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Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard. Woah. .


MidWalian
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40 minutes ago, Gotters said:

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. 

Looking at how integrated EA is into GamePass at the moment I expect it will be MS making a play for EA not Sony. If Sony did try and take EA over you can be sure that MS would put a counter offer in pretty damn quick. End up in a bidding war and well we all know where that will end! 

 

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1 minute ago, MattyP said:

Looking at how integrated EA is into GamePass at the moment I expect it will be MS making a play for EA not Sony. If Sony did try and take EA over you can be sure that MS would put a counter offer in pretty damn quick. End up in a bidding war and well we all know where that will end! :) 

 

 

Only issue with that would be regulators already possibly sniffing round the MS takeover of Activision, chuck EA into the mix too and that would be increasingly unlikely to get the OK.

 

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5 minutes ago, Purin said:

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.

That’s a bit of a shame because it’s an absolutely excellent campaign regardless of the issues 343 had. It’s the best Halo we’ve had for a long time.

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21 minutes ago, Purin said:

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.


Big Team Battle which is a core mode (please note my post said 'a' core mode not 'the') of an already fairly barebones MP side (which I did specify in my post) has been broken - as in most people can't even access a game of it - for longer than it actually worked. It worked from release on 15th November to 7th December (22 days), it broke on 8th December, so has now been broken for 44 days and counting. They released a patch to fix it on Tuesday and to their surprise it did squat and their communications indicate they have no idea why. Meanwhile, they don't even do simple short-term fixes like just switching off big team battle challenges which people can't use. Which, given that they're actively selling challenge swaps for real money feels pretty slimy.

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1 hour ago, Unofficial Who said:

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.

I wouldn't worry about this bit too much. Actually managing to consolidate admin at this level either takes a very long time to happen, or they don't ever get around to it (in my experience anyway). 

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1 hour ago, MikeBeaver said:

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?

Seems an unreasonable assessment to me. I never played WOW but the other two obviously had numerous reasons for not continuing to rule the gaming roost, with Tony Hawk  extreme sports do not carry the same cache they did in the 90s/2000s, Tony Hawk is still the go to name in skateboarding because nobody else has challenged his brand. There aren't new skaters capturing peoples imagination in the way Tony Hawk did back then. I'm not sure there's any indication Skateboarding will be as popular ever again  or at least in the same way, at the time skate culture was really interesting to the mainstream, that's just not the case now.  I don't think that Activision could reasonably be expected to make Tony Hawk games giant successes in isolation, when measured against other games in the series which benefitted from the cultural force propelling it along.

 

Same with guitar hero, very zeitgeisty, and again something that benefitted from the draw of what are now old men who largely have not been replaced by younger people with the same celebrity draw.  Once they'd signed up the biggest bands and players that had ever existed, it must have been hard to find a new way to continue to generate excitement and offer new things to players. Once you've already licensed Metallica, The Beatles went with the competition and signed up the biggest names  what then? You can't keep getting people excited about songs when you've already signed the most popular rock songs of all time. I think it's telling that Harmonix haven't managed to make a continuing success of this genre either- same with skateboarding and EAs Skate. 

 

So I don't think those are good examples for an argument that Activision can't maintain IP. There probably are some better ones at least.

 

 

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7 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.


This is a really good post, especially the point about vision - I was interested to see how over the course of this generation how could Microsoft uplift those smaller developers they bought and provide Bethesda the security to build a really coherent first party that had its own distinct flavour. Something that would challenge Nintendo and Sony with a true Microsoft vision of what constitutes quality and ambition in games. 
 

The Acti takeover makes me feel like there is no vision at play other than brute force domination through hoarding of IP. It’s $71 billion that could have been used to build an Elder Scrolls game the size of a country, or an Obsidian game with a bajillion branching storylines or god forbid, a Halo game better than Halo 3. 


I just think that the biggest single investment in videogames (by a mile) should carry some promise of a quantum leap forward in the kind of experiences it could bring, beyond some games being added to a subscription service at the expense of a competitor. 
 

 

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13 minutes ago, Wahwah* said:

Seems an unreasonable assessment to me. I never played WOW but the other two obviously had numerous reasons for not continuing to rule the gaming roost, with Tony Hawk  extreme sports do not carry the same cache they did in the 90s/2000s, Tony Hawk is still the go to name in skateboarding because nobody else has challenged his brand. There aren't new skaters capturing peoples imagination in the way Tony Hawk did back then. I'm not sure there's any indication Skateboarding will be as popular ever again  or at least in the same way, at the time skate culture was really interesting to the mainstream, that's just not the case now.  I don't think that Activision could reasonably be expected to make Tony Hawk games giant successes in isolation, when measured against other games in the series which benefitted from the cultural force propelling it along.

