Blizzard’s free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone earns the company more than $20 million monthly in microtransaction revenue, research firm SuperData confirmed in a report released this week.
The game’s monthly earnings outpace rival card games like Rage of Bahamut and Marvel: War of Heroes by a significant margin. Destructoid notes that Valve’s popular MOBA Dota 2, in comparison, earns $18 million every month.
“Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft managed to disrupt the category in the same way World of Warcraft transformed massively-multiplayer online games,” SuperData’s report states. “Blizzard’s first digital card game has deep mechanics, but it is more accessible and streamlined than long-running games like Magic: The Gathering.
“Hearthstone now dominates the genre and earns around $20M monthly. History repeats itself here: In 2004, World of Warcraft became the MMO to beat thanks to a combination of the popular Warcraft IP and gameplay that was more accessible than existing MMOs.”
SuperData attributes Hearthstone‘s success to its in-depth gameplay that outclasses similar card-battling games on mobile platforms. The firm notes that Hearthstone‘s mobile shift played a significant role in the game’s current popularity.
“Hearthstone‘s monthly revenue jumped 31% when the game became available on smartphones,” SuperData’s report states.
Launched in 2014, Hearthstone is a free-to-play collectible card game that charges players for card packs, character skins, and single-player “Solo Adventures” that unlock new cards upon completion. Players can use purchased cards and customization items in head-to-head-matches against other players, which award in-game cash to winners.
Upgrades and expansions provide incentive for players to update their decks frequently. Hearthstone‘s initial expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, added a total of 123 new cards, greatly expanding strategic possibilities in battle.
Hearthstone‘s next planned expansion, “The Grand Tournament,” will bring similarly sweeping changes to gameplay with 132 additional cards. The Grand Tournament is due to launch as a free update later this month.