Why Guitar Hero 7 Was Canned: Big Ambitions, No Money

December 6, 2012 -

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.

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Take-Two CEO: Annual Releases Can Hurt Franchise Sales

November 28, 2012 -

My, Mr. Zelnick sure is chatty this week.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GameSpot UK that the secret to Grand Theft Auto's continued success is the fact that the games are released years apart, making each debut special.

"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent," said Zelnick, "then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently."

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Indie Studio Hogrocket Shuts Down

November 23, 2012 -

Indie mobile game development studio Hogrocket is closing, going on what its founders call a permanent hiatus as members of the company move onto new opportunities. The company was founded by former Bizarre Creations staffers after Activision closed that studio down.

Hogrocket was comprised of Pete Collier, Ben Ward and Geometry Wars series creator Stephen Cakebread. The studio shipped a single game while it was in operation: Tiny Invaders for iOS. Collier has moved on to work for British studio Playdemic.

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Report: Eurocom Laying Off Most of its Workforce

November 23, 2012 -

007 Legends maker Eurocom has been forced to lay off an estimated 150 of its 200 employee strong workforce, according to a report from GamesIndustry International. A statement from Eurocom studio director Hugh Binns to the publication confirms the number and a drastic restructuring of the company.

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Blizzard Faces Class Action Over Battle.net Security

November 9, 2012 -

Two gamers have filed a class action against Blizzard Entertainment last week on behalf of Battle.net account holders, accusing the company of failing to properly secure players' personal information and requiring them to purchase a Battle.net Authenticator "in order to have even minimal protection for their sensitive personal, private, and financial data."

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Elderly People Respond to Call of Duty: Black Ops II Trailer

November 5, 2012 -

YouTube sensation The Fine Brothers Productions offers a nifty new video featuring a group of elderly people watching and reacting to the new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. While some of the "seasoned" participants seemed close minded about the idea of children (teens) or adults playing such a violent first-person shooter (one person said it could train people to kill) there are a few bright spots of commentary on the usefulness of violent video games as a teaching tool.

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Pachter: Big IP Mistakes Could Impact October Sales

November 5, 2012 -

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter says that Electronic Arts and Activision's mismanagement of big first-person shooter titles could end up contributing to another month of "terrible" software sales for the game industry in October. He is referring to Medal of Honor: Warfighter, a game that was supposed to be a major release for EA in October and Activision's 007 Legends, which fared worse than Medal of Honor.

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Activision Rolls Out Call of Duty Dog Tags to Support The Call of Duty Endowment

November 1, 2012 -

Activision is gearing up to sell Call of Duty dog tags at select retailers throughout North America, with the proceeds going to its non-profit charitable organization, the Call of Duty Endowment. The Call of Duty dog tags will carry a suggested retail price of $4.99 and will be for sale beginning today at retailers GameStop, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Best Buy and Target.

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Some Activision Games Lose Online Functionality Because of Hurricane Sandy

October 31, 2012 -

While it is only a minor thing compared to some of the tragic losses (55 people have died so far in the United States, millions are without power and thousands have had their property severely damaged or destroyed) caused by Hurricane Sandy, Activision community manager Dan Amrich points out on his blog that the storm has affected online functionality for all Guitar Hero games and several Call of Duty titles.

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Activision Cuts 30 Jobs at Minneapolis Office

October 31, 2012 -

Activision has confirmed that it has eliminated 30 full-time positions at its Minneapolis office. The Minneapolis Minnesota office was mostly recently responsible for licensed titles such as the Cabela hunting games. The reduction in staff is due to Activision's new strategy for 2013 which will offer substantially fewer licensed titles in 2013.

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Edited Favela Map Returns to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Rotation

October 23, 2012 -

Earlier this month some Muslims in the Call of Duty community complained that the Favela multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was offensive because a painting placed above a toilet had holy teachings written around its frame "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty."

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Mists of Pandaria Pushes World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers Back Over 10 Million

October 4, 2012 -

While many have been keen to point out the continued decline of Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft subscriber numbers, there's some good news for the company today: the latest expansion has given the game a boost past the 10 million subscriber mark. Back in August Blizzard revealed that its paid subscriber numbers had fallen to 9.1 million.

"It’s been gratifying to see the results of all of the work we put into this expansion and to hear all of the positive feedback from players so far," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said.

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No Doubt Agrees to Settle Band Hero Lawsuit against Activision

October 4, 2012 -

The Associated Press reports this morning that the lawsuit between Activision and ska rockers No Doubt has been quietly settled out of court. The lawsuit was related to Activision's game Band Hero allowing the likenesses of the band to sing other songs in the game. Similar lawsuits were filed against Activision for the same issue related to virtual avatars in its Band Hero and Guitar Hero games being used as virtual karaoke singers.

