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Blizzard-Activision Merger Official

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the new-sheriff-in-town dept.

Businesses 200

The Washington Post's Mike Musgrove is reporting that the Blizzard-Activision merger is official as of yesterday afternoon. "One analyst has predicted that the merged company would make $1.38 billion in profits during its first financial year, enough to make Activision Blizzard the world's largest game publisher. [...] But this merger should give the newly-formed company enough heft to compete with EA for such blockbuster projects, said Pachter. 'It's good to have a duopoly instead of a monopoly,' he said. 'This just makes the industry that much more interesting.'"

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200 comments

Holy... (4, Interesting)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#24118041)

What does this do to Diablo III? I hope they don't over commercialize their better blizzard offerings with in-game ads.

Re:Holy... (2, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | about 6 years ago | (#24118247)

I'm not sure about Diablo III but I think at this point, in-game ads are an inevitability from all of the major publishers and distributers. Think about what ads in web-search did for Google. I'm sure Sony, EA, Activision and even Blizzard would love a piece of a rather similar looking pie.

It's not a question of if. It's when and how much.

Re:Holy... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24118409)

"Think about what ads in web-search did for Google."
Shame that is a radically different market. I mean really, while your shooting at Diablo are you going to stop and click on an Add to 'Al's Archery supply'

With Google, people are in the mindset that they will be looking at web pages already.

Re:Holy... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118839)

I can just see the Jack Thompson types having a heart attack over that. Not only can you shoot cops, steal cars and pay for sex in game now you can get direct links to where you can do those things in real life. Like the 9mm you're using in game, here's where you can buy one just like it.

Re:Holy... (3, Interesting)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 6 years ago | (#24120005)

The only way I would not really care about it is if it was a small, relevant advertisement during the slash/launcher.

Something like "Alienware" or "Sapphire Graphics" for about 1 second before I hit "Launch."

Re:Holy... (3, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | about 6 years ago | (#24120819)

Intereting point but advertisment isn't just about click-throughs, it's mostly about brand-awareness leading to sales at a later point.

When you listen to the radio, read a newspaper or magazine, look at a billboard or watch TV is it possible for you to immediately click-through onto the advertisers website? Usually no. But for some reason advertising is still big business. Let me give you a example.

The break during super-bowl - it costs $2.6 million for a 30 second ad that is viewed by 97.5 million people. That's just over 2.5 cents per person for a one-time hit. I'm sure no-one was running off to their desk to do a bit of web-browsing right after it either.

GTA San Adreas sold 8.6 million copies and if you use the metric of 2.5 cents per you could charge say $250,000 for a shorter 5 second slot on the loading screen. That would be viewed over and over on multiple occasions.

I bet however that certain entites would pay much more that quarter of a million for this priveledge too. We live in a world where Microsoft pays $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. Just so that they can get ads in front of people.

If I paid for it, I don't want ads! (2, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 6 years ago | (#24120361)

I don't pay money for Google. If I'm paying for a game it better not have any ads in it. It would be like paying to see Blade 3 [neowin.net] or I, Robot [thebestpag...iverse.net] or the new Casino Royale [telegraph.co.uk] or paying for a copy of NFSU2. [ocforums.com] I'm not going to pay twice.

Re:If I paid for it, I don't want ads! (1)

dintech (998802) | about 6 years ago | (#24120983)

You don't have to. Plenty of other people will.

Re:Holy... (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | about 6 years ago | (#24118249)

They already announced that the merger would not change anything. In fact, the games will still be labeled as being made by Blizzard because Activision Blizzard will just be the parent company.

Re:Holy... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24118427)

Yes, but that is said about most mergers, and it's never true.

Re:Holy... (2, Insightful)

Sheafification (1205046) | about 6 years ago | (#24119959)

Yeah, but Blizzard has been owned by Vivendi for a long long time now without being messed with. I remember when Blizzard was acquired by Vivendi; people had the same worries. Just like Blizzard is famous for only releasing "when it's done", I trust they're willing to tell their higher-ups, "Trust us, we know what we're doing."

Activision would have to be insane to fiddle with Blizzard, given that Blizzard rakes in millions a year, and could probably have a best selling game based on their name alone.

Re:Holy... (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | about 6 years ago | (#24120333)

"Activision and Blizzard have merged, Valve's minions grow stronger"

Re:Holy... (4, Informative)

netsavior (627338) | about 6 years ago | (#24118817)

they have had adverts in the lobby portion of battle.net for something like 8 years... I don't see why they would stop that program.

