount of certain development teams.

Now, as mentioned in previous earning calls, we have reopened some of our studio capabilities in the limited fashion for areas that really needed it like motion capture, for instance. And that was really to ensure that we just stayed on top of our milestone. And in each case, we obviously ensured strict adherence to heightened COVID testing and separation protocols that have ensured that our employees were kept safe. But having said that, we recognized with our strategy of increasing game content and frequency as well as doubling down on live operations we must and we have to continue to grow our developer base. And this is why we recently announced, as Bobby alluded to in his opening remarks, the goal to hire 2000 plus developers over the coming few years, and we're actively hiring around the globe and we have the benefit of having studios and cities across Asia, Europe, and of course, across the Americas. So our teams are really adept at working across geographies and you'll see us opening or expanding studios in locations such as Poland, and in Toronto for instance to give us access to some of the great pools of talent to really help us deliver on even more content in the years ahead.

The current Activision Blizzard release schedule includes Call of Duty 2021 (in development at Sledgehammer), Diablo II: Resurrected, Diablo Immortal, Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, though the latter two games won't be released this year.

Credits for the conference call transcript go to Seeking Alpha.