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Blizzard Breaks For Independence As Kotick Plans $8.2 Billion Dollar Buyout

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,5 days | from the world-of-business dept.

Businesses 203

MojoKid writes "The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, announced this morning that he would lead an investor buyout of the company worth approximately $8.2 billion dollars. The move would free Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?) to become an independent publisher and free it from the clutches of Vivendi, the evil French entertainment conglomerate. Vivendi has reportedly been attempting to sell Activision Blizzard for years, due to an apparent hatred of actually turning a profit, given than the game developer owns some of the most popular franchises on Earth. Kotick has previously been known for his comments regarding exploiting game franchises and for gems like this: 'We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.'"

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The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splendor (2, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | 1 year,5 days | (#44389933)

It's true that Researchers Implant False Memories in Mice [slashdot.org] but Activision has implanted Happy Memories in Gamers and erased all bad ones!

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389949)

Like Hell they have, I was hoping TFA was about Blizzard finally breaking free from Kotick's money-grubbing, DLC-and-franchise-all-the-games!, clutches.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (4, Interesting)

nucrash (549705) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390499)

Seconded. I was hoping Blizzard was going to dump Activision and go back to developing new IP instead of rehashing the same 3 ideas over and over again.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390763)

They've been doing that since well before the Activision merger.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389955)

Is that so, then how do you explain Diablo III?

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (5, Funny)

Calydor (739835) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390919)

What Diablo III? There were only two games released in that series, though I really wish they'd make a third sometime.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391157)

Someone should create a petition for Blizzard to make Diablo 3.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391201)

It is called torchlight 2.
Made by the exact same devs that made diablo 1 and 2 before leaving actibliz.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391361)

Diablo3 is actually a really fun game for the first 500 hours. It gets tedious, but that's the point of a treasure grinding game.

Or are you still butthurt over the initial user experience the first month after launch last year? Shit takes time to get figured out and some things, like server capacity, can only be figured out after launch. For most people Diablo3 only sucked because someone told them it sucked. And that person that told them it sucked? He got his opinion the same way. Everyone that bitched about Diablo3 did so only because they didn't understand what they bought.

Diablo3 is not a game that you will want to play forever, it is maybe a 30 hour game from start to finish and a complete grind fest after that, exactly the same as Diablo2. If you get bored of repetition then the game sucks pretty quick, but no more so than Diablo2. After grinding a few hundred hours, in my case over 700, the game gets old and genuinely better games like Skyrim, Fallout, or Starcraft2 reclaim their appeal.

Continuing to hate Diablo3 because the first month sucked and a bunch of bloggers called it crap is about the most pathetic excuse to avoid a game that I've ever heard. Go play it some time, it's actually a lot of fun if you give it a chance instead of prejudicially taking the word of others.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391457)

Diablo 2 had much more replay value. On multiple occasions over the years I've gotten together with a friend or two to replay D2 just for the heck of it. I have absolutely zero motivation to do anything of the sort whatsoever for Diablo 3. Why is that?

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390033)

can we remove thug-glorification and other bad parenting memories from blacks? the crime rate would go way way down you know. it's true, everybody knows it, you don't have the guts to admit it, so do something cozy and comfortable like modding this down.

Re:The Achievement of the Glorious Gamer in Splend (1)

Apharmd (2640859) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391143)

Friend, I think you are lost. You probably want this site. [stormfront.org]

Hrm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389953)

It sounds like hiding the fact they're going down lately: https://www.google.com/trends/explore?q=world+of+warcraft#q=world%20of%20warcraft&cmpt=q

And is the bitter nationalism against the French needed? What are you, British?

Re:Hrm. (1)

firex726 (1188453) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390263)

WOW may be losing subscribers, but it's still insanely profitable. Lst I heard was it dipped from $200m/mth to only $150m/mth.
Somehow I doubt they are hurting.

Not to mention all the other IP they have, including some no name game called Call of Duty that I heard is becoming popular.

Re:Hrm. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390427)

Although it should be pointed out that declining at all as opposed to growing drives down stock prices, which is much, much worse to some of these people.

