After an in-game store was discovered on a World of Warcraft test server, Blizzard publicly acknowledged that it is looking into adding microtransactions to its long-running MMORPG. In response to questions about this from members of the community, Blizzard community representative Jonathan Brown made the following post on the Battle.net forums:
A New York Times report detailing executive pay for the top companies in the United States shows an increase that the median 2012 pay package came in at $15.1 million a leap of 16 percent from 2011. But the more interesting aspect of the report is who is on top. It should be noted that when the NYT says executive pay that includes any bonuses, benefits and salary - and sometimes these bonuses are spread out over multiple years.
While Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo seem to be on the same page about messing with used games on their new systems, publishers are still being non-committal about how they will approach used games sales in this new generation. In the past some have tried everything from always-on DRM to online passes and even forcing customers to use software clients in order to play their games.
Blizzard announced this morning that Diablo III will be released on the PlayStation 3 on September 3, 2013. The company also revealed that an Xbox 360 version of the game has been in the works for quite some time and will release on the same date. Both games will be released simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Is Call of Duty: Ghosts really that innovative? In Andrew Eisen's latest video he points out that a certain feature touted during the Xbox One press conference last week has been around since... 1996. Check out the video to your left. At least having a canine companion is new. Oh wait... maybe not...
Activision Blizzard majority stakeholder Vivendi is still interested in selling off the 61.2 percent it owns in the company but according to the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard would like to buy back some of it. The WSJ reports that Activision Blizzard management is interested in using some of the cash reserves it has managed to stockpile to buy back at least some of what Vivendi owns. This is probably a good idea since Vivendi has been looking to offload its stake in the company since last year.
Update: A representative for Activision points out that Bloomberg has updated its original story, and that because Activision is a public company it has to account for compensation in the year it is granted, even though the amount of performance-based compensation Kotick would receive under the new agreement he signed in 2012 would be vested over a five year period. Here's the update from the Bloomberg story we sourced:
Activision Blizzard has donated $2 million to the Call of Duty Endowment, a foundation dedicated to helping returning vets from Afghanistan and Iraq find decent employment in the currently rough job market here in the United States by providing scholarships, grants, and other services related to finding gainful employment. The Call of Duty Endowment is a non-profit organization and was founded by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in 2009.
Mark those calendars and get ready to camp out at the official BlizzCon site at the end of April! Blizzard Entertainment announced the dates when you'll be able to pick up tickets for its upcoming fan gathering, BlizzCon 2013. Tickets for BlizzCon 2013 will officially go on sale in two batches on Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. PDT (10 PM EST) and Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. PDT (1 PM EST) through the official BlizzCon website.
Telltale Games announced in 2011 that it was working on a reboot of the classic Sierra point-and-click adventure game series, King's Quest, but it looks like that's not going to happen after all. Instead Activision, who merged with Vivendi Games (who owned Sierra's IP) in 2008, has retained the license and will now work on a reboot of the series in-house.
Activision has confirmed with GameSpot that it has laid off around 40 full-time High Moon Studios employees following the completion of Deadpool. High Moon Studios is best known for Deadpool and Transformers.
If you felt left out when Activision community manager Dan Amrich revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 would be getting in-game micro-transactions earlier this month, then you'll be happy the hear that the PS3 and Windows versions of the game will get the same options beginning on April 12.
Activision's Call of Duty Endowment announced plans to open up a number of chapters around the country using $1.1 million in grant money. They are calling this initiative "Chapterization." The Call of Duty Endowment also announced the appointment of its first full-time Executive Director - Dan Goldenberg. Goldenberg has 21 years of active and reserve military service and currently serves as a commander in the Navy Reserve.
Activision will add in-game purchases in its popular action game Call of Duty: Black Ops II tomorrow. The announcement was made by Activision community manager Dan Amrich on his OneofSwords blog. Amrich says that players will notice on March 13 new "Micro Items." The pre-order bonus map, Nuketown 2025 will also be made available for free tomorrow.
Kotaku is reporting that Activision has laid off about 30 employees from their global workforce. The layoffs are apparently taking place at Call of Duty: Black Ops II developer Treyarch. A spokesperson for the company tells Kotaku that a "good number" of the layoffs are taking place outside of Treyarch as the company shifts its focus away from games based on licensed properties.
Former Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose has lost his 2010 lawsuit against Guitar Hero III maker Activision, reports GameSpot (by way of the The San Marino Tribune). In his original complaint, Rose claimed that the publisher duped him in several ways in order to get the band's popular "Welcome to the Jungle" song into the game.
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg warns investors that the next Call of Duty will sell less than Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
"The Call of Duty franchise continues to set the bar for innovation and we expect the new Call of Duty game in development for 2013 to raise that bar even higher," Hirshberg told investors during a conference call to discuss financial results this week.
No doubt Activision is delighted that over 100 million Skylanders toys have been sold across the United States. The company announced the milestone at the Toy Fair 2013, reports Destructoid. Activision says that the Skylanders franchise (Skylanders and Skylanders Giants) across all platforms has generated over $500 million since its launch in 2011.
It's one thing for North Korea to threaten the United States of America via a propaganda video, it's quite another for them to steal the footage of the nuclear blast from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3! But that is exactly what they did, according to an analysis of the footage over at Forbes.
Two U.S. lawmakers have asked federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice to answer a series of questions about the prosecution of Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz. In a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) want to DOJ to explain why federal prosecutors sought up to 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines for Swartz, who committed suicide prior to his trial. Swartz was arrested in 2011 for downloading 4.8 million documents from the academic archive JSTOR.
According to a Polygon report, the video game industry executives and other interested parties that met with Vice-President Joe Biden's Gun Violence Commission walked away feeling that they were unscathed, and that Biden was looking for general input on media and violence.
Blizzard Entertainment announced via its official blog that it managed to raise $2.3 million for the American Red Cross’s ongoing Superstorm Sandy relief efforts in the month of December. World of Warcraft players were given the opportunity to purchase a new in-game pet during the month, and stepped up in droves to help raise the money.
A number of Activision's James Bond games have disappeared from Valve software's Steam digital distribution platform, Xbox 360's Games on Demand service and Activision's own store, according to GameSpot.
It has been a week since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut but the country has no more answers for what caused the horrific tragedy than it did last week. In the weeks ahead you can expect the media and politicians to talk about violent media, guns, and metal health care in this country, but one analyst believes that all of this media attention won't have much of an effect on what entertainment consumers will buy (thanks to The Escapist).
This is sure to put analyst Michael Pachter on someone's naughty list: Recently he said that Activision needs to start charging a fee for the multiplayer portion of its Call of Duty games. Wedbush Securities industry analyst Michael Pachter made his comments during the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco, California (as reported by GamesIndustry International). During his presentation he said that Activision made a serious mistake when it didn't implement a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer.
Yesterday we reported that Activision and developer Vicarious Visions had been working on Guitar Hero 7, but a report today from Kotaku citing an anonymous source close to the situations says that the game was a hot mess and overly ambitious.