Brief Thoughts on Activision

I remember when I first started this blog, I wrote overly-positive  comments about how powerful and open minded Activision is.  I didn’t want to say anything bad and at the same time I wanted to find some kind of way to stay neutral.  Video game politics are still new to me and 99.999% of the time I rely on video game blogs for news about the video game industry.

To this day, Activision remains notorious for pushing sequels to multiple platforms.  Bobby Kotick eventually took over as CEO and became one of the largest third-party video game publishers in the world.  Activision would later continue thriving and merge with Blizzard and Vivendi (who owns Blizzard) to form Activision Blizzard.  Both halves of the merger can still operate independently.

The most recent things I remember writing about Activision is Bungies 10-year contract and Infinity Ward’s dispute with them over royalty payments.

The reason why I am bringing up Activision again is because there have been some articles popping up about them which I missed.

"Virtually all of our studio heads are serious, responsible people," he [Bobby Kotick] explains. "They want to make great games, they want to do it the right way, and I think one of the benefits we have [with] being a big company is that we don’t have the same pressures of, 'Oh, we have to have it out for this particular quarter.' There’s not a studio at this company that will tell you: 'Activision is forcing us to get the game out.'
‐ Ben Maxwell, "Kotick: EA Is Suffocating Studios", Kotick: EA Is Suffocating Studios

This is similar to what happened to Toys for Bob.  However, Kotick’s statement feels biased to me.  They worked hard on their super secret game and they were given more time to work on it and do more with their project. I have no idea of Kotick had any connection with giving TFB more time to work on their project.  In summary, whatever TFB is working on, whatever took place during development and whatever factors influenced the producers to give more time, this project is very promising and only makes me even more excited to find out what it is.

Activision wants the same thing every other company wants: Profit.  I know that there are non-profit companies, but that is another story.  I agree that Activision pumps sequels to franchises to multiple consoles.  They go as far as to get multiple developers working on different versions of the same game.

Have you heard of a game called Rage?  It is under development by Id Software.  It was originally pitched to Activision, who rejected it.  As a result, Id pitched the idea to EA who accepted it.  During development, Id became acquired by ZeniMax, a publisher that also owns Bethesda.

Although, I don’t entirely agree with pumping sequels and movie-licensed games each year, it is profitable and that’s why they continue to do it.  Technically, it’s consumers who encourage these types of strategies.  I would love to see more original intellectual property titles directly from developers.  It’s just that Activision wants low-risk investment returns.

I know absolutely nothing about about the relationship between TFB and Activision other than they’ve been working together for 5 years now.  At the moment, I’ll write more about Activision if it’s interesting enough.  I still want to be aware of Kotick’s business strategies.

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