That said, it is probably the signal to them to start working on something else (which they likely are already doing). Here's hoping that they can actually put something out that is at least as enjoyable. Diablo III was a bit of a misstep in a lot of ways, which is too bad.

 

Re:Hrm. (4, Interesting)

JavaLord (680960) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390813)

WOW may be losing subscribers, but it's still insanely profitable.

I wonder what's leading them to lose subscribers. If it's just fatigue, since the game is so old. One pattern I've noticed is as they've shortened the timeline between patches and expansions, players seem to quit more often. Once and expansion is announced, in game players (and I would assume subscriptions) drop. It seems like now it even happens in between patches. I assume it is because players feel whatever they earn will be worth less by the new patch/expansion. I wonder sometimes if they wouldn't be better served by not announcing patches so early, and having longer cycles between expansions.

Re:Hrm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391359)

Fatigue is part of it. The game is old and tired, and it's approaching its tenth year. There really hasn't been any effort to renovate the game and bring it up to today's standards visually or otherwise, and it's doubtful that's actually possible with the technology they use.

There also hasn't been much in the way of innovation in how the game plays, and what they have come up with is boring, frustrating, and derivative. World of Warcraft was always a grind fest, but come on. It's a miracle that they've managed to stay relevant this long, and their strategy for accomplishing that explains why they're starting to lose players now.

As time went on from 2004 onward, the game has been progressively streamlined and dumbed down. Don't ask for a dissertation on this subject, countless other people have explained the problem better than I ever could. By pointing their crosshairs toward a lower and lower segment of the market as time goes on, they've been able to keep players coming in as older players leave, or 'die of age' so to speak. (That, or they get frustrated with the changes to the game and split.) There are diminishing returns to this, and we crossed the event horizon with the latest expansion. The release schedule is accelerating because they're desperate to keep people waiting for more, and they're desperate because the attention span and commitment level of their current base is critically low. The reason for that is because they've finally begun pushing the last of their dedicated players away. They can't aim any lower and expect to keep making money, this is about as casual as they can get without switching to a fully free model.

The quality of the content has arguably been falling since the first expansion, also.

Re:Hrm. (1)

subanark (937286) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391453)

It's not so much the game as the competition. They are getting better and better at taking pieces of the WoW market. WoW is still far ahead, and it simply can't appeal to everyone at the same time.

Wow can't play the "I've eared my gear though lots of gameplay" as well as it used too. With facebook games and the like abusing that angle for as much as it's worth the general public has wisened up to the continual formula that this proposes. So, for now they have to ease up on that approach and allow people to catch up, meaning they are primarily keeping players who like pve/pvp content for the pure challenge of it, and those that get a kick of controling the economy by buying and selling off the auction house.

Corporation Culture (2, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,5 days | (#44389959)

This may be the wrong crowd, but this exactly the kind of move that is to be expected of a CEO who's main job is making money for shareholders. It's not surprising at all, except the heavy bias of TFA.

Minimal growth prospects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389961)

Blizzard is quite frankly riding sequels down the drain (when was the last time they developed new IP?), the CoD games are getting more and more expensive for worse returns. The only other thing they do is that Skylanders Spyro thing with the RFID toys, but I don't recall those making profit yet.

Kotick won't do a better job than Vivendi would, because he's married to the idea of 'if it works, don't change it', so you have endless rehashes of the same garbage with more and more nickel and dime DLC.

Re:Minimal growth prospects (2)

Tyr07 (2300912) | 1 year,5 days | (#44389997)

CoD...one track mind..sounds like a console gamer!

No no, I jest.

Blizzard itself has made a lot of great games, and I keep looking forward to their next sequel.
Starcraft, Starcraft 2. Amazing.
Heart of the swarm? Amazing.
World of Warcraft? I'm personally tired of it, yet, amazing.
Warcraft 1-2-3, great games.
Diablo 1/2, amazing. Enjoyed d3 but..eh.

They're not perfect, but their PC marketed games have done very well and have been good.
Why complain about good?