Re:Holy... (4, Insightful)

Cookie3 (82257) | about 6 years ago | (#24118849)

Question: "How does this impact D3?" Answer: "It doesn't."
Ditto for WoW and Starcraft.

Blizzard Entertainment is retaining all of its own staff; no one's going anywhere.

The actual merger is more akin to "Vivendi-Activision", but Vivendi doesn't have as strong a brand as Blizzard, so they slapped Blizzard's name on it instead.

Re:Holy... (5, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | about 6 years ago | (#24118855)

I think this means John Madden is now the final boss you face in Diablo 3

Re:Holy... (1)

zerocommazero (837043) | about 6 years ago | (#24118893)

Yeah... That joke would've worked if it was Blizzard-EA but it isn't.

Re:Holy... (0, Redundant)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#24119819)

How about this one...

Diablo 3 ends with a guitar battle against Lou^H^H^HSatan?

Actually, that could be pretty cool.

Re:Holy... (2, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24120519)

Isn't that how Diablo I and II ended?

Re:Holy... (1)

pablomme (1270790) | about 6 years ago | (#24121279)

Diablo 3 ends with a guitar battle against Lou^H^H^HSatan?

Yup, but in the hardest setting you face Jack Black [youtube.com] instead.

Re:Holy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24120561)

Beware of his minion Turduckens, as delicious as they may look they are a abomination!

Re:Holy... (3, Interesting)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 6 years ago | (#24119071)

I am very interested in seeing how actual game genre affects the placement of ads in games.

Diablo III is an excellent place to start this discussion because it is set in a time and place where modern advertising does not exist.

People would have to be very clever to put ads in this place without detracting from the game experience. Online marketers, being distinct from people, are not known for being very clever (think popunders, interstials, spywear, and Bonzai Buddy). Something tells me we are not going to be seeing labels on barrels subtly placed in clever spots throughout the game, we are going to see full screen takeovers telling you game will start after a word from our sponsors.

Starcraft III, on the other hand, could include hyperadvertising throughout the game. Ad boards appearing on the surface of the game world. Vehicles produced by specific real world manufacturers. Humans trapped in Zerg cocoons emerging to state their devotion to their favorite fast food restaurants.

There are a lot of options here...

M

Re:Holy... (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 6 years ago | (#24120649)

People would have to be very clever to put ads in this place without detracting from the game experience.

That's nearly impossible. Almost every ad in every game I've played has detracted from the game experience. The only exceptions I can think of are advertisements where they would be in real life, and on similar subjects as in real life: Billboards for fast food restaurants in cities (in realistic concentrations), ads for performance car parts on the barriers on race tracks, ads for sports drinks and sportswear on the sides of playing fields, etc. Having a Cingular logo permanently stuck to my HUD while I'm driving along (not kidding, see any driving screenshot from the PC version of NFSU2) is only going to make me hate Cingular, the company that made the game, and the horse they rode in on. Sticking any ads anywhere in a game that occurs in the past or a fantasy world is going to piss me off BADLY, no exceptions.

Re:Holy... (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | about 6 years ago | (#24121389)

It means that now your character is going to slam the crystal into his/her forehead, chug a RedBull, then crush the can on the crystal, sending it in just a little bit further.

RedBull! It gives you wings! And horns! Claws! Razor sharp teeth! RAAAWR!

Re:Holy... (3, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | about 6 years ago | (#24121921)

Before this merger, Diablo 3 was going to be released at an indefinite time in the future. Now it'll be released "when it's done".

Re:Holy... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#24122021)

You'll never see Deckard Cain without a Coke in his hand. And Diablo is going to be wearing Nikes.

Re:Holy... (2, Informative)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 6 years ago | (#24122199)

My bigger fear is blizzard adopting a stance of no in house mac ports (their mac support has always been so top notch) or even worse, using cider to port their games to mac.

Duopoly better than monopoly (5, Funny)

CrashPoint (564165) | about 6 years ago | (#24118065)

'It's good to have a duopoly instead of a monopoly,' [Pachter] said. 'This just makes the industry that much more interesting.'

In other news, thumbscrews said to be preferable to the rack.

Spin machine (4, Insightful)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | about 6 years ago | (#24118903)

They made it sound like merging these two companies is somehow increasing the number of competitors in the market.

Previously, there were three big companies, EA, Activision, and Blizzard.* They were all competitors. Now, there are only two: EA and Activision-Blizzard. That does not benefit consumers. The already-existing cartel has just shrunk, moving even closer to a monopoly.

