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Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard. Woah. .


MidWalian
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46 minutes ago, donkeyk said:

 

Or drop the over-arching Activision brand name altogether, and just run with the individual studio names - Infinity Ward, Treyarch, et al.

 

Could potentially do similar with Blizzard, if they're really keen to eradicate the more toxic brand names from existence.

 

Blizzard had a legacy of more than just toxicity.  They should just bloody well sort it out and make it the studio(s) players and staff expect it to be, and thought it was.

 

Activision doesn't have any positive sentiment or real meaning to players does it?  Might as well nuke that.  Not least, if you are Infinity Ward, Treyarch, et al, why would you want to be lumped in the Activision shit bucket on Game Pass?  Have a COD section and let those studios run free of it's shackles.

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9 minutes ago, monkeydog said:

 

Blizzard had a legacy of more than just toxicity.  They should just bloody well sort it out and make it the studio(s) players and staff expect it to be, and thought it was.

 

 

Well quite - getting rid of the name is purely a PR exercise, and perhaps the Blizzard brand has not suffered in the same way as Activision has - toxicity in the workplace aside, Blizzard probably has a reputation for quality output and Activision....doesn't. One might be worth saving and the other not.

 

Obviously a rebranding exercise would not absolve MS's responsibility to address the actual issues at hand in these workplaces - but they might deem it still worthwhile to draw a line in the sand. Symbolically, at least.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Uncle Mike said:

They've been really clear that the majority of the Zenimax stuff is exclusive already, I don't think there's any reason to expect anything from them to be multi-plat. And, once any contracts Sony may have on eg COD expire, I don't imagine their strategy is to keep putting those out on PlayStation either. They did the same nod and wink prior to the deal closing last time, too. Anything in development or legally committed to will release as planned, anything new - no chance.


I dunno about Warzone. It’s huge. In the same way it doesn’t make sense to make Minecraft exclusive, I don’t think it makes sense to make Warzone exclusive, either. 
 

I could well be wrong though, obviously. 

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3 minutes ago, monkeydog said:

 

According to the Epic lawsuit they've been trying to get Game Pass on PlayStation (and Switch) for the last couple of years.  They certainly have more leverage now.


not that this would happen but how do you see that working, are we just talking about a streaming client? Would MS give Sony 30% of GP revenues?

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It doesn't really make sense thinking about it. If they put Gamepass on PlayStation, then there'd be no reason to own an Xbox, as you'd have the best of everything in one place on PlayStation. Unless they're wanting to get out of the console business, but that'd be a proper shame as they're easily the best (to me) on that front these days. I'd personally rather have an Xbox that has access the Playstation library rather than the other way around.

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22 minutes ago, Giddas said:

 

 

"All existing agreements"

 

So the same deal as what's happening with Bethesda. (Like the Deathloop deal)

 

The only thing that might stay on PlayStation is Warzone. And even that's a push. 

 

New CoD will appear in PS this year and then be fully exclusive from 2023. 

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5 minutes ago, Giddas said:


not that this would happen but how do you see that working, are we just talking about a streaming client? Would MS give Sony 30% of GP revenues?

 

Streaming would certainly be the easiest way.  That doesn't necessarily satisfy the needs of Codders* though.

 

* I assume that's what fans of the shootymans games are called?

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15 minutes ago, Ry said:

 

"All existing agreements"

 

So the same deal as what's happening with Bethesda. (Like the Deathloop deal)

 

The only thing that might stay on PlayStation is Warzone. And even that's a push. 

 

New CoD will appear in PS this year and then be fully exclusive from 2023. 


Yep. We’ve been through all this before.

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Ha! I'll probably be mauled for that post come tomorrow morning. So i'll do some preemptive backpeddling.:P

 

Microsoft's traditional strength in gaming has always come from it's fantastic service angle. Xbox Live was and is a fantastic way to play games online. They got that right decades ago. Game Pass is, again, a strong service. It has made many a gamer an outright evangelist for Xbox, Microsoft and the Game Pass model in particular.

 

But that doesn't change the fact that neither Microsoft nor Activision Blizzard have been great at managing their IP's throughout the last few decades. 

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21 minutes ago, Doctor Shark said:

World of Warcraft is still the biggest mmo, yes. Mmos in general aren’t as healthy as they once were, it’s true, but wow is still the biggest. 

 

It's been bleeding users to FF14, it will be interesting to see if this stems the bleeding. (My wife and her friends cited the continuing shit at Actiblizzard as the major reason they switched.)