Re:Minimal growth prospects (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390051)

All of it is old, that's my point. The only titles in that that were developed in the last ten years were Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 parts 1 and 2. Diablo 3 is not a good game and the auction house killed it, SC2 is alright but nothing outstanding, and heart of the swarm was straight up just a small expansion pack. More importantly, it's all derivative sequels - Blizzard hasn't put new ideas into a game in a very long time, and are content to milk old ones. That's why they have no growth prospects and no future.

Re:Minimal growth prospects (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390343)

WoW was initially released in the last 10 years, and I'd argue their expansions have been pretty good in adding new mechanics and content. I'd concede that WoW as a platform is no spring chicken.

Agreed as well on the D3 business. Requiring a persistent Internet connection, and having RMT, ensure that D2 is the last installment I'll buy. Feeling a bit burnt by Blizzard, so when I'm finally done with WoW I'm thinking it's the last title I'll play.

Re:Minimal growth prospects (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390679)

That's the point. The only post-merger game on that list is Diablo 3. All the rest were already complete or at least 14 months into development before Activision entered the picture.

Re:Minimal growth prospects (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390767)

You realize that according to the list you just posted, the only good game Blizzard has released in 9 years is Starcraft 2.. right?

And from what I've read, most SC2 players would agree that it's not as good as the first one. Most veteran WoW players would agree that WoW's done nothing but get worse since Vanilla or TBC at the latest.

It's not a good track record for Blizzard in recent history, and their latest "milestone" has been one of their worst.

Re:Minimal growth prospects (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391513)

WoW was great when the dungeons were relevant. Getting the paladin's epic mount was a pain in the ass once TBC came out and no one ran the required dungeons any more. Had to buy runs and work my ass off but I finally earned it. Then they made it a summon spell so now you get the horse at level 40 for free and it's speed scales with your riding rank. This killed all enthusiasm I had for the game and canceled my subscription same day. Shit that I worked hard for and earned was now just being handed out for free. Instead of fixing the dungeons and giving high level people a reason to go there other than just to help low levels they removed all reason for anyone to ever go to said dungeons.

All the work you had to do [tacticalgamer.com]
And a retelling of the events [battle.net]

And now today you get effectively both the slow and fast mount for free and all you have to do is buy training. [wowwiki.com]

This is a good chunk of why WoW sucks today and why so many people leave with each patch.

"Blactivision" (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,5 days | (#44389969)

Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?)

Because it's fucking stupid. It's fupid.

Re:"Blactivision" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390047)

Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?)

Because it's fucking stupid. It's fupid.

Years from now we'll see:

fupid adjective , fupid, fupid-dest, fupider

adjective

  1. Being fucking stupid
  2. really dumb
  3. lacking in intelligence
  4. What the fuck are you thinking!

Re:"Blactivision" (3, Informative)

wbr1 (2538558) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390059)

I beg to differ, it is stucking. It may even be jacktarded.

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390069)

Blaxploitation video games would be huge. Think of "Theme from Shaft" going on in the background....

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390265)

I myself was always partial to "Activizzard".

To me it's always been Actiblizzard (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390361)

I thought previous Slashdot comments had settled on "Actiblizzard" or "Actiblizz" for short. In any case, I won't use a nickname that brings ethnic tension into a discussion where it doesn't belong, especially considering the stereotypes already present in the Warcraft universe [tvtropes.org] .

Re:"Blactivision" (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390449)

I think Actilizzard sounds better.

Re: "Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390787)

"Activizzard" is something a Sharknadoe would do! Or fight against?

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390353)

Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?)

Because it's fucking stupid. It's fupid.

True, but the concept of a Blizzard/Activision merger was fupid in the first place, so it sort of fits.

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390781)

I spent too long trying to work out what "Fits" was a portmanteu of...

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390891)

This is the parallel form of slupid, from slow and stupid.

Re:"Blactivision" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391479)

Sounds like a blaxploitation movie, like Blacula or Blackenstein (both real movies).

It's like the African American division of Blizzard. Blactivision. /shudder

There is fun in making Video Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389981)

No more and no less than any other job. Even clowns don't get to have fun all the time, comedy is serious business.

Re:There is fun in making Video Games? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390911)

Working in development/management/sales/etc, yeah.

