Raise your hand if you had Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft” lasting more than 9 years; I know I never thought it would last this long (that’s what she said). Reaching subscriber highs of more than 12 million paid players in 2010, the world of Azeroth has now dipped back down to the 8 million mark, which has raised concerns in the Blizzard Activision Inc. offices. Activision’s brass commented on those concerns today, commenting also on “challenges in the global economy. For these reasons, we remain cautious. However, our focused and disciplined approach to our business has served us well in the past, and through continued investment and careful management of our costs, we expect to continue delivering shareholder value over the long term as we have for the last 20 years.” Activision also added that the majority of the defections came from the East, rather than the West, signaling that Azeroth is still going strong in American households. Hit the link below for more thoughts on the WoW business model, and the way ahead.
What would you buy with $65 million? Although Mr. Kotick has yet to see that entire figure deposit into his bank account, that ginormous payout has already been etched into Activision Blizzard’s financial books for 2012, and he’s likely already got a few new purchases in mind with that cash (most of is technically stock options, but still). Although many people despise the Chief Executive Officer position for receiving these kinds of payouts, many do not understand the burden of command that these men and women hold. Tim Cook, the head man at Apple, has been rumored to be on the chopping block on just about every media news outlet since the technology leader’s stock has dropped over the last few weeks. What people fail to pull into the conversation is that the stock price is still higher now than when he took over; many analysts have also stated that the stock was way overvalued to begin with, and that cannot be Cook’s fault. Kotick has navigated Activision for over twenty years, and he’s getting compensated for leading a video game development company that has gone from obscurity, to the top of the charts; I would argue he deserves it. Hit the link below for more details behind Kotick’s big payday.
Nothing in business, or life for that matter, is guaranteed, even if your name is Marcus Fenix or you just happen to be a God of War. According to an investor note released yesterday by Cowen & Company, Gears of War: Judgement sales are estimated to be hovering at or around the 425,000 unit mark. Taken alone that doesn’t sound too terribly bad, unless you compare that figure to Gears of War 3 month one sales from September 2011, which rang up cash registers more than 2 million times. Now that 425,000 units mark really stands out, doesn’t it? Like I mentioned earlier, Kratos is searching for an explanation to his investors as well; full details after the link below.
Isn’t it crazy how Twitter has become one of the most prominent sources of breaking news? I swear I catch faster news reports from my Twitter feed than I do watching CNN, or even refreshing their Communist-colored website (okay, it’s more of a Capitalist red). Alex Ward, who passes out business cards these days as the Director of Criterion at EA, is the latest to break some interesting, and arguably depressing gaming news in regards to quite possibly the end of everyone’s favorite Burnout racing series. Here’s the Twitter tweet straight from Mr. Ward’s virtual mouth:
In October 2011, From Software released an unofficial sequel to the deathly-hard, highly-addicting “Demon’s Souls” under the similar name, “Dark Souls”. Since then, the equally hard sequel has been rung up at cash registers around the world a whopping 2.3 million times. That’s a staggering sales figure for any game, but for a title that many consider a “hardcore gamer niche”, that arguably makes it even more impressive. As a huge fan of the series (please tell me this isn’t your first SQ experience), I am not surprised but if you had asked me yesterday for a SWAG estimate on the number of units moved, I would have came back with about 1-1.25M; I would have never thought that the 2 million barrier had been broken, but I am happy that it has because folks, this series is absolutely bad ass. If you haven’t read much of my prose here at SQ, all you need to read is what my eloquent and esteemed colleague wrote in our official SQ “About” page; if you happened to have been addicted to Goldeneye’s Control Mission on 00 Agent mode like myself, then this series is for you. Don’t even watch a trailer, or finish reading this article; go to your local game shack and pick at least one of these two titles up. End of story.
The Minecraft train continues to roll, as the mega-popular’s PC version of Mojang’s low-on-graphics, high-on-gameplay flagship title has now eclipsed the 10m sales mark. Mojang’s lead designer and developer Jens Bergensten provided the official announcement via Twitter, and also gave Minecrafters a not-so-subtle glimpse into what will be added in the game’s upcoming 1.6 update. Not bad for a video game that looks like it’s from 1995, eh? Hit the link below for even more eye-popping, Minecraft stats; high-end video card not required.
Today Disney took the ax to LucasArts’ development studio, laying off approximately 150 staff personnel in order to change up their video game business model and focus more on licensing. For those folks that were let go today, we are extremely sorry to hear the news, and wish you all the best moving forward. For gamers out there who were looking forward to Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, you may want to consider changing your pre-order to different games, because they are officially “on hold”. Hit the link below for the official LucasArts press statement.
The PC gaming community is a stubborn crowd, and I can confidently make that claim because I consider myself part of that cadre of gamers. Although consoles have come an insanely long ways over the last two generations or so to match up with PC’s, there still is a gap in a few ways and genres; the most specific gap in my oh so slightly qualified opinion is in the RTS, or Real-Time Strategy genre. I couldn’t even fathom trying to play Red Alert or Starcraft 2 with a controller; I have got to have a mouse and keyboard or we’re gonna have some issues. Are we understood? But then you’ve got extremely prominent video game industry executives that drop the line-blurring bombs like the PS4 is the “perfect gaming PC”. Say what? Hit the link below for all of the details.
GameStop continues to get dragged down financially by its physical retail presence, even as it continues to shift towards digital markets. Hardware, software, and even used sales all declined in 2012, and the only business category to show growth was GameStop’s “other” category, which covers those digital markets.
Have you finished Starcraft II’s campaign yet? No? Well don’t feel bad, because neither have I. Let me clear the air here before I get bombarded with hate mail from the two of you who actually read SQ: I love Starcraft II. Free time has not been on my side as of late, but I fire up SC2 every chance I get, even though I still Continue reading “Starcraft II Expansion in 7 Days”