The Chinese National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) approved Call of Duty: Mobile in August 6 to be played in China. This happened barely two days after the Activision Blizzard Q2 2020 Investors Conference.
Call of Duty: Mobile surpassed 250 million downloads worldwide. This approval will see a substantial growth beyond that.
This also happened in the middle of the WeGame, TikTok and Tencent controversy after transactions with the company in USA was banned by executive order.
That made a lot of people nervous because the language of the executive order could be confused with Tencent in general. For context, Tencent and Activision are partners with Call of Duty: Mobile; and Tencent owns 5% of Activision Blizzard — which includes all Blizzard games as well.
Los Angeles Times tech reporter confirmed that the games division of Tencent is not included in the executive order.
With the whole commerce wars between both nations and the freeze of approving USA games in China, it wasn’t clear whether Call of Duty: Mobile and Diablo Immortal could be approved. There was speculation for some time that Diablo Immortal had been delayed because no approval by China, but this Call of Duty: Mobile approval in the midst of so much controversy between USA and China dismerits any and all speculations on the matter.
This gives Activision Blizzard investors a breathing room that Diablo Immortal will get approved by China when the time comes.
It doesn’t seem to be a quick process, though. Call of Duty: Mobile launched in the United States on October 1, 2019; and it was affected by the approval freeze. Its approval might mean that the freeze restriction is over. We will find out soon enough once Diablo Immortal launches… hopefully in 2021.
During the ATVI Q2 2020 Q&A session, Daniel Alegre said this about CoD: Mobile and Diablo Immortal.
We also see that the free-to-play on mobile and other platforms can bring in multiples of new players into our franchises. Importantly, with strong execution, this is not cannibalistic. Actually on the contrary, free-to-play coexists with other business models and can be meaningfully additive to a franchise, bringing new players into the ecosystem.
So, these proof points are relevant across our portfolio; and to your question, it’s not just Diablo but it’s also across all our franchises; and our teams see an opportunity to drive a greater reach, engagement and player investment — greater than ever before across the franchises; and with a really strong execution that we know we can deliver, we expect to continue that trend.
thanks to SnowTyrant for the approval heads up