But working in QA for a video game is a *lot* more interesting than working in QA for Microsoft Word, for instance.

Moniker catching on? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44389983)

'Blacktivision' sounds like a throwback reference to a racist mentality dating back centuries. Similar to how 'behind the eight-ball' and similar phrases have fallen out of favour. Get ready to downmod a hundred trolls.

As for Blizzard, perhaps if this works we can have a return to the heyday of RTS and WOW. Waitasec...

Re:Moniker catching on? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390281)

Yet, jerry-rigged is still somehow acceptable. I am not suggesting we should go back to using racist phrases, just we should abandon them equally.

Re:Moniker catching on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390339)

Wait, 'jerry-rigged' is racist? What a gyp!

Re:Moniker catching on? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390399)

Except that the expression is "jury-rigged", not jerry rigged, and therefore has nothing to do with race at all...

Re: Moniker catching on? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390553)

Neither is behind the eight ball racists. It's a pool reference. But people prefer to make up their own stories for things and then cop an attitude. So nothing new here.

Re:Moniker catching on? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390555)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jerry-rigged [merriam-webster.com]

Those are two different terms. Jury-rigged is nautical in origin. Jerry-rigged is a racist term first used in ww1 or ww2 by british soldiers. It started in ww1 as jerry-built.

Re:Moniker catching on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390785)

Are not most Germans and British people the same race?

Re:Moniker catching on? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391011)

Not if you ask them.
The older set might find that insulting and the younger would likely pretend to be offended for the humor value of it.

I am guessing you are not white, or are an american fi you are. For non-american whites and even in america in places with strong ethnic neighborhoods white is not a singular group. Where I live there are still polish, italian and irish neighborhoods. This means you will often hear the use of the words Polack, Wop, and Mick used in either a joking or serious manner.

Re:Moniker catching on? (2)

prattle (898688) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391061)

Jerry-rigged is a racist term first used in ww1 or ww2 by british soldiers. It started in ww1 as jerry-built.

This struck me as odd, seeing as the Brits seem to venerate German engineering, so I went digging. All the sites I read said that it pre-dates WW1 and has nothing to do with Germans.

Do you have a reference which says otherwise?

Re:Moniker catching on? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391147)

Upon doing more investigation it does appear the term predates what I had thought. I guess whoever taught me this gypped me.

Re:Moniker catching on? (1)

Deflagro (187160) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391285)

It's "jury-rigged" and is a nautical term based on Latin etymology. Jerry-build is the other one though.

The fuck did I just read? (3, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | 1 year,5 days | (#44389987)

That exceeded the standard threshold for painfully aspergian jokes and obnoxious editorializing in an article write-up.

You have one job, Unkown Lamer, one job!

different goals (2, Informative)

jsepeta (412566) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390013)

I thought his goal was to make games that weren't any fun to _play_. After a couple of hundred hours milling in WoW, I just gave up. Beautiful scenery, ok music, shitty combat system, horrible $160 annual fee for playing online plus $50 for new game options. No fucking thanks.

Re:different goals (5, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390135)

The two go hand in hand. I've worked in a couple game development houses, and found that the good games we released were all titles we had fun making. Of course, there were fun games to make that we were flops as well, but literally every game that wasn't fun to make, indeed, felt like work to make, felt like work to play.

A fun game will always be fun to make. If your dev teams ever, EVER reach the point of, "Fuck this shit, I hate my job, kill me now," I promise you the game will be utter garbage.

Re:different goals (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390805)

Game development is a creative art, as such the feelings of a game's creator(s) will bleed through into the game. Games happen to be in a unique position where the positive members of the team can make up for the negative members by checking their work or cheering them up. It's why any project I go into I try to be like a friend to my fellow developers, I'd rather let them vent their issues on me then do so in a project where multiple people are spending ridiculous amounts of time to produce.

A bit of change is needed (1, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390021)

Blizzard's WOW numbers are tanking hard, Diablo 3 preorders where through the roof, but most people abandoned it after playing it once. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm single player was pretty good, but perhaps a bit expensive for an expansion. They need to do something big if they want to stay relevant.