The benefits of capitalism (low prices, high quality, variety of choice, available jobs, economic health, etc...) all come to fruition in free markets with lots of competitors. When you have largely controlled markets (high barriers to entry) with very few competitors, you lose those benefits. This is Econ-101 stuff.

Whenever these mergers happen they always try to sell up the benefits to customers "by centralizing our efforts we can cut our own production costs greatly, which means we can provide better quality and even bigger savings on to our clients." While that is true in theory, in practice the lack of competition means there is nothing forcing them to provide these benefits, and so over time they don't provide them...and instead maximize their own profits by cutting corners on quality and price gouging. Merging eliminates the balancing factors in the market, which is what allows them to get away with this.

So that is what will happen. And it is nothing new. "All this has happened before. All this will happen again." --Pythia

*Yes, I am aware that there are actually other companies in the games industry at the moment...I was just filtering the set to those mentioned in the summary for the sake of simplicity. The principle still applies.

Re:Spin machine (0, Redundant)

dc29A (636871) | about 6 years ago | (#24121427)

Previously, there were three big companies, EA, Activision, and Blizzard.*

Just because Blizzard prints money with World of Warcraft it doesn't mean that they are "big". They have a total of three game franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft line. That's it. That's hardly a lot compared to EA or Activision who each have gazillions of franchises. Take out WoW from the equation and suddenly Blizzard doesn't look that impressive at all.

Re:Spin machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24121773)

Take out WoW from the equation and suddenly Blizzard doesn't look that impressive at all.

... what? I can only assume that you aren't familiar with how Diablo II is still selling out in stores, or how Starcraft saved the South Korean economy during a depression. Seriously. Without WoW, Blizzard is simply printing a slightly smaller amount of money.

Oh boy (3, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 6 years ago | (#24118161)

I sure hope Activision isn't stupid enough to mess around with the way Blizzard does things. Disney may be full of twats, but at least they knew better than to screw with Pixar after buying them. Let's hope that Activision has the same sense.

Re:Oh boy (4, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | about 6 years ago | (#24118313)

I sure hope Activision isn't stupid enough to mess around with the way Blizzard does things. Disney may be full of twats, but at least they knew better than to screw with Pixar after buying them. Let's hope that Activision has the same sense.

What are you talking about? This is great. In fact, I'm downloading a demo of Blactivision's newest title, Tony Hawk's Streets of Warcraft, right now.

Re:Oh boy (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24118371)

That's a great demo! I am currently grinding until I can get my Stick of the Tiger!
+10 Agi +12 Sticking.

Re:Oh boy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118395)

There's no way that'll be as good as Guitarcraft Hero III: Call of Doom 2.

Re:Oh boy (-1, Offtopic)

spidercoz (947220) | about 6 years ago | (#24118575)

excellent...too bad you're an AC, I'd mod that up

Re:Oh boy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24119027)

Yeah, because Slashdot is all about the commenters, not about the comments.

Re:Oh boy (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#24121057)

In fact, I'm downloading a demo of Blactivision's newest title

Sounds like the game company from a Dave Chappelle skit.

Re:Oh boy (2, Interesting)

Hsensei (1055922) | about 6 years ago | (#24118369)

From what I understand when Disney aquired Pixar, Mr. Jobs pulled the same thing he did when Apple aquired NeXT. That being the smaller companys Board of Directors usurped the larger company to take a more controling intrest.

Re:Oh boy (2, Informative)

Blahgerton (1083623) | about 6 years ago | (#24120125)

I believe that when Disney bought Pixar, Mr Jobs became a very prominent shareholder in Disney. He didn't usurp the board, he became a member. I doubt the merger would have been agreed upon without this sort of stipulation, in either case.

Re:Oh boy (1, Offtopic)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 6 years ago | (#24121429)

I doubt the merger would have been agreed upon without this sort of stipulation, in either case.

Depends on who's in the position of strength. Pixar has been producing hit after hit, charging popular culture with its own imagery. Of course, the Disney emblem gets stamped on top of that because Disney distributes. But the underlying role is all Pixar - a role that Disney had in previous decades. Meanwhile, Disney produced an occasional boxoffice hit and a slew of related direct-to-DVD rehashes to throughly milk those few successes. They also produce disposable pop icons. And occasionally fall back on their historical success by the false-scarcity tactic of re-releasing old classics from their "vault".... for a limited time, of course.

