More than a decade old, World of Warcraft is the hot new game again. And that’s good news for Activision Blizzard’s stock.
Since its Aug. 26 release, World of Warcraft: Classic has attracted hordes of players and viewers on streaming site Twitch, making it the most-watched title across any week in the past two years on the game streaming site—and more than doubling the audience of the nearest competitor, League of Legends.
And as a result, the remastered version of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game has helped Activision Blizzard’s stock level up from 53.50 on Aug. 25 to $54.58 at the close of Thursday.
The news is a welcome development for Activision Blizzard stock, which has been middling since October 2018, when the company’s other franchise mainstay, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, was released to good sales, but luke-warm investor response. Its stock fell from a record-high at $83.39 on Oct. 2 to $41.50 on Feb. 18, before staging its comeback.
As World of Warcraft battles this new campaign, analysts have a cautious view of the shares. Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital Markets upgraded the stock to “outperform,” while Jeff Cohen of Stephens Inc. moved his recommendation for the stock up to “overweight” Thursday.
The World of Warcraft reboot’s popularity could point to a new direction for the company, though, that relies on the title sustaining its success.
“Overall, (World of Warcraft) Classic will lose many of its launch players, but I believe it’ll be left with a very health population,” says Michael Bell of the YouTube channel Bellular Gaming.
“This assumes that Blizzard are able to time Classic updates well,” Bell adds. “It’s hard to predict what Blizzard will do after the next 12-18 months. I’d imagine they’re scrambling to work that out as we speak.”
Johnson also notes that World of Warcraft: Classic is likely Activision Blizzard revving up the franchise before it releases a new expansion to the traditional game. The expansion is expected to be announced at parent company’s BlizzCon in November, and would fit with the title’s two year cycle.
In addition, Activision Blizzard has Call of Duty: Modern Warfare coming out this October, a new game in the company’s other fan-favorite series. While Black Ops 4 didn’t meet expectations, it’s part of a franchise that typically sells well. And as fervor for competitors like Fortnite has cooled slightly this year, it might give the company’s stock another much needed power up.
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