They need to take some risks.

Re:A bit of change is needed (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390157)

Were Diablo 3 preorders inflated by Blizzard giving away copies to longtime players of WoW? That's how I got mine.

Re:A bit of change is needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390693)

but you got it by being locked into a year of wow. Their perogative was to keep wow numbers inflated, and it worked, around 4-6 million subs locked in for 12 months.

Re:A bit of change is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390905)

The penalty for not remaining on wow for a year was so mild that I wouldn't exactly call it being "locked in".

Re:A bit of change is needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390375)

Surely you mean "Starcraft 2: Heart of the useless tutorial"? It's the most outrageous game design I've seen, nobody is going to be able to purchase this *expansion* alone, yet you are forced to waste countless levels on stupid "Hey, did you know that if you click here with your mouse your unit will actually move there" levels?. Or how about fucking retarded Sarah, queen of zergs, assassin of millions and unable to kill herself a single foe at the end, plus "fully converting into zerg"-yet-maintaining-useless-feelings-for-humans-who-detest-her. Yeah, really coherent storyline, a special ops who's done many missions in the past of infiltration and to confuse the enemy, hears through the radio "your love is dead" and suddenly believes it.

Plus the story destroyed every single hint of surprise and left no cliffhanger. There's nothing in the end which makes you want to buy the third expansion, unlike the first which left so many things open that you wanted to know more. Unless the cliffhanger is "how are they going to fuck it up next".

Fucking waste of money.

Re:A bit of change is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391211)

I thoroughly enjoyed heart of the swarm. But I played it through the first time on very hard and didn't find it too challenging. 30-40 hours total gameplay.

Well Then (5, Insightful)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390023)

I've been involved with Blizzard since the early days when they weren't so popular despite being so young. Before WoW, before Warcraft 3. I'm sure there were many people who can go back further, but ever since Starcraft, I've been more than a hardcore fan: I've been a modder. I've probably spent more time on b.net than a person does sleeping in the same time period.

It kills me to say this, but Blizzard took a turn for the worst ever since Activision acquired them. And oh yeah, that's the problem: Blizzard turns a profit and that's all they seem to care about these days: monetizing and milking the hell out of their franchises. At the expense of the games they're producing. It's a business strategy of money now and let's not worry about the later.

Well now later has come, and Diablo 3 is complete and utter crap, Starcraft 2 is borderline crap, WoW has turned into little more than a glorified cash cow, and their new big thing was a trading card game (whoo?). They were riding on their popularity and fan base, but now it's just... Ugh. They've shifted over the pro gaming scene, but us modders and level designers have been left in the dark (once again).

Not only is their EULA damn near totalitarian (they own everything you make with your editor, including characters, plots, etc... At least that's what it says), but the editor is a pile of crap that seems to have been coded by interns.

As for the actual game itself. Well, it's about three years old at this point and with a GTX Titan and a 4770K Haswell processor you'll still only be pulling around 30-40 FPS with max settings (1280x720, no AA/AS). That's freaking ridiculous and shows just how badly coded the game is.

I'm moving onto bigger and better things. This French company is quite smart to get rid of the sinking ship.

Re:Well Then (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390131)

I've been involved with Blizzard since the early days when they weren't so popular despite being so young.

Wow, so Slashdot has hipsters.

Or slipsters, as MojoKid might call them.

Re:Well Then (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390151)

Only 90's kids will understand.

Re:Well Then (4, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390357)

I've been involved with Blizzard since the early days when they weren't so popular despite being so young.

Wow, so Slashdot has hipsters.

Or slipsters, as MojoKid might call them.

Wannabe hipster. "Early days" is apparently:

Before WoW, before Warcraft 3.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but that really doesn't feel like that long ago to me.

Re:Well Then (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390179)

Exactly. Blizzard breaking free from Activision would be much more welcome news than Activision breaking free from Vivendi.

Re:Well Then (1)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391073)

If Blizzard were to seek independence from Activision then it would just become the vassal of Activision's liege.

Hasn't Crusader Kings 2 told you anything?