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Analyst: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Early Sales Well Below Expectations

September 28, 2012 -

An analyst at Lazard Capital is telling VentureBeat that early sales indicators on the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, are below expectations. The firm estimates 600-700k copies of the expansion sold at retail since its launch on Tuesday, down a whopping 60 percent from the previous expansion. VentureBeat notes that this estimate probably doesn't take into account digital downloads of the expansion.

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Report: Blizzard Can Track WOW Users Through In-Game Screenshots

September 11, 2012 -

This story on Slashdot Games reveals that screenshots taken in World of Warcraft have secret watermarks that can be used by Blizzard to track users - particularly when they are engaged in behavior considered to be illegal or that violates World of Warcraft's terms of service.

The story began a few days ago when a World of Warcraft players noticed that there was an odd mark on a screenshot he had taken in-game:

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Vivendi Still Considering Sale of Activision Blizzard Holdings, Says Source

September 7, 2012 -

According to a report on C&VG, Vivendi has not ruled out a sale of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard.

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World of Warcraft Access in Iran Cut Off Due to U.S. Trade Sanctions

August 28, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment has been forced to cut off access to its popular MMO World of Warcraft to subscribers in Iran, due to ongoing (in an earlier version of the story we used the term "new" to describe the trade sanctions, which was not accurate.) U.S. trade sanctions against the country. The company issued the following statement to a thread complaining about World of Warcraft not being available in the region:

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Blizzard: No Plans to Raise Level Cap on World of Warcraft Starter Edition

August 23, 2012 -

If you thought the makers of World of Warcraft were sitting around wringing their hands over the trend to rush towards full free-to-play models, think again. Blizzard Entertainment's John Lagrave, the producer for World of Warcraft, tells Computer & Video Games that the company has no plans to raise the level cap for free players above level 20. The company introduced the free Starter Edition of the game in June, which lets players fool around within the virtual world - without too many restrictions - up to level 20.

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Axl Rose's Guitar Hero Lawsuit Moving Forward, Judge Dismisses One Claim

August 16, 2012 -

A hearing was held on Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom for the Axl Rose Guitar Hero lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. The Guns N' Roses lead singer was featured in Guitar Hero III alongside band member Slash, which agitated Rose to no end. The court hearing delivered mixed results for Rose as he tried to move forward with his $20 million lawsuit against the publisher of the game.

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Dehydrated Teenager Hospitalized After 4-Day CoD Marathon

August 8, 2012 -

CBS Cleveland News is reporting that 15-year-old Tyler Rigby has been hospitalized after a 4-day gaming marathon left him severely dehydrated.  Reportedly, the Columbus teen locked himself in his room to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  According to his mother, he emerged for the occasional potty and snack break.

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Diablo III Player Claims $10K Profit from Real Money Auction House

August 7, 2012 -

According to this thread on Reddit (by way of CVG), one poster who remains anonymous claims that he (or she) has managed to make $10,000 from Diablo III virtual item trading using the game's Real Money Auction House.

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An Open Letter from Blizzard to the Diablo III Community

July 19, 2012 -

Blizzard President Mike Morhaime posted a rather lengthy open letter on Battle.net to talk about the launch of Diablo III, the problems associated with that launch, the need for the "always-on" requirement, and what the company has planned for the game in the future.

Morhaime starts by talking about how the launch was a smashing success, but noted that it is hard to predict how the number of players they would have to deal with at launch in advance.

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Report: Vivendi Taps Goldman Sachs and Barclays To Sell Off Activision Blizzard Holdings

July 19, 2012 -

According to a Wall Street Journal report Vivendi has tapped two investment banks to help it sell off the assets of Activision Blizzard. Vivendi wants to unload its majority stake in the company responsible for Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, which WSJ estimates is worth $8.1 billion.

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Blizzard to Add New Limits to Diablo III in the 'Near Future'

July 18, 2012 -

According to a post on the Battle.net forums, Blizzard plans to limit the number of games a player can create within a given timeframe to combat the use of bots. The company did not detail the number of games, nor the time frame in which players would be limited - that roast is still in the proverbial oven. Whatever the parameters are, this change will happen in the "near future."

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World of Warcraft Server Blades Auction Raises $300K for Charity

July 13, 2012 -

World of Warcraft players helped Blizzard raise $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The funds are the result of a charity auction that saw the sale of some retired WOW server hardware put up by Blizzard on eBay earlier this year.

