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Posts with tag ceo

Is Bobby Kotick bad for Blizzard?

Yesterday, when we wrote about Blizzard's mistakes in patch 3.0.8, I made very sure to stay away from any mention of Activision. Call me naive, but I still don't think the Activision-Blizzard relationship has yet affected how Blizzard conducts business -- Blizzard's mistake of releasing the patch before it was ready was, in my mind, all their own. But not everyone feels that way (just read the comments on yesterday's post), and Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica will go a step further: he's calling Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick out for caring more about how much money his games make rather than how good they are.

We've talked about Kotick here before, and we've got him saying both that Activision will leave Blizzard alone and that they'll be seeking additional revenues where they can get them. But Kuchera isn't so balanced -- he's ready to pin Blizzard's decisions, including the idea to cut Starcraft II up into three different games, and the pending monetization of on Activision's influence. And the last nail in the coffin is Kotick's recent profile in Forbes, which apparently had the writer calling Rock Band a "knock-off" of Activision's Guitar Hero (even though history says otherwise, since Harmonix, without Activision, created both franchises).

But that gets a little too far into non-Blizzard territory for us. Kuchera finishes by saying that there's two forces at work in Azeroth: "the loyalty of [WoW's] players" and "Kotick's cash lust." And he questions what will happen when the two finally face off. Which is basically what we've been saying for a long time. But the question so far is whether that's happened or not. Have Activision and Kotick pushed Blizzard to make the Starcraft II and decisions, or is Blizzard making all of these choices on their own?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money

Breakfast Topic: What would you whisper into Mike Morhaime's ear?

You walk into the Anaheim Convention Center, the lights are low and the mist is criss crossing the floor with patterns shining all around the venue. To your left and right are some your best friends from your guild who have joined you at BlizzCon 2008. Looking forward you spot an unassuming yet influential man in jeans and a black and blue Blizzard shirt. You're gazing upon none other than Mike Morhaime, the president and co-founder of Blizzard. With a grin on your face you tell your guildies you'll be right back. You walk up to Mike and wink at him. Leaning to his ear you being to whisper...

If you could whisper anything in the ear of Mike Morihame, what would it be?

And be creative. I hear that they read the site...

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, BlizzCon

WoW Insider interviews 38 Studios' Brett Close about Azeroth Advisor

Last week we reported that 38 Studios, a company working on its own MMO property, had picked up the Azeroth Advisor, a custom newsletter directed towards players of World of Warcraft. At the time, we were slightly confused -- why would another gaming company want to purchase a guide written to promote and help players of a competitor's game? To get the answer, we went straight to the top, and sat down to talk with Brett Close, CEO of 38 Studios, about the reasons behind his company's purchase of the Azeroth Advisor and the technology behind it.

Last week, Curt Schilling, the company's founder, spoke on The Instance podcast about the buyout (that took place in May of this year), and what Mentor Media's newsletter and technology had to offer 38 Studios, so we asked Close about that, including how they planned to extend the custom newsletters to games that didn't have WoW's Armory and why they want to support players of a competitor's MMO. And we also talked about the fact that the newsletter is going free and why they decided to start giving it away.

The conversation with 38 Studios' CEO starts right after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy, Leveling, Guides, Interviews

Activision's Bobby Kotick speaks at All Things Digital

Bobby Kotick, CEO ActivisionBobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, took the stage at the All Things Digital conference, and spoke a little more about the Activision Blizzard deal.

Kotick fesses up that a lot of the merger was about Blizzard's people. While a pessimist might read this as "we can't compete with them, so join 'em," what I see is a deep level of respect for Blizzard and its creation. Kotick said, "the merger is really our mechanism to get access to Blizzard's talent, capability and infrastructure." This isn't really a surprise, and reinforces what Kotick's had to say about being considerate of Blizzard's culture.

As has been said before, Kotick doesn't seem like a bad guy. What he's doing is acknowledging the good work Blizzard's done in the past. He straight out says that, "I've never seen anything quite like World of Warcraft, not just as a gaming experience, but as a social experience, as a business."