It hasn't been working out well for Disney. I couldn't say its all about their box office. But I know folks who work for the Mouse and I'm hearing tales of decline at Disney's flagship parks (even beyond Disney's customary employee burn-out rate). Disney is stumbling.

It seems to me that Disney needed Pixar a lot more than Pixar needed Disney. Granted - Pixar gets things out of that deal. And I wouldn't be surprised if a bigger piece of the Disney kingdom was a part of that deal.

Can't wait for the Diablo / River Raid mashup. (5, Funny)

JoshDM (741866) | about 6 years ago | (#24118171)

Riverablo.

mod parent funny (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#24118477)

Too bad I just used my last mod point for the day. Hopefully there are some other people running around with points today that remember River Raid [wikipedia.org]

I think I speak with many of us when I say (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24118223)

Aww, Fuck.

There wasn't a monopoly. They came up with that line to try to appease the cynical young crowd.
I could only by games from EA? EA was somehow not allowing me to easily buy other games? EA is the only multi-billion dollar game company?

They only monopoly they ahve is on trademarked sport series.
NFL, NBA, etc. . .
And this merger will do nothing to stop that.
In 5-8 year BLizzard will lose there rep of releasing fnished high quality games. You'll see.

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118493)

You are going to have to do some serious convincing that they release good products when Blizzard hired Tom Chilton (the man whom single handedly brought down several large name MMORPGs before WoW) and then WoW became the worst Arena based third person melee subscription game ever that only rouges and warriors can play. PvE players and all the other classes in the game need not apply to World of Arenacraft.

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | about 6 years ago | (#24119683)

Because they killed PVE when they introduced Arenas?

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24120405)

So classes other than rogues and warriors "can't play"? How, then, do you explain the millions who do?

Oh, right, you're a liar who sucks at your chosen game. And no, you weren't just using hyperbole for effect. You were lying. Incompetently.

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 years ago | (#24120693)

Firstly, I don't think anyone has to convince anyone that Blizzard releases good products. That seems pretty obvious, given their sales figures.

Secondly, I don't think I've seen a single top-ranking 2v2 arena team composed of simply a Rogue and a Warrior, as neither has the ability to heal.

Finally, you are correct in your assertion that PvE players needn't play in the arenas. If you're not inclined to PvP, there is nothing requiring you to.

They want money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24119003)

Everyone knows why they're merging. It's to make money. This merger would never have happened if Blizzard had not released a certain terrible (but wildly successful) game. As long as they can keep that racket up, it doesn't really matter what quality they put out. Besides, it's not as if they were creative geniuses anyway. With or without Activision they will keep pushing the same tired old franchises. It's disturbingly similar to the Final Fantasy phenomenon. Has the Square-Enix merger considerably affected the quality of Square's properties?

Re:They want money. (2, Interesting)

ShibaInu (694434) | about 6 years ago | (#24119609)

While you may or may not like WOW, I feel pretty certain that Blizzard has generally put out pretty good games, in terms of both quality of the game itself and the stability. I recently popped Diablo II back into my machine and noticed that it had recently been patched.

And, if there is one thing that both game and movie companies know it is that nothing sells like a sequel. Take a hit game or movie and make a new one based off of the old one and you are pretty much going to make MORE. So don't blame for profit companies for doing this - blame the folks who buy the various part II's and III's. I'll admit I am looking forward to Diablo III...

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | about 6 years ago | (#24120469)

Definitely not a monopoly from the legal standpoint, but EA's size and capabilities gave them first choice of nearly all potential games.

If a new Harry Potter movie was coming out, who would the marketing/franchising people go to first to have a game made? If a small studio earned a contract for a game, produced a good product that sold then EA would buy the studio, assimilate the talent and produce quick, lower quality sequels. They DO have a monopoly on the sports with ESPN and the official leagues locking into "EA only" contracts.

This merger puts another big dog in the arena. Now companies have two choices to produce games, and I guarantee there will be bidding wars between them. When the "EA only" contracts expire watch those sports leagues go visit Blizzard and entertain the idea of "what can you do for us?" Oh, yes. It will have an impact.

As for Blizzard's quality... they've been producing top notch, highest quality games for over 15 years now. They have never, ever shipped an unfinished product that needs to be patched as soon as you insert the CD into your computer. EA has done that repeatedly because the ship date is more important to them than the quality. I think Blizzard has an excellent model of development that scales well. I don't believe their quality will drop at all.

Re:I think I speak with many of us when I say (2, Insightful)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#24120827)

In 5-8 year BLizzard will lose there rep of releasing fnished high quality games. You'll see.