Re:Well Then (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390711)

yeah, because in the old days the games were really months late because they loved to make sure it was perfect. and not as a marketing stunt to hype the game for months

Re:Well Then (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391151)

But that's the industry standard back then. Limited resources and with a small team, you can only do so much. The technology can only do so much.

Now? Completely different story. Blizzard had the resources to do the game right, but they didn't. They could have implemented features that were standard for games five years ago, but they didn't. SC2 is a poorly designed game riding on the coattails of its predecessor (same design formula, just tweaked in BAD ways).

Well okay it wasn't all bad. There were some good additions. I particularly liked the Protoss Colossus and chrono boost was pretty cool. The Zerg got a bit weird, but I can't expect them to stay the same. Vikings were a cool addition too.

But even with some good stuff, the game is just being broken by a patchy framework. The engine is third rate, at best. Its computational speed is terrible for what it does (very little optimization). The actual game area is ill-conceived and resistant to adaptation. I, for the life of me (nor any of my modding friends), cannot figure out how to make something underground without some sort of gimmick (which I'm guessing is how they did it in the hype for level design). This comes with a myriad of other problems, like how regions can only be built out of squares, circles, or diamonds instead of being able to be defined parametrically (or in Cartesian terms, for all I care) -- this leaves a vast number of shapes (not to mention dynamics) completely out of the question. Triggers still run at 12 Hz (compared to the 11.9 Hz we could get them to run in SC1)...

And I could go on and on.

Re:Well Then (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390799)

SUPEROUMAN, is that you?

Re:Well Then (1)

cHiphead (17854) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390815)

Blackthorne got me started on Blizzard, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans got me stuck on Blizzard. Playing Warcraft 2 on Kali.net was the best gaming I ever experienced. I even had my animated gif filled Warcraft 2 strategy guide site published in one of those early internet yellow pages books, which seemed awesome at the time but is hilariously awkward in retrospect.

Battle.net was and still is annoying crap that really is just a way to chain you to them. I have never paid to play WoW and have passed on Diablo 3. Heart of the Swarm was a monumentally terrible story line that only worked to setup essentially the exact same outcome from Warcraft 3 with Chaos. Perhaps Starcraft 3 will be mixing SC and WC universes together. So far, SC is just a lazy reworking of WC with 'surprises' that tend to bewilder any expectations of competence.

Fortunately I'm older now and don't really give a shit, but it's my own children that are going to have to deal with this nonsense now.

Re:Well Then (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391257)

How can you call sc2 a crap? Any game I tried ever since looked just lame and could not play them for more then 5 minutes while constantly thinking I could be playing a game in sc2 instead.

Re:Well Then (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391267)

All true, except they started going downhill even before the merger. They did this to themselves. Activision may have accelerated it, but Blizzard certainly started their own downfall.

Since when is Vivendi the villain? (5, Interesting)

crashcy (2839507) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390027)

Call me when Blizzard breaks free of Kotick/Activision and actually starts making good games again.

Re:Since when is Vivendi the villain? (2)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390109)

*cough*Sierra*cough*

Re:Since when is Vivendi the villain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390559)

Since 2005, when they dropped support of the video game Tribes: Vengeance only 6 months after its release. Also, they blocked the release of a patch that had already been produced, which would have fixed many parts of the gameplay.

Oh yeah, and they held the license to the Tribes series for no reason for half a decade. Now someone competent has it and Tribes: Ascend is actually doing really well. Because the devs actually care about making a good game. Vivendi fails to realize that in order to make a lot of profit, you need good games.

That being said, I don't expect better from DeVry graduates.

Re:Since when is Vivendi the villain? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390797)

Funny you say that. Hi-Rez has recently dropped support for Tribes: Ascend, barely a year after it came out, in order to focus on their newer games.

Re:Since when is Vivendi the villain? (1)

crashcy (2839507) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391137)

Ok, suggesting Vivendi aren't villains was a mistake, but the headline beginning "Blizzard Breaks For Independence" gave me a brief moment of hope they were overthrowing the Evil Emperor Kotick. When Blizzard and Activision separate, then there will be cause for celebration.