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So one scenario posited on the Jimquisition podcast which was interesting was that if Microsoft made a few more acquisitions then it might be possible that Sony would have no where left to turn and might end up making the extreme move of...selling SIE to Microsoft.

 

To an extent IF (big underlined "if" here) I could see MS going for it. This generation as of early 2022 Sony still has a larger install base than Microsoft and the differences between the two machines are so little for multiformat games at least that it would be preferable for Sony users in that case to stay with the PS5 and be subbed to GamePass. It's cheaper for them in the short term (every X-Box MS is selling is I assume at a loss and we've already established that Microsoft is quite fine and is in fact more happy when users are accessing GamePass through machines that they don't have to sell or deal with warranties or parts etc.)

 

Of course were that to look like happening then anti-monopoly watchdogs would be very involved and who's to say GamePass wouldn't immediately be dropped for a much worse deal without the competition?

 

5 hours ago, HarMGM said:

Reading a bit around a few places and to me it seems people are being a bit too optimistic with how well this is going to shake out for Microsoft, or Activision Blizzard for that matter.

 

At least, there seems to be an underlying assumption here that this will naturally turn out well for both players. Considering both Microsoft's and ActiBliz's history with keeping their IP's healthy, that's a pretty big assumption to make.

 

I'm reminded of what Iwata once said about a company just being a shell and its employees are what makes it really tick or something to that effect. You can have all the IP in the world and all the money in the universe. If you don't have the talent to make new entries in popular series, you're nothing. And if there's one thing all these buyout's cannot do, it's that they can't prevent talent from quitting and moving to other companies.

 

 

You raise some excellent points and I'd counter with the talent Microsoft appears to have drawn under the stewardship of Phil Spencer. This is a very different Microsoft to the Microsoft last gen under Don Mattrick just as the current Sony is a very different Sony to the company that released the PS4.

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Last post for a bit (I wanted to split these three out) there is a big downside to the sale in regards to staff. With the buyout this means that while things for developers, programmers and other front line staff might improve this is going to be awful for many back office staff. One could make a case that we shouldn't sympathise with Actiblizzard's HR department but leaving them aside there's going to be a lot of accountants, clerks, marketing people and other back room people who will likely be let go as it's unlikely that MS will want to duplicate admin functions within the organisation. I don't envy them finding another job in this environment, especially with Actiblizzard being the last thing on their resume.

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5 hours ago, HarMGM said:

Reading a bit around a few places and to me it seems people are being a bit too optimistic with how well this is going to shake out for Microsoft, or Activision Blizzard for that matter.

 

At least, there seems to be an underlying assumption here that this will naturally turn out well for both players. Considering both Microsoft's and ActiBliz's history with keeping their IP's healthy, that's a pretty big assumption to make.

 

I'm reminded of what Iwata once said about a company just being a shell and its employees are what makes it really tick or something to that effect. You can have all the IP in the world and all the money in the universe. If you don't have the talent to make new entries in popular series, you're nothing. And if there's one thing all these buyout's cannot do, it's that they can't prevent talent from quitting and moving to other companies.

 

World of Warcraft was once the biggest MMO, is it still today?

Tony Hawk was once the biggest Extreme Sports IP, is it still today?

Guitar Hero was once the biggest casual hit, is it still today?

 

Talent is what makes this tick. Talent and vision of what to do with a certain IP. Microsoft has shown it has very little vision of what it wants to do with the (already sizeable amount of) IP it owns. With Nintendo and Sony, we've seen two companies that continually strive to keep various IP's alive or to bring them back from the dead in new and interesting ways. Sony succesfully reïnvented God of War just a few years ago and will probably try and do that with one of its older series on the PS5 as well. It brought back Demon Souls with a very succesfull remake. And they keep adding new and interesting IP's with every new generation like with Returnal. Same thing goes for Nintendo(mostly).

 

Microsoft however, seems to have very little vision for what it wants with Banjo Kazooie, outside of NSO and Smash Bros. It seems to have very little vision of what to do with Fable with Lionhead gone. It seems to have very little vision for countless of other IP's that it already owns but has no corporate interest in reviving. A great deal of how Microsoft seems to approach these buyouts is that they buy a succesfull developer and they want them to keep doing what they're doing. But once things go belly up, they don't know what to do, restructure the company and in the process lose whatever corporate culture the company had that made them so succesfull in the first place.

 

Microsoft is not Disney, a company that has been in and known entertainment for literally a century. A company that well versed in entertainment becoming a streaming giant will be very dangerous indeed. Microsoft is not that company however. In fact, every time Microsoft has thought of itself of becoming an entertainment giant, it always ends in disaster as has been shown throughtout their history both before and during their run with Xbox on the market.