Wtf are you talking about? Activision has been publishing id's games for YEARS and they're still released "when they're done". (I know they aren't "GOOD", but that's not he point).

Activision didn't buy the golden goose so they have it for dinner.

Well... (5, Interesting)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | about 6 years ago | (#24118243)

Just look at all the improvements Activision made to the Guitar Hero series after acquiring R.O. Ads... poor note charts... incredibly gimmicky additions to gameplay. I am very disapointed to hear of this merger.

Profits (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24118265)

Doesn't Blizzard bring in more than a billion in profits a year, by itself? What's Activision bringing to the table?

Re:Profits (1)

jandrese (485) | about 6 years ago | (#24118347)

Maybe Activision is bringing their genius management and support staff. I can't wait for Blizzard games to be pushed out the door in November 80% done and then never supported again.

Re:Profits (5, Funny)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | about 6 years ago | (#24118361)

Don't discredit Activision. They _do_ have some of the best titles out for Atari.

Re:Profits (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24118497)

Mmmm... Chopper Command...

Re:Profits (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 6 years ago | (#24120969)

H.E.R.O.

Hot rocks are bad.

Re:Profits (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | about 6 years ago | (#24118373)

Goodwill?

Re:Profits (1)

Awod (956596) | about 6 years ago | (#24118397)

Lies and deceit. Served with ice, naturally.

Re:Profits (1)

tim_darklighter (822987) | about 6 years ago | (#24118663)

The Guitar Hero franchise.

Re:Profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118743)

Activision will probably bring new copy-protection methods, similar to how Spore has the "three activations and buy a new key" BS, or how Atari won't let the latest NWN2 expansion out the door until their next nasty copy-protection stuff is "working".

Other than that, not much else. Looks like Blizzard will be going the way of Origin.

Re:Profits (1)

christ, jesus H (1317921) | about 6 years ago | (#24121307)

I would guess that Activision brings more diversity to Vivendis catalogue of games. To spread the risk and funding across more titles, the benefits of scale.

So ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118299)

Will all of Activision's games start to not suck or is it just from here on out?

Sounds like a B movie monster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24118399)

Hahahaha, you fools! You thought you could defeat me, but you didn't count on my super warrior robot !

Blactivard! Destroy them!

New Name? (1)

SnowNinja (1051628) | about 6 years ago | (#24118423)

isn't Blactivision already an old Blaxploitation movie from the 70s?

The question is... (4, Funny)

david.given (6740) | about 6 years ago | (#24118453)

...are they going to call it Blahctivision or (my favourite) Actilizzard?

Re:The question is... (1)

merchant_x (165931) | about 6 years ago | (#24121037)

Some other poster from a previous story came up with my favorite concatenation of the names so far..

Actard

Where are the Games of Yore? (4, Interesting)

falcon9x (618587) | about 6 years ago | (#24118577)

Where are the games of yore?
That captured you in an experience like never before,
and when completed, left you wanting for more?

Used to be that in box was a map made of cloth.
Nowadays when opened, out of the box comes a moth.

In a game like Command & Conquer, even the installation was a treat.
But now its all boring wizards. I guess the programmers just aren't that 1337.

Where are the games that are deep, like Zork and Chrono Trigger?
Now they all seem to be shallow and simple, but they are a lot bigger.

I loved playing with friends, in games like System Shock 2 (with patch)
But now its all against friends, seems like there's only deathmatch.

These games of old came with books that were a joy to read.
Now they won't even print it, they just put it on the CD.

The graphics weren't great, but they had a great story and they were immersive.
Nowadays you have to do it yourself for games that have multiplayer that's massive.

I want to go back to Monkey Island or command X-COM to save us from alien attacks.
And I'd like to thank Telltale Games for the fun revival of Sam and Max.

Oh how I yearn for the games of yore
That captured you in an experience like never before,
and when completed, left you wanting for more?

http://9xrnet.com/blog_gaming/where_are_the_games_of_yore [9xrnet.com]

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 6 years ago | (#24119195)

The "games of yore" mindset is just another "back in my day" phenomenon. The kids who grew up gaming are getting older now. It's just a sad fact of reality that the when I think about all the awesome games I played as a kid, I'm looking at them through rose-colored glasses. Most, truth be told, had simplistic gameplay that I wouldn't enjoy now. That "magic" that the old games had was essentially that a lot of us were kids who were easily entertained. A little guy to move around on screen and some flashing lights and we were happy. I mean honestly, RC Pro Am or Contra aren't much more than twitchy little diversions.

