At another conference, this time the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference Kotick has made more eyebrow raising comments. My skype went nuts over the last day or so as everyone has been sending me the links hah. Gamesindustry.biz reports a few of his comments, but I wonder if Kotick isn’t doing a technology and investing roadshow, hitting all of the influencers…with the same speech. So far, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Think about that for a minute.
Anyway, he has already declared that you need to spend $500M-$1B to effectively compete with World of Warcraft (total bullsh**) or at least be commercially successful. Now, he is saying that conversations with Blizzard has Activision thinking about a Call of Duty MMO (bad idea! bad!) which will probably cost…how much? My psychic mind powers give me a strong sense that the budget will be something insane, and will directly impact Activision shareholders (or Actiblizzion, whatever they call the merged venture). Even more mind boggling, is that he implies that Blizzard’s “take away” from the brainstorming conversations was (and this is a direct quote):
“about how Starcraft – as a short session experience – can actually be the model for in-game advertising and sponsorship and tournament play and ladder play for the future.”
Uhm, wow. I’m beginning to see where all this is going. I wonder how long before Blizzard/Vivendi starts feeling some serious buyer’s remorse. I don’t have an opinion of the staff at Activision, but my impression of Kotick is rapidly going down the toilet and based on his comments (granted, I didn’t hear them first hand and I don’t have the full transcript of his talk), I think we are beginning to see early red flags for the future of the company.
Sure, Blizzard is the king of the hill now, and World of Warcraft is great, but can they really follow through with people like Kotick being thrown into the mix? How many of the original designers and developers that worked on WoW are even around any more (remember the exodus with all the new MMO studios being founded by ex-blizzard WoW employees that all had critical contributions to the game?).
Look at NCSoft…they used to be the king of the hill too, but it only takes a few missteps for the whole house of cards to tumble.
My advice to Blizzard: Caveat emptor.