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4-12-2009 @ 5:20PM
My comments, as it relates to Activison -Blizzard:The company I currently work for (9 years and counting) produces a product that is used mostly in healthcare, but it requires our software to make it work. Which makes our stuff OEM, I guess. Anyway, we have our own crew of software guys, and engineers, and quality control people, and of course big heads who make all the decisions.Years ago, when I hired in, we were self-owned. And as the story goes, along came a spider and sat down beside her... Now we're owned by a very large corporation. In the beginning, they minded their own business (mostly) as we were the sacred cow. All their other prospects were not faring as well profit-margin wise. Thus, we propped up the ledger sheet that the stock-holders saw.As you may be guessing by now, a time came when in order to keep the non-profitable ventures alive, someone had to provide the fluidity needed to float them. Can you guess who that was? Why, the sacred cow of course. Keep in mind, this wasn't an overnight thing. Slowly, over a period of 3-4 years, the big, BIG people began making decisions for the not-quite-as-big people. A cut here, a "money-saving modification" there. And PRESTO! customers are suddenly complaining that service and quality is off.Looking back on it, I realize the bigheads had a plan going back all the way to the start. They changed a culture, one little piece at a time. Fire this guy, force that guy out, do away with this job title (essentially firing someone). Point is, its too early to say Activision is letting Blizz do its thing. I've noticed some change at the top of Blizz lately. Coincidence? Probably. They'd never admit it, as its not professional to badmouth former employers in the media ( as well as making it hard to find new employment opportunities).Maybe Blizz will remain the sacred cow. My guess is: probably not.
4-12-2009 @ 5:59PM
That's how it happens! Happened to me at the last two companies I worked for. Small start up gets noticed, gets bought promising no change in company culture and the people that made the small start up what it was eventually leave as the corporate overlords bear down. Bad things start rolling downhill at that point...
4-12-2009 @ 6:15PM
I find many points in here to be very agreeable. The company I work for (what was Cingular) has taught me something important about business and mergers. Subtle decisions are for the benefit of the people benefitting from money that 'will be' made. Marketing is used on everyone to shoo off bad omens and predictions. They basically say to you (the employee) and them (the customer), "Hey hey hey... it's ok. Shhhh. Don't worry about the future. The future is great! How do we know? Look at us now! Now is great... so the future is even better!"Then you feel bad, "anh, yeah sorry. I was an ass."Later down the road, "maybe I wasn't so wrong."Though I do hope for the better, I don't think it's very responsible to think that Big Daddy Activision will continue to 'fund' anything without eventually inserting these little hints here... there... over time until it's full on interference. I don't have any doubt in the companies as a whole, but the human factor always seems to surprise me. These companies are run by people who have the same vulnerabilities to pride/prejudice/etc and you should never forget the lengths that anyone would go to interfere ESPECIALLY when you have shareholders involved.Watching what they say at the time of a merger is one thing. As time goes by, you realize that it's just marketing ploy to calmly ease you into the very thing that you originally feared months/years ago. This isn't at all meant to discredit Sacco's post. We are talking about the publisher here and there's no way I could denounce his logic. I'ts well written and very insightful. Thank you. My conclusion (strictly opinion) is that I think it's best to combine your perspective and his into -A.) don't play the game of Conspiracy crafting. It's useless.B.) and don't be naive enough to think that the people giving you "access to more funding and assets" will always stay out of your way forever.I know that sounds contradictory but understand me. I don't think it's a conspiracy. With 'B' - I think it's just a natural result that comes with time and change. Pridictability doesn't equate to conspiracy (imo).
4-12-2009 @ 6:29PM
While I do believe that Act-Blizz will effect Blizz in some ways, I think you own story points to how it will appear.I believe that A-B will probably mandate a stricter delivery schedule. And we are already seeing the fruits of A-Bs marketing 'Saavy'. WoW Gamer Fuel anyone?Will it impact the overall quality of the game. No. Not for a couple of years. But by then WoW will be in decline anyway.
4-12-2009 @ 7:19PM
reminds me of a certain King of the Hill episode, where Hank tries helping Appleseed and a non-profit grocery store.In the end, its bought out by Megalomart, and everything goes bad. I'm sure you can tell who is who too :PAnd, I can bet you Activision is slowly pushing things around. The last few patches released have lacked polish. The kind of polish I've seen in every patch before the merger. It may be the crazy in me talking, but taking one look at Activision and their treatment with the Guitar Hero franchise and all its uneccesary spinoffs (they could of released the Metallica thing as DLC for $10-15, but instead made us buy it for $40-50). I have zero respect for Activision, and its only a matter of time to me til WoW becomes World of CorporateWhoringcraft.
4-13-2009 @ 4:47AM
I'm voting Philip's comment in for [local]. Great comment.I think it says everything. Yes they're doing fine now. No there's no proof that they won't be the one, shining and unique example of an IP bought out and not milked into a dried up husk by the corporate meatplows.However this is pretty much how it all starts. Re-address things 6/12/18 months down the line and we'll see.Excuse me if I'm a bit low on faith.
4-13-2009 @ 3:39PM
@PhilipI've worked in the IT field for close to 20 years now and I have gone through similar experiences and agree with your conclusion. Change was inevitable once the 'merger' occurred. It will start slowly and probably remain unnoticeable for quite awhile, but eventually there will be a split from the decisions that Blizzard would have made had they remained independent and the decisions that are made as part of Activision Blizzard. These differences could be good or bad, but they will not be the course of action that the original independent company would have taken. Also, with all due respect to Mr. Sacco, I would question his objectivity concerning critiquing Blizzard. One does not bad mouth one's former employers, even if they deserve it. IT communities tend to be well connected and close knit. Becoming known for being a critical of a former employer, no matter whether it is justified or not, is not usually beneficial to the furthering of ones career path. The person(s) you are trash talking about now could very well be on an interview panel for the next company where you're trying to get a job. It makes good career sense not to burn any bridges behind you if you can avoid it.
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