Haters gonna hate (2)

smartr (1035324) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390075)

Yikes, what did Activision Blizzard ever do to the OP? In breaking from the mega-corporate-ownership chain going from something like GE-???-Vivendi-Activision, Activision is now its own independent megacorporation not owned by a debt ridden parent that was demanding massive dividends to support its drug addiction. http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/25/activision-buys-back-majority-stake-from-vivendi-for-5-83-billion/ [venturebeat.com] This is good news... If all posts were this venomous, all PS3 / XBONE / WiiU posts would sound like an expletive filled angry drunk rant by a person with turrets syndrome.

Re:Haters gonna hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390365)

What is turrets syndrome, and can it be aquired by playing too many tower defense games?

Re:Haters gonna hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391053)

What is turrets syndrome, and can it be aquired by playing too many tower defense games?

No it's a side effect of playing Portal 1/2. Sufferers begin to experience strange feelings of empathy and positivity for the turrets even though they're actively trying to kill you, probably due to their adorable personalities. Extreme sufferers begin to exemplify Rule 34.

Do or die, Activision (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390101)

I think that the move to buyout the company also has do with Vivendi trying to force Activision to issue a $3 Billion dividend. Vivendi is a majority owner of Activision. Vivendi will get $2 Billion out of the deal, and if it works well enough, may force additional dividends in the future until Activision is rung dry and some or all of Vivendi's enormous debt is paid down. The buyout is a matter of survival for Activision.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/22/vivendi-activision-idUSL6N0FS0OQ20130722

Iis this a trend (1)

anchor_tag (2971059) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390175)

towards private companies that are not publicly traded? Also how much of the "rent seeking" actions of Blizzard in the last 8 or 10 years is due to them being public or owned by a larger firm?

Why we don't use "Blactivision"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390287)

[...] Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?) [...]

Since CEO Bobby Kotick has made "comments regarding exploiting game franchises", perhaps people are worried about "Blactivisionsploitation".

If Barrack Obama ran a game company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390843)

If Barrack Obama ran a game company... It would be called "Blactivision".

If Al Sharpton ran a game company... it would be called "Blactivisionsploitation".

Re:Why we don't use "Blactivision"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390883)

I think you should be more worried about puppies turning into bombs!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuHqUpleIfA [youtube.com]

Good news.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390295)

This is good news, however may not end up being good.

Fact of the matter is, WOW started to go downhill after Activision bought Blizzard. Burning Crusades was an amazing expansion. Every expansion after BC has sucked because Activision\Vivendi screwed it up by fucking up the dev team that came out with BC.

Mists of Pandaria is such a failure it is sickening. Why? because the current dev leads are clueless.

Re:Good news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390861)

Blizzard as a whole would be a greatly improved company if they'd invest in good technology and programming, ditch the vomit-inducing Warcraft 3 art style instead of exporting facets of it into franchises where it doesn't belong, and hire competent writers instead of having Metzen tell the same awful story over and over again.

They've sucked for a long time. I get that they command a lot of customer loyalty but it's hard to deny that hope was fading even before Burning Crusade. My expectations for Diablo 3 were extremely low given how the company started to operate after World of Warcraft debuted, and even then I was disappointed. Starcraft 2 is only okay, and hugely overpriced. When total nobodies working on a by-comparison shoestring budget can push out much better visuals and overall performance in Path of Exile than an established and massively profitable company like Blizzard can in Diablo 3, there's a serious problem. (Starcraft 2 isn't exempt either. Its visuals looked dated at launch while its performance left a lot to be desired. Duplo marines, assemble!) When those kinds of resources can only seem to produce poor technology that's a major indicator that the company is losing its competitive edge. Meanwhile the constant recycling of themes, stories, and visual styles is the creative equivalent of Blizzard crapping where it eats. This is made worse by the fact that they seem to be selectively recycling the worst of what they make.

I get a bit nostalgic when I see a company like this pass its prime, even if I was never really that attached. Blizzard is way over the hill and with Kotick at the wheel, Activision will be picking their bones soon enough.

