This sucks on principle. Neither division of the new company will make games that encroach on the other’s genres: they’d be competing for each other’s profits. You say, “Big deal – so we won’t have a Guitar Hero MMORPG or Starcraft Pro Skater.” Okay. But what about, say, Starcraft Ghost? Would Blizzard even <i>think</i> about making a Starcraft Ghost when it’d steal money from Call of Duty, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Spiderman 3 and Transformers? The profits would come out of its own pocket. Likewise, I think it’s fairly clear that Activision won’t be expanding into the strategy or online RPG markets anytime soon – Blizzard’s already dominating those markets, and the best Activision could do would be to steal WoW players. So Blizzard and Activision are now hedged into their niches carved out in the past, discouraged from treading new ground whenever it would encroach on the other company.
Moreover, I’m suspicious of big corporate productions in general. Consider this quote: “Even as the deal puts Activision Blizzard in the top spot in terms of revenue, the question that will face investors is whether Activision can duplicate the business model of Electronic Arts. . . . Electronic Arts has built its business on creating numerous game franchises that deliver reliable streams of annual revenue.” How far will Activision Blizzard go to <i>keep</i> that top spot now that it’s there? I suspect that, like Electronic Arts, rather than take risks in making new games about which its passionate, it’ll rely on easy cash-crop games to maintain a stable profit. It’ll release the next WoW expansion, the next Starcraft, the next Guitar Hero and the next Tony Hawk – none of them particularly <i>different</i> from its predecessor, none of them particularly daring in any way – and it won’t bother inventing weird games like, say, The Lost Vikings.
Maybe I’m just cynical. But in any event, I’m no more excited about this than I was about the Square-Enix merger.
I was neither excited about Squeenix, nor about this. At least Squeenix was a merger that made sense. This makes no sense at all. I don’t understand why Blizzard would want to merge with anyone. The have so much money, they can do anything they want.
Blizzard benefits because uninformed stockholders who want to get in on entertainment would buy Activision stock before Blizzard because they’re the second largest company after EA. Blizzard has intellectual property, but it appeals to only a segment of the entertainment marketplace (pc gamers), while activision holds stuff that appeals to everyone (spiderman, thps). Sure WoW makes piles of money, and SC is popular, but what percentage of the marketplace cares about Blizzard licenses? Enough to make you confident in holding their company over someone who holds licenses that appeal to a wider segment (ea with madden, microsoft with halo, nintendo with mario)? Blizzard was listed publicly once before through VivendiSA and eventually was delisted because people won’t go for a small house when they could buy something like EA.
Activision benefits because WoW makes more money in a month than most games make over their entire life cycle. And anyone who owns Activision stock benefits tomorrow at 9:30 because that shit is going to go through the roof ;___; Hopefully Epic has some because his company is owned by Activision.
I think we’ll still see Starcraft: Ghost or other territory-infringing games from each company, simply not at the same time. There is, essentially, a period over which Call of Duty makes a grip of money from its earlier sales when it’s a fresh game. It will continue to be played after this, but lacking a subscription, it isn’t going to make much more money after its sales plateua. It is at this point a similar game from Blizzard may come out. However, the continuing franchise statement is very probably true.
Fuck that shit! Let me say it again: I’m drunk and fuck that shit! The corporate changes of Blizzard (COC and Vivendi) didn’t add to the company and while Activision has produced plenty of good games, a joint Activision-Blizzard (besides Blizzard being second in the name, which is a travesty in the history of pc games, despite economics) will undoubtedly be treated by new shareholders as a money machine; never mind about the unique IPs that made Blizzard the company that it is. Blizzard’s claim to fame is the exceptional success of most of its games. Then again perhaps after a while generic shareholders will understand the importance of the creative nature of a company like Blizzard and sell them again like COC did. Wow probably gives them some leverage but I’m still pissed about Looking Glass. Nah, anyway.
I really terribly regret missing the last stock purchase thing. Really terribly. Although the merger won’t end up happening for a while so I might still be able to get some cheap beforehand.
I like Kaseli’s assessment of the deal, and I would like to add that the combination is also a good fit geographically, with Vivendi strong in Asia where Activision is relatively weak.
As a side note, Ubisoft stock jumped on the news – it was up about 10 % this morning. Now the market is hoping for EA to move in a defensive deal and increase its 15.4% stake in Ubi.
I should get out of the Canadian oil patch (Minister Flaherty is getting on my nerves lately) and move into VG sector, where profits equate with fun.