That's not the kind of sentiment issued by someone who doesn't like what they just bought (Ed: But would someone who just spent $18.8 billion on anything not like it?). While Kotick doesn't say directly much about the future of Blizzard, things are still looking good for our favorite Blue team.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Bobby Kotick: Activision is "considerate of the culture" at Blizzard

Portfolio has an interview with Bobby Kotick himself, warchief of the Activision Blizzard clan, and in there, they talk about the merger itself (obviously), as well as Kotick's past and what he's trying to do with Activision Blizzard.

If you believe everything he's saying, then our favorite game company sounds like it may have landed on pretty good ground. Apparently Activision was originally trying to buy out Vivendi (Kotick says he'd realized that World of Warcraft wasn't so much a game as a full-fledged social network), but Vivendi made the counter-offer of a partnership instead. And while Kotick only chats briefly about Activizzard's other properties (he thinks facial and mouth movement will help videogames tell great stories -- sigh), he does say that Activision is a place where Blizzard can grow as a studio of its own, as compared to a faceless corporation like, ahem, EA.

All in all, Kotick doesn't sound like too bad a guy, although I can't imagine that any CEOs being profiled in something called "Portfolio" would. It does at least sound like he'll let Blizzard do their thing, although just as we've said before, while things are great now when the money is rolling in, there's no knowing what will happen in the future.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Activison faces lawsuit, says MMO market is "insurmountable"

Two bits of news about soon to-be-Blizzard's-overlords Activision: first, a group of investors are apparently planning to sue Activision about the whole merger thing, apparently saying that Activision didn't do enough to cash in on the deal. They're complaining that in the deal with Vivendi (Blizzard's owners), Activision settled for an "unfavorable minority poisition." The company hasn't responded yet, but if this lawsuit goes forward, we could find out a whole lot more about the exact terms of the deal between the two companies.

And for their own part, Activision is thrilled to be in the business of Warcraft: Activision CEO Bobby Kotick sees MMOs as an "insurmountable product category," and says that if they were competing with WoW, they'd have to toss at least half a billion to a billion dollars into the deal, and even then they wouldn't be guaranteed success. Which means that at this time, in this market, Kotick says that companies entering into the MMO market are basically throwing money away.

Can't say we're surprised that the CEO of the company that now owns WoW says it's unbeatable, but as you know by now, EA and Funcom (Warhammer Online and Age of Conan's publishers, respectively) surely disagree. We should see who's right by the end of the year.

[Via Incgamers]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Video interview with Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO

Here's a short interview with the CEO of (now) Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick with an official inside view on the merger that recently combined the Guitar Hero company with the Diablo and WoW company. He's definitely still speaking from an Activision viewpoint (he disses Rock Band, which would be unacceptable if he wasn't actually publishing their main competitor-- Rock Band is awesome), but he lays out how the deal was a great idea for both companies and how Activision is looking toward the future of game publishing.

It's also interesting to hear him talk about the three major innovations in gaming recently-- interface innovations (such as the Wii controller or the guitar for Guitar Hero), social innovations (not just in MMOs but in terms of tournament and organized play), and production value, which is definitely something both Activision and Blizzard know about. The woman interviewing needs to learn how to interview rather than interrupt, but as a CEO, Kotick sounds like he knows what he's talking about. For now, anyway, Activision Blizzard seems to be in good hands.

[Via incgamers]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Interviews

Mike Morhaime on the Activision Blizzard merger got to sit down with Blizzard President and CEO Mike Morhaime to chat about the big news this weekend that Blizzard is merging with Activision. He basically echoes Blizzard's FAQ on the issue, and says that nothing at all will change-- "if I do my job properly," he says, "then players won't notice any difference."

The deal came about with Vivendi's full consent and interest-- Activision is apparently aiming to be the number one game publisher, and bringing Blizzard both under their wing and up into their name will help them do that. Morhaime calls it a "merger of equals," and says that while there's a chance Blizzard might look into Activision's experience if they choose to make a game up their alley (i.e., a console game, but don't get excited, Morhaime's speaking hypothetically), generally, the two companies will just keep doing what they're doing.

Morhaime also laughs when Incgamers asks how this will affect development of Diablo III, but laugh is all he does-- nice try! Otherwise, Morhaime holds that the merger will have no affect on Blizzard's games or development-- other than the name change, he says, it's business as usual.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

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