These days, game companies are still coming out with tons of those types of boring, meaningless games. The kids now are eating them up, and we look at them with disdain saying "If only they had some REAL games like WE had when we were kids . . . uphill in the snow both ways yadda yadda". Don't get me wrong, I'm still an avid gamer, but I'm just much more selective now that I used to be. In generally I'll play through half a dozen games per year, but they're not the mindless little diversions that I once enjoyed. Now, it takes a very detailed game with an intricate story to wrap me in. Last full game I played through was Mass Effect. Currently I'm in the beginning stages of Assassin's Creed (which is decent so far).

So yeah, the games haven't gotten lower in quality as time has weathered on - it's just that our demands for them have gone up as we've gotten older.

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24119841)

Fallout 1 & 2, Planescape: Torment, Descent: Freespace, System Shock 2, Star Wars; Rogue Squadron, The Oregon Trail, ...

I don't expect games of this caliber anytime soon.

I've played all of them, except the last, in the last month and they are still as good. The only problem is my OS can't actually run them stably.

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24121527)

You really ought to break out those old games and play them.

You'll see that your comments here really are full of hot air. Games *were* more enjoyable because of the content, not nostalgia.

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (1)

falcon9x (618587) | about 6 years ago | (#24121569)

There isn't much "back in my day" sort of thing. I'd like to think I'm still "in my day", if you will, since I'm 24 years old. I have played these old games, and quite frankly, a good number of them are better than a lot of the games that come out nowadays. Also, you'll see that there are actual PHYSICAL properties of games that don't exist now that I have mentioned. Cloth maps, hefty manuals, campaign co-op are just some of the things I have named.

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 6 years ago | (#24120233)

Damnit old man! I got off your lawn like 20 minutes ago. Would you please stop shouting now?

Re:Where are the Games of Yore? (1)

falcon9x (618587) | about 6 years ago | (#24121635)

Lol, I don't use a cane/walker quite yet, I'm 24 years old.

Don't be too cynical yet (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | about 6 years ago | (#24118679)

EA hasn't acquired some small company that it can now manipulate however it sees fit. These are both powerhouses. You can be sure that Blizzard doesn't want to see it's name tarnished and it certainly has the clout and financial backing to pull off the kind of negotiations it needed to during this merger. I suspect that Blizzard wants access to more high-end developers and Activision just wants some of the royalties of Blizzard's cash cow. If that's all that happens (and monthly subscription prices don't go up) I don't see this as a bad thing at all.

Game Development Studio Identity (5, Informative)

MiceHead (723398) | about 6 years ago | (#24118691)

Activision has snagged, founded, or otherwise invested in a number of companies:

1997 - Raven Software
1998 - Pandemic Studios
1999 - Neversoft Entertainment
2000 - Gray Matter Interactive
2001 - Treyarch Invention LLC
2002 - Z-Axis Ltd, Luxoflux Corporation
2003 - Infinity Ward, Shaba Games LLC
2004 - Activision's 25th birthday- take one free acquisition. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
2005 - Vicarious Visions, Toys for Bob, Beenox, Inc.
2006 - RedOctane, Inc.
2007 - Bizarre Creations

It's odd to me how studios gain/lose/change their identities through acquisitions. Toys for Bob was responsible for Star Control II, which remains one of my favorites to this day. More recently, they did a PS2 movie tie-in for Madagascar. I'm guessing that that game was solid, but not the tour de force that was SC2. On the other hand, Maxis is now "just" one of EA's brands, and they've always done stuff that interested me. Perhaps companies just need well-placed pied pipers (Wright; Jobs; Carmack) to retain their identities?

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (3, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | about 6 years ago | (#24119877)

On the other hand, Maxis is now "just" one of EA's brands, and they've always done stuff that interested me.

Maxis used to have a diversified game portfolio (albeit they were just the publishers of some). I think of Klik & Play, Widget Workshop, SimTower, SimAnt, SimFarm, SimIsle... Those were really fun games. I would kill for a modern remake of SimFarm!

Once EA bought them, they were pretty much forced to focus on SimCity and The Sims franchises. The SimCity franchise is dead at this point (another dev shop made SimCity Societies, which isn't even the spiritual heir to SimCity 4).

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (1)

twilightzero (244291) | about 6 years ago | (#24120481)

+10 for the Toys For Bob and Star Control 2 references!!

