Posted by: thakarron | March 8, 2010

Bobby Kotick > Deathwing?

So a quick post here, if any of you have been keeping up with recent events in the gaming community there have been some big things happening over at Activision. Big scary things.

New Level ?? Raid Boss Datamined?!

Last week over at Activision, everyone’s favorite gaming company (which also bought Blizzard, much to our cumulative joy) the COO Vince Zampella and President Jason West of Infinity Ward were terminated. From the looks of it, this whole ordeal wasn’t very friendly. Outsourced security guards were present at the actual termination, to both escort them off the premises and keep any information from being passed to other Infinity Ward employees. Infinity Ward plans to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit, which Activision will surely contest.

The repercussions are sure to come fast and furious, since Infinity Ward has been touted as one of the tightest knit group of friends and developers. Who’s to say that more Infinity Ward employees won’t follow their leadership and leave Activision to head towards greener pastures? Speaking of green, other publishers will definitely be throwing some crazy cheddar down to secure Infinity Ward if they do leave Activision as a whole. In case you’ve decided to become a hermit for the last few years, Infinity Ward developed the original Call of Duty, as well as perhaps the best-selling video game of all time Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Although we don’t know what kind of legality Activision has on the CoD IP, you can bet that its pretty ironclad. They have announced that Sledgehammer Games will be working on the next CoD title due in 2010, while Treyarch continues to develop a Vietnam Era CoD. There’s rumors that IW wanted to work on a new IP apart from CoD, or at least pursue a different angle, something that Activision probably wasn’t very happy with. Regardless if another publisher (EA? Microsoft?) decides to pick up IW who knows what could happen, needless to say the future of Infinity Ward is definitely in flux after recent events.

What does this mean for Blizzard? Like Infinity Ward, Blizz is definitely a tightly knit group of highly skilled individuals that has made some awesome games. Infinity Ward has also gone on record talking some serious shit about big, bad Activision. Although Blizzard hasn’t said anything bad to the public, many of us can see that the two could easily be at odds. A lot of long time Blizz fans have noticed many changes, that could be the result of Activision’s (more specifically Bobby’s) financial mindset influencing what Blizzard wants to do. They’ve been known to release games when they feel that they are ready, not when the calendar says would be the peak time. I for one have nothing but respect for Blizzard’s efforts to put out quality products, but I’m not sure Activision is a fan. If WoW takes a turn towards annual expansion packs in an effort to suck more cash out of us, I won’t be very pleased. The growing number of microtransactions aren’t a very good sign either.

Finally, you can’t help but think that Activision and Mr. Kotick didn’t know what message they would be sending by terminating the creators of one of the most successful games of all time. Its a statement that you ain’t safe, no matter how much money you put in our pocket or how fervent your fans are. If you conflict with our interests, you ain’t safe. Bobby Kotick pretty much dropped his pants and showed us what he’s working with, and he isn’t afraid to do what he thinks is right for Activision’s financial future. So what does this mean for Blizzard in the future? You can bet they had one hell of a morning meeting the day after this all went down.

So although Deathwing may be the big boss of Cataclysm, but all the destruction he wrought isn’t shit compared to what Mr. Kotick could do to Blizzard as a whole. Regardless of what happens, things have definitely gotten a lot more interesting for Blizzard, as well as the rest of the gaming community.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whole situation, and if this is your first time hearing about it I hope this post provided a good bit of insight! Thanks for the read everyone =]

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