Blizzard's popular CCG (Collectible Card Game) Hearthstone is "killing itself," according to industry analytics firm SuperData. The organization says that revenues for the game are in decline on both the mobile and desktop versions.
In a February report about the worldwide digital games market, SuperData spelled out a not so positive picture for the Blizzard card game. It says that in February, Hearthstone revenues on iOS and Android hit the "lowest" since those versions of the game launched and is "down significantly year-over-year and month-over-month." The desktop version of the game has also experienced declining revenue but they have been less severe, likely due to the support from more "hardcore" fans.
SuperData blames this fall on recent "unpopular" gameplay changes to the game, which have resulted in a "sharp decrease in conversion on mobile." Although Blizzard has attempted to fix problems with the game, such as addressing problems with arena drafts and nerfing certain OP (over-powered) cards, this hasn't been enough. Several professional players have also ditched the game recently, citing the game's reliance on randomness (rather than actual strategy), as a reason for them to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately for Blizzard, it's unclear how Hearthstone can get back on track. Soon, it will release the Journey to Un'Goro expansion pack, which will introduce a variety of new cards to the game. Over 100 new cards will be added, with many players interested in seeing how these will fit into the meta and how they can make best use of the mechanics. It's certainly easy to see how this will encourage players to spend a little more money and time on and with the game.
However, another recent decision to increase the price of card packs had international Hearthstone players fuming and could undo the benefits of that expansion pack. The Journey to Un'Goro may well pique people's interests, but the majority of players may be put off by the price jump. Few could also be blamed for thinking that the price increase, which Blizzard blamed on "local and regional market conditions," was really made out of a need to try and make more money from the game in the wake of those falling profits.
As SuperData points to competition by other games in the genre – such as The Elder Scrolls: Legends and Gwent: The Witcher Card Game – Blizzard will have to take a lot of factors into account as it looks to keep players interested in its game. But it remains to be seen just how soon it can turn Hearthstone's run of poor form around.