Top Infinity Ward execs part ways with Activision

Modern Warfare 2.I’ve heard in the past that Infinity Ward has a less than cordial relationship with Activision. The shit finally hit the fan this morning, though, when two of IW’s top guys took a hike after meeting with the publisher.

At some point yesterday, Vince Zampella and Jason West met with Activision, after which they didn’t return to IW offices. Instead, a bunch of “bouncer-types” came around, presumably to ensure that neither exec would come back to work. By noon today both Zampella and West had updated their LinkedIn profiles to include Infinity Ward as previous experience.

Kotaku also dug up an SEC filing from yesterday that showed Activision had launched an investigation at IW for “insubordination” and “breaches of contract” regarding “two senior employees.” Activision has since confirmed both departures and announced the formation of a special division dedicated to churning out one Call of Duty game every year. Looks like the company will continue to bank on that franchise as a major source of revenue for as long as it can.

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

Modern Warfare 2 makes a billion bucks

Modern Warfare 2. You know what’s not a bad way to start a new year? How bout announcing that your latest title has sold more than a billion dollars worth. Yes, Modern Warfare 2 has reached that rare milestone among industry developments, and it’s still going strong.

“There are only a handful of entertainment properties that have ever reached the $1 billion mark,” said Activision CEO Bob Kotick, “which illustrates the power of the Call of Duty franchise and mass appeal of this game.” In case you’ve forgotten the baffling sales statistics, more than half of that billion was made in the first five days the game was available. Utterly insane.

In other new, Avatar (the movie, not the game) broke the billion dollar mark not too long ago, putting the two in a race to beat out Titanic’s $1.8 billion gross and Guitar Hero III‘s $2 billion.

Average game development costs $18-28 million

Game development.The explosive growth of the gaming industry has directly translated to the back end, according some analysis done by M2 Research. The group found that average development costs for multi-platform games are deep into the tens of millions, averaging somewhere between $18M and $28M per game.

Single platform titles are still somewhere around the $10M mark, as the research has it. One of the big concerns about the high cost is the strain it puts on employees. Developers are pushed hard to make sure the publisher’s investment is met with solid return.

The return is there, at least on blockbuster titles. Take Modern Warfare 2, for instance. The game cost over $50 million to make but made $550 million in its first five days on the shelves. Average titles don’t always fare so well, and with a struggling economy, it’s easy to see why development houses are a little nervous.

Modern Warfare 2 tops the 2009 US sales list

Modern Warfare 2.NPD put out the sales numbers for 2009 with few surprises. The Xbox 360 version of Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest by far, which should be a real shock. What might actually interest you is that Nintendo has nearly every other title in the top 10. Halo 3: ODST made it in at number six, and the PS3 version of MW2 is buried near the bottom.

Other than those few titles, it’s all Nintendo, and these are just the US numbers. Sony can’t be too happy about the fact that there isn’t an exclusive PS3 title on the list.

    1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360)
    2. Wii Fit (Wii)
    3. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
    4. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
    5. Wii Play (Wii)
    6. Halo 3: ODST (360)
    7. Pokemon Platinum (DS)
    8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
    9. Madden NFL 10 (360)
    10. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

Source: Industry Gamers

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