 

Same with guitar hero, very zeitgeisty, and again something that benefitted from the draw of what are now old men who largely have not been replaced by younger people with the same celebrity draw.  Once they'd signed up the biggest bands and players that had ever existed, it must have been hard to find a new way to continue to generate excitement and offer new things to players. Once you've already licensed Metallica, The Beatles went with the competition and signed up the biggest names  what then? You can't keep getting people excited about songs when you've already signed the most popular rock songs of all time. I think it's telling that Harmonix haven't managed to make a continuing success of this genre either- same with skateboarding and EAs Skate. 

 

So I don't think those are good examples for an argument that Activision can't maintain IP. There probably are some better ones at least.

 

 

That's a missquote, I'd quoted smoeone else....

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Honestly, I think MS looked at Activision and had a choice to make - they either said they could no longer work with them and cut them loose (handing the content to Sony basically), or they came up with a response/plan to fix the culture there so that it didn't become an issue for them (when they are clearly trying to build good will this gen). They chose the later - and they felt like the best way to really fix the culture and control that process to their satisfaction was to own them.

 

When Spencer talked about having to change the way they worked with Activision, I really do believe they were at a point where it was either all-in, or all-out. And while $70b is a lot, if they'd instead announced it was going the other way (and CoD would only be on Playstation from now on pretty much by default for at least a good few years until somebody else found a way to kick Kotick out and fix the rotten mess) I suspect the impact on their business would have been significantly more profound.

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32 minutes ago, JPL said:

That’s a bit of a shame because it’s an absolutely excellent campaign regardless of the issues 343 had. It’s the best Halo we’ve had for a long time.

 

I'll give it a go when I pick up another Series S in a year or two.

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2 minutes ago, rgraves said:

Honestly, I think MS looked at Activision and had a choice to make - they either said they could no longer work with them and cut them loose (handing the content to Sony basically), or they came up with a way to fix the culture there so that it didn't become an issue for them when they are clearly trying to build good will. They choose the later - and they felt like the bet way to really fix the cutlure and control that process was to own them.

 

When Spencer talked about having to change the way they worked with Activision, I really do believe they were at a point where it was either all-in, or all-out. And while $70b is a lot, if they'd instead announced it was going the other way (and CoD would only be on Playstation from now on) I suspect the impact on their business would have been significantly more profound.


Lol, this is about money, that’s all and to be honest the amounts are obscene.

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7 hours ago, HarMGM said:

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.

 

This is an interesting viewpoint: Returnal being an IP that was owned by Housemarque for a start, before they were bought out; Demon Souls being a point-by-point remake; their most popular game in the last two years being Miles Morales - based on someone else's IP; "will probably try and do that with with one its older series on the PS5 as well" doing a lot of work (perhaps Driveclub?!). 🙂

 

While simultaneously ignoring the likes of Ori from the previous generation, or in the last couple of years the reinvention/modernisation of the Flight Simulator IP, the work that's gone into the Age of Empires franchise - including a new game as well as a set of Definitive Editions, the fact they're building a Fable game, the bit where Forza Horizon was supported from a relatively niche game at the end of the 360 era to a full on console pillar with far more players than GT... etc.

 

Banjo is dead. Live with it.

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5 minutes ago, scoobysi said:

Lol, this is about money, that’s all and to be honest the amounts are obscene.

 

Well, we'll see - but I think only a fool would bet on Kotick still being part of this within 12 months of the deal going through. It's about Activision being a mess and toxic, but also holding one of the the single most valuable IPs in the industry at the same time.

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8 minutes ago, scoobysi said:


Lol, this is about money, that’s all and to be honest the amounts are obscene.

 

Well yeah, the point is they either cut ties with them (and lose that income) or do something about it (and retain that income).

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I highly doubt the purchase had anything to do with wanting to save the poor employees. The Activision-Blizzard stuff going public put the company in a position where they became a viable purchase because their share price plummeted and they started actively looking for buyers. Reports say that Kotick initially didn’t want to sell but the board overruled him. Before MS stepped in, they were actively trying to convince Facebook/Meta to buy them.