 

 

OK.... no.

Leaving everything else aside, Microsoft are making use ( eventually ) of that IP, Fable is being made by Playground, the people who turned Forza into Fun, Killer Instinct was brought in from the cold at the start of the X1's life, we got 3 seasons and it's very good.

Battletoads came out last year... it's not very good, but they brought it out anyway, can't all be hits 😛

Perfect Dark is also in production, oh , and there was Rare Replay ;) 

 

M$ are using the IP, it's just they have soooooo much of it now, they can get round to using more of it, but time is not a resource we can speed up or slow down, you just have to wait and see what happens .

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Wonder how 343 Industries feel. Between this purchase and Bethesda, MS will be absolutely overwashed with experienced quality FPS dev teams. They were a flagship studio, but now they're the team who took 6 years to get 1/3 of a game out with no meaningful new content to arrive until May at the earliest and an MP game where a core mode has been broken four for two months now and they seemingly have no idea how to fix it. Not saying anything silly like MS are going to dump Halo or shutter the studio. But they're an absolutely massive studio, with a questionable ROI on their size and budget and a spotty, at best track, record, now paddling in a sea of teams brutally efficient at pumping out high selling games with regular content updates on a regular basis. You have to imagine that some staff there have to be nervous.

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17 minutes ago, Harsin said:

Wonder how 343 feel, MS is absolutely overwashed with experienced quality FPS dev teams at this point. They were a flagship studio, but now they're the team who took 6 years to get 1/3 of a game out with a pin MP game where a core mode has been broken four for two months now and they seemingly have no idea how to fix it. Not saying anything silly like MS are going to dump Halo or shutter the studio. But they're an absolutely massive studio with a spotty, at best record, now paddling in a sea of teams brutally efficient at pumping out high selling games on a regular basis. You have to imagine that some staff there have to be nervous.

 

There's plenty of talent at 343i.  Aside from senior management changing direction on Halo and legacy engine issues, one large issue impacting the studio has been the use of contractors.  MS policy limits the time they can spend, so they've had constant staff turnover. If anything, they'll be a lot internal opportunities for consistent ongoing support. 

 

Although judging from some tweets from COD developers, they're more keen to work on Doom and Quake...

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Lots of coverage of this in the FT as to be expected. 

 

I wasn't aware of Kotick's full history, and even a connection to Steve Jobs when he was starting out.

 

Also pure speculation as to whether Sony could be forced into making a play for EA now, which would really stretch them as they don't have the deep pockets of the huge tech behemoths but would give them that content but also a seat at the multi platform negotiating table. 

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7 hours ago, HarMGM said:

With Nintendo and Sony, we've seen two companies that continually strive to keep various IP's alive or to bring them back from the dead in new and interesting ways. Sony succesfully reïnvented God of War just a few years ago and will probably try and do that with one of its older series on the PS5 as well. It brought back Demon Souls with a very succesfull remake.

 

Microsoft however, seems to have very little vision for what it wants with Banjo Kazooie, outside of NSO and Smash Bros. It seems to have very little vision of what to do with Fable with Lionhead gone. It seems to have very little vision for countless of other IP's that it already owns but has no corporate interest in reviving.

 

I think there is a grain of truth in your post HarMGM, but kind of undermined by the only standard you set for a "good" entertainment company is whether they do enough nostalgia pandering.

 

I don't think that's what makes a good entertainment company, and personally I think it's great that Rare, for instance, have no interest in being a nostalgia factory, are vocal about wanting to make new games and are supported in doing so, no matter how much it makes the 40 year olds on here whine endlessly about wanting a new Banjo Kazooie.

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55 minutes ago, Harsin said:

Wonder how 343 Industries feel. Between this purchase and Bethesda, MS will be absolutely overwashed with experienced quality FPS dev teams. They were a flagship studio, but now they're the team who took 6 years to get 1/3 of a game out with no meaningful new content to arrive until May at the earliest and an MP game where a core mode has been broken four for two months now and they seemingly have no idea how to fix it. Not saying anything silly like MS are going to dump Halo or shutter the studio. But they're an absolutely massive studio, with a questionable ROI on their size and budget and a spotty, at best track, record, now paddling in a sea of teams brutally efficient at pumping out high selling games with regular content updates on a regular basis. You have to imagine that some staff there have to be nervous.

How's the 'core mode' broken?

 

The fact it was 1/3 finished was a major reason I sold my Xbox and switched to Sony.

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