The beginning of the gaming colossus company Blizzard in Latin America was focused only on supporting local fans. Fast-forward a decade there is not only a whole team of the company dedicated to the region, but an even wide strategy to engage and grow the customer base it already has. How? By using new and original content, better payment methods, and promoting experiences made just for fans living in Latin America.
A quick overview to acknowledge the size of it: the 29-year-old Blizzard Entertainment is a well-known developer and publisher of gaming software that merged with Activision in December of 2007 to make the world’s most successful interactive entertainment company: Activision Blizzard, which also integrates Major League Gaming, Activision Blizzard Studios, King, as well as independent studios that the company has been acquiring for the past years.
The California-based business that develops games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, Skylanders, Overwatch, Candy Crush, and more, had a market cap for the third quarter of $61,850 million, according to Koyfin Analytics. As the COVID-19 pandemic brought along shifts in 2020’s market scenario, the gaming industry saw a booming demand due to social distancing measures.
Rafael Tello, Director of Regional Operations & Business Development LatAm at Blizzard Entertainment, told LABS that Call of Duty: Warzone, launched when the pandemic took place, reached the mark of 6 million players in 24 hours of game availability. “Four days later, that mark reached more than 30 million players, that is, a growth of 400% in just under 10 days”. On April 10, one month after its launch, and during a critical pandemic moment in the Americas, the game hit the 50 million players milestone, which is a 733% increase within a month.
Tello talked to LABS about the 10 years of Blizzard’s presence in Latin America and its plans for the coming months:
LABS – As Blizzard is completing 10 years in Latin America, how important is the region for you and how much does it represent in the market for the company?
Rafael Tello – Considering that Latin America has more than 600 million people, multiple countries, and millions and millions of amazing players, Blizzard decided to formally have a dedicated team to support the region.
Blizzard arrived in the region focusing first in offering the best experience ever, not only giving access to the games through payment methods but also committed to bring the full Blizzard quality from localization to customer support so more and more players were able to access our games, focusing on the majority of Latin American players who don’t speak English, something that 10 years ago was not a common practice.
By doing that, our games started to grow very quickly, fulfilling something that always Latin American players were looking for. Not only focused on the localization of the games, but we also started to offer customer services in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, inviting and helping millions of new players to know more about WoW (World of Warcraft), StarCraft, Diablo among others.
Now, we continue to improve the way players consume games bringing soon better payment methods, new content, and experiences.
LABS – Did you see an increase in demand and users during the pandemic in the region?
Rafael Tello – Games are one of the best forms of entertainment available and perhaps the one that offers the best value for money, considering the offer of free games, like Hearthstone, and other paid games, like Overwatch, which offers dozens of hours of entertainment for a very low investment.
In addition to the accessibility aspect, games are considered a great option to keep the mind active, since many of them exercise our logical reasoning, math, and calculation skills, such as Hearthstone, and the ability to make quick decisions in situations that constantly change, such as Overwatch or Starcraft. Another fact is that all of these titles, in addition to World of Warcraft, offer content that is better used when you play with friends at a distance.
As an impact on our business, we can place Call of Duty: Warzone, which was launched on March 10 of this year and is offered for free in Portuguese for computers through the Blizzard Battle.net App. The game reached the mark of 6 million players in 24 hours of game availability, and four days later, that mark reached more than 30 million players, that is, a growth of 400% in just under 10 days; on April 10 – one month after its launch – the game hit 50 million players, which is a 733% increase within a month.
LABS – Which country consumes the most Blizzard games in the region and which game is played the most?
Rafael Tello – It will be very difficult to say which country in the region plays the most Blizzard games – as we offer a broad variety of genres for every taste. We see that some titles are more popular than others but overall the Blizzard community that we love is all across Latin America, and us, as a team, work very hard to engage with the community for all of our games following always our core values: Every voice matters, play fair, play nice and we will continue with those efforts to keep bringing awesome experiences to a new generation of players.
LABS – What are the company’s plans for the coming months?
Rafael Tello – Our main target now is the next World of Warcraft expansion launch. Shadowlands will be available in Latin America on Oct 27th and since our announcement, the players in the whole region have been coming back to Azeroth, enjoying the different experiences within the game. Our main focus now is to expand this and engage with a new audience to enjoy this new chapter.
We are bringing a whole new world to every WoW player, with a completely new player experience that we are sure that everyone will enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you have been playing the game or you are new to the Alliance or the Horde. This complete new experience reinvented the game design to onboard new players who never tried World of Warcraft before. This is the best moment to join this epic game.