Re:Good news.... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391203)

The last expansion I played was BC, and it definitely had it's high points, but it also had it's low points, like the insane attunements to get into places like Tempest Keep, Hyjal and Black Temple. And worse than that, they nerfed all the requirements as they went along, so the ridiculous amount of work that I needed to get my guild through in order to even attempt the bosses all went to waste. Needless to say, I was less than pleased with that development. I can understand a barrier to entry to make hardcore guilds feel like they could do something better than everyone else, but the rewards were not there, and the actual challenges were actually more tedious and organizational than anything else.

There are people who I know who are still playing who indicate that the game has improved for the less "hardcore" player, and even hardcore players are benefiting from some of the changes. It is my perspective that WoW has evolved well, considering their audience, but has definitely started to fade out. Which is not all that surprising given how long it has been on top. I'm sort of waiting to see if MMOs themselves take a dive after WoW or if someone will come up with a new MMO that can pick up where WoW will eventually leave off.

Personally, I stopped playing MMOs as soon as my work responsibilities caused me to have not as much time to be anything more than casual, but I still love the idea of adventuring in a huge world, and I'd love some way to still be able to experience that without the usual MMO grind.

Activision's fault or Blizzard's own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390505)

A lot act like Blizzard was all good and then Activision came and corrupted it.
And that they are old time Blizzard gamers/modders/whatevers from the old age before the corruption came, and they know, if Blizzard is independent again, they will rise again.

Well, the world did not start on your birth date you know. Before then there was a time when Activision was a lot of good, a time when old timers (as in, older than you) played Pitfall and H.E.R.O and you name it from that great company.

Face it, maybe the decline you people feel Blizzard is showing comes from the inside, just like it did with Activision in earlier times. I do not see Blizzard going back to the good old times. As usual, someone new will rise and take the spotlight (and maybe they have already started).

Re:Activision's fault or Blizzard's own? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391261)

Blizz could turn it around, but you are right, they've accumulated corporate garbage in their structure and that is like the stuff that accumulates in the brain when someone develops Alzheimer's. It's hard to get rid of, and even if you still have the same abilities at the outset, it is eventually going to destroy you despite being a genius.

Best thing that could happen is that their creative team hooks up with a leaner business team and drops out of Blizzard. One should keep an eye on the people and the structure, and less on a name. Blizzard as a brand is just that, a name. With effort, they could get back the same creativity they had before, but then some of the top creative people would have to stop collecting their fat paychecks as big company execs and get back to making games.

with wow on the decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390533)

as is other sub-based games...

now is surely a great time to overpay for the company... ?!?!

casual games are in.. the pc-based mmo's are a dying breed.. they will continue to exist but not near the scale they once did.

be very smart for the parent company to sell it now... ;p but are they smart enough to do it?

Does Icahn know about the buyout? (1)

asticia (1623063) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390573)

Does Icahn know about the buyout already?

Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44390647)

Since this wasn't Blizzard breaking free of their bonds like I originally thought, there was an analogy I was looking for here.

I consider this similar to when a Sith Apprentice has to kill his Master in order to become one himself. There's no real good here.

And [not] free it from the clutches of Vivendi (3, Informative)

kiehlster (844523) | 1 year,5 days | (#44390835)

Apparently we're getting the TL;DR of the TL;DR. The real truth is this:

Following the close of these two transactions, Vivendi will retain about 12% of Activision Blizzard and will no longer be the majority shareholder. [http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2013/07/26/activision-buys-majority-vivendi-stock/2588675/]

This is only a partial buy-out. While they would lose the majority reign over A/B, they'd still have a 12% say in everything they do.

Three billion dollars cash on hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44391009)

If that isn't a sign of the "greatest recession of all time" I don't know what is. A video game company with three billion dollars of cash on hand has got to be the best joke I've heard all day.

I will never forgive them for what they have done (1, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | 1 year,5 days | (#44391251)

This is the same mob who killed Sierra. And they nearly killed Ghostbusters: The Video Game. And not forgetting the bnetd lawsuits.

I refuse to purchase any of their product (not that it matters, all the games they make are crap anyway)

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