Activision gets almost 70% of its revenue from three franchises

Tauren dance, baby.Activision’s fiscal report for 2009 contained some seriously juicy news. First, there’s the scandal at Infinity Ward. Second, there’s this. The report included statistics regarding the company’s revenue sources, revealing that a large majority, like 68%, come from just three franchises: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero. The report also noted that WoW accounts for a whopping 98% of Blizzard’s revenue.

The obvious concern is for one of those franchises to flop. One bad Call of Duty and suddenly Activision doesn’t look so stable. As the company puts things, “Due to this dependence on a limited number of franchises, the failure to achieve anticipated results by one or more products based on these franchises may significantly harm our business and financial results.” I would say so, fellas.

We already know that rhythm games are on the decline and WoW hasn’t grown in more than a year. No wonder Blizzard’s trying to push Starcraft 2 out the door by mid-year.

Source: Kotaku


Blizzard still wants to release SC II in the first half of the year

Starcraft 2 interface.Depending who you ask, Starcraft II has been in development as long as 10 years. The game finally entered closed beta earlier this month, which is hopefully a sign that we will see it go to print before the end of the year. Blizzard is staying optimistic as far as timetable is concerned. The latest Blizzcast included Chris Sigaty, production director for the game, who said they were shooting for first half of the year for release.

“We were targeting three to five months for the beta, we’re really at a three month period of time for the beta at this point. We are still targeting the first half of this year, so with that in mind, it really shortens the window of time with our major content patch coming out pretty close to the end whether it’s even worth it putting out the map editor at that point.”

The map editor is one of the things that has everyone all hot in the pants, but it wouldn’t be so bad not to have it at release. Just remember, you’d be playing StarCraft II. Are you really going to get hung up on a map editor?

Source: Blizzcast Ep. 13


Would you pay $300 for a StarCraft II beta key?

SC2 beta key code.So you couldn’t make it to BlizzCon this past year and you missed out on that Starcraft II beta key. Not to worry! You can still be the envy of all your friends and relatives if you have $300 laying around. Yes, that’s the going rate for a Starcraft II beta key on eBay right now.

The keys run a wide range, from the $280 But It Now I’ve linked above to the $400+ versions that remain mint and unscratched. One guy is even offering the full contents of his 2008 BlizzCon goodie bag. Personally, I can’t imagine spending this kind of money on a closed beta. If I cared that much, I probably would have just gone to BlizzCon. I realize, though, that there are people out there with the money on hand who also happen to be complete StarCraft freaks and will likely jump all over this.

Check out the full list you can pick up on eBay.


Guitar Hero gets a new boss

Guitar hero logo.The Guitar Hero division at Activision has made some changes to its executive tier. Former CEO Dan Rosensweig left the company to hook up with, a site that allows users to rent textbooks. The site recently broke $160 million in investor funding.

Activision’s former COO David Haddad will be taking up the mantle on the struggling franchise. There had been some speculation as to whether or not Rosensweig was fired due to the franchises suffering sales. Activision denies those rumors, claiming that the move was completely voluntary for all parties.

Whatever the case, we can hopefully expect some changes from a genre of games that has been reluctant to innovate.


Activision could have had Blizzard for 1/1000th the price

Blizzard logo. Blizzard is about as hot a property as you can have these days. The World of Warcraft developer makes $100 million a month off its MMO alone. That’s why Activision had to pay $7 billion to acquire the company.

Back in 1995, though, Blizzard was just a minnow in the video game pond. It had just put out a little title called Warcraft that would become the basis for a development empire. Davidson & Associates saw the potential and decided to go for it, purchasing the company for a mere $7 million. Bob Kotick spoke with Game Informer about the purchase.

“That year Activision probably had $60 million in revenues. They said they paid $7 million dollars for Blizzard. I’m like ‘Are you out of your minds? They’re like a contract developer! They have Warcraft but what else do they have? You paid SEVEN million! That’s insane!”

“I was talking to [Blizzard founder] Mike Morhaime the other day and I said, ‘You know, I could have bought you for $7 million and instead it was $7 billion.’ He said, ‘Yeah, could you imagine if I had just held out for the $7 billion instead of the $7 million?’”

Kotick sounds like his usual, dickish self. Then again, he did end up paying the $7 billion price tag.

Source: Game Informer


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