 

As for the argumentit was either buy them or stop working with them full stop because giant megacorps are just that principled. MS just announced a new deal with Ubisoft who are just as bad as Activision. I fully expect Quantic Dream's Star Wars game to appear on Xbox and not be blocked by them. I think Riot have stuff on the Xbox store don't they? Nadya Satella put out a gushing statement about what a great guy Bobby 'threatened to have a female employee murdered' Kotick is. I think Kotick will go when the deal is done and have no doubt that MS buying Activision will be a positive in terms of fixing the horrific culture there, but it’s a byproduct. I'd say MS is probably about one of the best of these megacorps at the moment, they've improved their own awful internal culture a lot, especially when they're up against the likes of Google, Amazon and the cartoonishly evil Facebook. But none of these companies are these nice cuddly good guys that some people seem to portray them as in the tribal world of video games.

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20 minutes ago, footle said:

 

This is an interesting viewpoint: Returnal being an IP that was owned by Housemarque for a start, before they were bought out; Demon Souls being a point-by-point remake; their most popular game in the last two years being Miles Morales - based on someone else's IP; "will probably try and do that with with one its older series on the PS5 as well" doing a lot of work (perhaps Driveclub?!). 🙂

 

While simultaneously ignoring the likes of Ori from the previous generation, or in the last couple of years the reinvention/modernisation of the Flight Simulator IP, the work that's gone into the Age of Empires franchise - including a new game as well as a set of Definitive Editions, the fact they're building a Fable game, the bit where Forza Horizon was supported from a relatively niche game at the end of the 360 era to a full on console pillar with far more players than GT... etc.

 

Banjo is dead. Live with it.

Tbf Housemarque were synonymous with PlayStation before the buyout, and Returnal is an excellent example of a more riskier release, certainly at £70 :unsure:

 

It’s also better than anything else released so far this gen. 

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9 minutes ago, BongoInferno said:

In principle, would Microsoft be able to sell a monthly 'Gamepass Lite' subscription service on Playstation with multiplats from Bethesda and ActivisionBlizzard (not Xbox exclusives) if they wanted to?

 

I can see them saying to Sony that if they want Call of Duty / other Activision / Blizzard / Bethesda etc titles on Playstation that is fine, but you also need to accept us having Xbox Game Pass All Access™ on your console so Playstation users also have the option of playing it on Playstation via subscription.

 

Something along those lines.

 

Basically I can see Microsoft agreeing to sell the titles on Platforms that also host Game Pass subscriptions.

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15 minutes ago, Harsin said:

I highly doubt the purchase had anything to do with wanting to save the poor employees. The Activision-Blizzard stuff going public put the company in a position where they became a viable purchase because their share price plummeted and they started actively looking for buyers. Reports say that Kotick initially didn’t want to sell but the board overruled him. Before MS stepped in, they were actively trying to convince Facebook/Meta to buy them.

 

As for the argumentit was either buy them or stop working with them full stop because giant megacorps are just that principled. MS just announced a new deal with Ubisoft who are just as bad as Activision. I fully expect Quantic Dream's Star Wars game to appear on Xbox and not be blocked by them I thin’ Riot have stuff on the Cbox store don't they? Nadya Satella is put out a gushing statement about what a great guy Bobby 'threatened to have a female employee murdered' Kotick is. I think Kotick will go when the deal is done and have no doubt that MS buying Activision will be a positive in terms of fixing the horrific culture there, but it’s a byproduct. I'd say MS is probably about one of the best of these megacorps at the moment, they've improved their own awful internal culture a lot, especially when they're up against the likes of Google, Amazon and the cartoonishly evil Facebook. But none of these companies are these nice cuddly good guys that some people seem to portray them as in the tribal world of video games.


I’d suggest Apple is the best behaved of the mega corps.

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9 minutes ago, Simmy said:

 

I can see them saying to Sony that if they want Call of Duty / other Activision / Blizzard / Bethesda etc titles on Playstation that is fine, but you also need to accept us having Xbox Game Pass All Access™ on your console so Playstation users also have the option of playing it on Playstation via subscription.

 

Something along those lines.

 

Basically I can see Microsoft agreeing to sell the titles on Platforms that also host Game Pass subscriptions.


In that scenario, players would have a choice of paying £60/70 quid to play the game on PlayStation or playing it on PlayStation anyway with whatever they're already paying for GamePass, not to mention all the other third-party games and indie stuff people would no longer bother buying off their store as they can just boot up the PS GamePass App and play it there instead. Yeah, that sounds like the kind of deal some stranger offers you when you're on the way to market with your best milking cow, I can't see Sony going for that. Not to mention they already have their own GamePass competitor (admittedly half-arsed right now)  which they're about to relaunch. (although it’s hard to see how it can meaningfully compete with GP unless they put their exclusives on there day one).

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