I still pine for the day they'll be bringing out Star Control 4...maybe a new Blizzard project? ;)

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24120579)

If SC3 was any indication, I weep for the day they bring out SC4.

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (1)

Nalgas D. Lemur (105785) | about 6 years ago | (#24121091)

SC3 was not made by Toys for Bob and is not considered canon in the Star Control series/universe. Toys for Bob and fans of the original games have actually been trying for years to convince their publishers to let them make a true sequel to SC2. There have been rumors of people at Activision showing interest more recently, and there have been fan letter-writing campaigns and petitions to show support and that people will buy such a thing if it exists, but as far as I know/remember, there hasn't been anything beyond someone at Activision asking for a presentation of a concept for what the game would be. So, no official work or progress at the moment, but it does seem like there's some hope that there will be something at some point to make up for the atrocity that SC3 was.

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24121973)

Yeah, I know that TfB didn't make Star Control II (Not sure how they managed to maintain ownership of the code and resources, but not the name, but I'm glad they did. UQM == win).

Honestly, I wasn't thinking about TfB, I was thinking about Activision and Blizzard making SC4... and it frightens me.

"Go Kill 10 Spathi Eluders, then see Commander Ivanova at Vega II. Take this cool, refereshing Pepsi to rejuvenate yourself on the long flight"

*shudder*

Re:Game Development Studio Identity (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24122015)

Ah, even with forced preview I still bugger up.

"Yeah, I know that TfB didn't make Star Control III (Not sure how they managed to maintain ownership of the code and resources for SC2, but not the name, but I'm glad they did. UQM == win).

Some confusion (5, Informative)

Compenguin (175952) | about 6 years ago | (#24118975)

Since there appear to be a lot of misinformed people in this thread, this actually a merger of Vivendi Games and Activision. Blizzard has been a subsidiary of Vivendi Games (and it's predecessors) for a long time. The merges company is taking the name Activision Blizard instead of Activision Vivendi because Blizzard is a much for famous brand name and the Vivendi brand has been tarnished since the Vivendi Universal implosion while the Blizzard brand is known for quality. Blizzard has been known for it's ability to convince its owners that its formula works and it should be left alone for a long time now. âoeMike [Morhaime] has to train his new boss every time he gets a new boss.â

Blizzard was founded in 1991. It acquired by Davidson and Associates in 1994. Davidson was acquired by a a mail-order/conglomerate company CUC International in 1996 along with Sierra On-Line and Berkley Systems. Then in 1997 CUC merged with a hotel company HFS to form Cendant. After an accounting scandal in 1997 Cendant sold it's software arm to French publisher Havas. In 1999 French water conglomerate Vivendi acquired Havas and while working to acquire Universal (which it did in 2000) becoming Vivendi Universal. In 2002 Vevendi Universal began to enter financial trouble and began divesting many of it's properties. In 2004 it sold 80% of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to NBC keeping it's software properties. In 2006 it dropped Universal from it's name completely once again becoming Vivendi (with Vivendi Universal Games becoming Vivendi Games). In 2007 announced a merger of Vivendi Games with Activision which just became official, resulting in Vivendi owning a huge portion of Activision (now Activision Blizzard) stock (54% of shares outstanding).

Re:Some confusion (1)

christ, jesus H (1317921) | about 6 years ago | (#24121193)

Very well explained. I think alot of the confusion comes from the belief that Blizzard was somehow an "independant" developer previously when that hasnt really been the case since the mid-90s.

Don't Understand (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | about 6 years ago | (#24119317)

I don't really get it. Blizzard has the reputation for being probably the highest quality development house in the entire industry... by a solid margin. And they are already printing money with World of Warcraft. This seems like a giant leap backwards for them on all fronts, but maybe I'm missing something.

Re:Don't Understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24119715)

They increase their reach

Re:Don't Understand (4, Informative)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about 6 years ago | (#24119839)

You are missing something. The comment above mentions that Blizzard was already part of Vivendi. Blizzard already merged. Now they're merging again.

The Reason Why (4, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 6 years ago | (#24119389)

First stop thinking about EA\Activision\etc as game companies. They are at the core Interactive Entertainment companies.

Just as Marvel is no longer a comic book publisher, they deal in intellectual property. Their product is the world and characters they create and the various outlets are the tools (comics, movies, games, etc.)

With that in mind Activision and EA are looking at entertainment resources. The reason for the mergers is to pool capital for large projects that are internal and self directed.

Case in point, how many good video game movies are there?

Ok with that answer in mind: How many of them were produced by the game company?

