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Activision Blizzard: Tech issues will halt wide adoption of streaming in the near term

COO Collister Johnson points to mobile as better growth opportunity in the next few years

Activision Blizzard sees mobile as a bigger opportunity than streaming for the expansion of its business in the coming years, due to issues with the current state of streaming technology.

Speaking to investors following the publication of its Q2 results, COO Collister Johnson stated that streaming technology would ultimately prove to be "a very strong positive" for both Activision Blizzard and the entire industry.

"It has the potential to significantly expand the reach of our big screen experiences to audiences that don't have a console. And in some cases don't have a PC, depending on the streaming system you're talking about," he said.

"And second, even for existing gamers, streaming systems...should be able to provide more easily accessible experiences, reducing friction, enabling deeper ongoing engagement throughout the day as the content is more available."

Johnson said that Activision Blizzard was, "in dialogue with large global tech platform providers about their cloud infrastructure and potential streaming solutions." However, he also highlighted a number of "important hurdles" that will prevent streaming from becoming "widely adopted" in the near term - the main one being latency, which our own Rob Fahey also pointed out in a recent editorial about Microsoft's apparently bullish strategy around streaming.

"And so we feel like there's still work to be done before the tech is ready for mainstream adoption," Collister said. "We do think this will happen. Probably not in the near term, and we're well positioned when it does."

The major focus for expansion in the next few years for Activision Blizzard is mobile, Collister said, as evidenced by its deal with Tencent to create a Call of Duty mobile game for China.

"We think it's a large opportunity," Collister said. "We have really deeply engaged communities who are really looking for experiences to have with them throughout the day. And when you look at our incubation pipeline, or when we look at it, we get really excited about what that future can bring."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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