Future of Activision Blizzard

In the name of Zod

Diabloii.Net Member
Questions.
  • Have Activision been wanting more of a say over how Blizzard runs?
  • How has the negative feedback over the announcement of Diablo Immortal allowed Activision to influence the operation of Blizzard?
  • What will this likely mean for gamers?
  • Will Activision try to install Activision management at Blizzard?
  • Was it inevitable that Activision will run Blizzard the day the merger went through?
  • Did Activision play a role in the controversy around Diablo Immortal to gain more influence over its business partner?
  • Is there any evidence that Activision has tried to influence decisions at Blizzard since the merger?
  • Is there any evidence that the removal of the employee financial reward scheme at Blizzard was the product of Activision's influence?
  • What is the likelihood that the move toward mobile gaming came from the Activision Blizzard partnership? In other words, would the move to mobile gaming not have occurred if Blizzard had never merged with Activision?
Thoughts.
 

Dacar92

Moderator: Community, D2 Zon, DH, Inc Clan Officer
Not sure about most of those questions. There is no way we will ever know about some of them, unless a former employee tells all. Non-disclosures notwithstanding, most former employees will never tell all unless they are retiring and won't have to look for a job in the industry again. But I can at least give my thoughts on some of your questions.

Why wouldn't Activision want a say in the Blizzard business?

We may not ever know how the negative feedback will play into their future decisions. In a way, the move to mobile seems like a "must do" for every studio. They must have their hands in mobile, where players in the millions pay for everything from extra lives to keys or gems to buy other stuff in game. Mobile is a way for Blizz to find new gamers and introduce their other franchises to them. Then micro-transaction them to their hearts content. Gamers by the millions pay for these things and Blizz would be stupid to ignore that potential revenue stream.
 

In the name of Zod

Diabloii.Net Member
Here is some more information on the subject. As you said Dacar92, unless a former employee tells all. However in this case it may not be former.

https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/12/with-activisions-influence-growing-blizzard-is-cutting-costs/

It looks like its been going for a year now. An interesting quote from the article when Blizzard was asked for a quote, this is in context to Blizzards "Career Crossroads" program:
We have had a completely voluntary and long-standing program in various locations around the world that gives eligible staff the option to make the most of incentives while proactively pursuing other career opportunities. No one is required or encouraged to participate in the program, but for those who do, we work hard to make it generous.
What stands out as odd about this statement (to me) is how they say "No one is required or encouraged to participate in the program". This sounds like a 'we never talked about this' or 'this never happened' kind of statement. Keeping something low profile because its negative, almost hanging your head in shame. But, buuut its strange or interesting because its this only thing they talked about. Like WTF? This defies good common sense. Rationale just went flying out the window. This just makes my head spin and my lie detector is going nuts.

The only explanation could be that they knew leaks were coming and they've tried to put their own positive spin on it first. The funny thing about this strategy of 'buying out employees' is that it will put more mouths out there for sourcing reports about the company.
 
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Dacar92

Moderator: Community, D2 Zon, DH, Inc Clan Officer
Remember firstly, it is Kotaku but if the quotes are accurate it is worrying. I didn't read the entire article but this jumped out at me:

“Finance in general in Blizzard has been one of these invisible functions that’s there, but doesn’t have a say,” said one veteran employee who left recently and asked not to be named because they were not authorised to talk to press. “Now they’re suddenly in meetings.”

Said a second, who also asked not to be named: “A lot of decisions now are being driven by business folks, marketing and finance folks. There’s a real struggle now between developers and the business people… Strategic decisions are being driven by the finance group.”
This tells me that Blizzard IS being influenced by Activision. Where else would pressure to make money come from? Usually either sales/marketing or finance. If you're not making money, or more than you made last year, you need to cut costs, or make other decisions that affect game design and release dates. The OP asked if Activision is influencing Blizzard? THAT is Activision influence and that is how most developers work today. That influence/pressure many times ends up with games being released before they're finished. That action starts the pay back they need. Here's how it works: The Director of Finance gets a directive from his boss at Activision to cut costs, pressure other teams to meet deadlines or any other number of instructions and he/she decides that he/she needs to get into those meetings.

It is unfortunate and another reason why I am starting to really dislike the games industry. And I hope someone in the industry reads this.
 

In the name of Zod

Diabloii.Net Member
Lets not forget the connotations behind asking employee's if they want to quit. The money offered here isn't really the issue when you look at it from an ethical stand point. To approach or make apparent that you as an employer are interested if your employee's 'want' to quit is, well its really quite unseen if not straight out duress. So who can blame any of these employee's for speaking out about the negatives of working for Blizzard once they 'cave?' to these policy regulated offers? also to return to the original point, would this have ever have happened if Blizzard had never merged with Activision?
 

Ultimatium

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, i think it's fairly obvious that activision is getting more influential on blizzard's games. I only have one major problem with that, which is that i dislike activision and the games they are making. I am really thankful for the games that blizzard has made in the past, with the diablo and warcraft franchises being my absolute favorites. I just hope they wont screw up some of these old games, since they have been patching warcraft 3 way too much the last couple of years, and a lot of players have left because of all the issues the game now has. I just hope they won't be doing the same thing with diablo 2.
 
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