Ahh we are starting to see the motivation here.

Blizzard alone, despite being a large high quality producer of games doesn't have all the tools they need to push things to the next level. The inverse is also true Activision doesn't have the tools that Blizzard has.

We all know there is a Warcraft movie in the works. The more money that Blizzard can front in the production, the more control. If they could fund the movie completely, they have complete control.

This is what motivated Marvel to start doing their own movies. Look at Marvel based movies before they spun their own studio (Hulk, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Electra, etc.) and look at the post results in Iron Man.

By combining resources they are given themselves better leverage for a complete Entertainment company with better cross platform capitalization of their intellectual properties.

ActivisionBlizzard can do more with existing IPs then Blizzard alone can. Remeber, business is just as much about networking personally then just the logistics of business-as-usual. Activision brings a lot of "Who to call for XYZ" and "So-and-So over at Paramount owes me a favor".

The same goes the opposite way, Activision can now dip into the substantial talent pool that Blizzard has, their biggest asset is their art department. Think of all the artists who can now branch out and do work for other IPs not getting burned out drawing their 400th Orc or 200th Zerg. Retaining talent isn't jsut about good benefits, but giving them something to do that keeps them energized.

The key is ensuring good management, keeping the creative forces insulated against the business lines, and ensuring that creativity and profitability co-exist as peacefully as possible. That takes strong leadership to say yes and no when needed.

That being said I would love to see some new use of the WoW IP, how about a racing game in the theme of Rally car racing through Azeroth and Outland. How about some FPS in the land of Starcraft. How about a few anime series based on Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft?

Maintain quality, respect the IP, keep focused and keep costs in control.

Re:The Reason Why (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24121409)

Starcraft-themed FPS? Oh yeah, sign me up! Imagine yourself as a marine at the front line while the computer is sending a swarm of zerglings at your base!

How about Starcraft III, where two players play the game as commanders (RTS) and all other players play as soldiers/pilots/etc (FPS)? Now THAT would be insane!

jesus fucking mary and joseph, when will it end? (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 6 years ago | (#24119497)

It's a Wall-E world. I think these business execs have taken Highlander a bit too seriously, buying and merging companies because in the end, there can be only one. So will it be Wal-Mart or Buy-n-Large?

Re:jesus fucking mary and joseph, when will it end (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24121601)

It's gonna be Brawndo [brawndo.com] , of course!

Re:jesus fucking mary and joseph, when will it end (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#24122169)

The other day I was watching American TV and a not-very-little video screen popped up in the lower right corner (more like quadrant) advertising some other program, totally obscuring Darth Vader trying to find Luke.

Brawndo, here we come!

Mark my words! (0)

Defraggle (70799) | about 6 years ago | (#24119829)

Mark my words! Now wrath of the lich king will definitely come out this Christmas. whether it's ready or not. Starcraft 2 will get kicked out of the door Christmas 2009, whether it's ready or not. Jar Jar will be a playable race. Diablo 3 will be renamed Diablo 2k10, come out on the xbawx 3 months before the PC and ps3. It will also have optional down loadable content with micro payments.

not necessarily a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24119995)

This is actually a bad thing for Americans, they're not being bought out by Blizzard they're being bought out by Vivendi. Vivendi is an aggressive french monopoly.

They're the ones that fired all 99 employees in the Dynamix division that produced Tribes 1 & 2, the only two money makers at the time at Sierra Online when they bought out Sierra.

Drool.... (1)

Linuss (1305295) | about 6 years ago | (#24120023)

world of turokcraft 3

And the New Name will be? (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | about 6 years ago | (#24120307)

ActiBlizz? Blizavision? Zardsion? BlizzAc? ZardVision?

Well since no one said it (4, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#24120383)

I'm looking forward to the Mechwarrior action MMOG

Re:Well since no one said it (3, Informative)

NaleagDeco (972071) | about 6 years ago | (#24121515)

Except that Activision lost the Mechwarrior license ... I believe Microsoft owns it now, which is why they put out MW3, 4 and Mech Commander.

Mac games (2, Interesting)

StonedRat (837378) | about 6 years ago | (#24120621)

Blizzard have always been good at supporting the Mac natively (Unlike EA). Activision have been quite the opposite.

Does this mean we can expect more or less Mac titles?

Re:Mac games (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24121713)

Note to Activision: if you mess with Blizzard's NATIVE Mac versions, we won't buy them.

And when I say native I do mean native, not some lazy-ass, half-baked transgaming version.

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