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Treyarch Reveals 'Champion of the 99 Percent' as Villain in Black Ops 2

July 11, 2012 -

Treyarch is diving headfirst into politics with the new villain from Call of Duty Black Ops 2. According to Gameranx the new villain will be Raul Menendez, a man described as a "champion of the 99 percent," who is a lot like Wikileaks front man Julian Assange. In the game Menendez hopes to start a "global insurrection against the status quo."

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Blizzard Details Comic-Con 2012 Plans

July 9, 2012 -

Blizzard did not attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June and it announced that it wouldn't be hosting a BlizzCon event this year, but the company seems to be ramping up its attendance at events that allow actual fans (as opposed to just industry professionals and games journalists) to experience its games and culture first-hand. Recently it announced that it would be in full force at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany later this year, and today it revealed its plans for Comic-Con 2012 in San Diego at the end of this week (July 12 - 15).

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Bobby Kotick Acknowledges the Challenges of Bringing Call of Duty to China

July 6, 2012 -

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick admitted in a recent interview with CNBC Asia’s Squawk Box that bringing Call of Duty Online to market in China is a risky proposition. While Kotick expresses confidence in Tencent Holdings in making the game based on its popular first-person shooter series successful in Mainland China, Kotick also knows that there is a risk when bringing a Western game into a new market with different business models and player tastes.

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Pachter: Vivendi Probably Won't Sell Activision Blizzard

July 3, 2012 -

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has said in a note to investors (PDF) that it is unlikely that Vivendi would sell off Activision Blizzard.

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Activision in Pact With Tencent for Call of Duty Online

July 3, 2012 -

Activision Blizzard has inked a deal with Chinese online games giant Tencent Holdings Limited to bring Call of Duty Online to Chinese players. In its announcement this morning Activision said that Call of Duty Online has been in development by Activision Publishing for approximately two years. Under the multi-year agreement with Activision Publishing, Tencent gains the exclusive licensing rights to operate Call of Duty Online in mainland China. The game is described as free-to-play and uses a monetized in-game store to sell virtual items.

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Andrew EisenI agree than many of the titles are kinda bunk though. For example, Ars Technia's "The death of the 'gamers' and the women who 'killed' them" doesn't really work for the article.07/31/2015 - 4:47pm
Andrew EisenAnd I still don't see how articles like Polygon's "An awful week to care about video games" can be construed as an attack.07/31/2015 - 4:25pm
Andrew Eisen18 total? I've seen several lists and the total has never been above 14. The most popular collection seems to be 9 on Aug. 28 then three more on Aug. 29, Sep. 2 and Sep. 3.07/31/2015 - 4:24pm
Infophile@Goth_Skunk: Your distaste for TMS is noted and given exactly the respect it deserves. The fact that you don't like a site doesn't mean they can't be right. In the linked article, they are.07/31/2015 - 4:06pm
Goth_SkunkAnd the worst volleys are the ones being fired by the kind of people who should be standing up and saying 'Hey! This isn't cool! Stop that!'07/31/2015 - 4:05pm
Goth_SkunkNow let's come full circle: One such confrontationally titled article is easy to dismiss. Within a day, nine similarly titled articles are written. Within 4 more days, nine more articles are written. This can't be ignored. This is a blatant attack.07/31/2015 - 4:04pm
Andrew EisenAnd that's totally fine. I too often skip articles and videos based solely on an unappealing title.07/31/2015 - 3:56pm
Goth_SkunkPersonally, I would not waste time reading an article with such a blatantly confrontational title.07/31/2015 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Depends on how the article was written and what it actually said.07/31/2015 - 3:49pm
Goth_SkunkThis is like going fishing and castign a HUGE net that captures tuna, dolphins, sharks, cod, and salmon when all you really want to capture are clownfish.07/31/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenPerm - If the specific make and model are made clear, I have no problem with the article saving space by refering to them as "these cars" or whatever.07/31/2015 - 3:47pm
Goth_Skunk... Hasbro's widening horizons..." would it not make sense that some would object there is no distinction being made between a reactionary brony and a stable-minded brony?07/31/2015 - 3:47pm
Big PermCars are being recalled because they explode. Editors Note at the end: Not all cars, only this specific make and model07/31/2015 - 3:46pm
Andrew EisenI still feel it was clear that they were admonishing a particular and very specific type of gamer. It's why I had no problem with any of the articles (especially since about half of them weren't really about "gamers" anyway).07/31/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_Skunk@Andrew: If a columnist had written a "Bronies Are Dead" article, but in the article stated: "Note: I'm not talking about every guy who watches MLP or who self-identifies as a brony, just the type of reactionary holdouts that feel so threatened by..."07/31/2015 - 3:45pm
benohawkYou would if you didn't care.07/31/2015 - 3:43pm
Big PermIf you're referring to a certain subset of gamers, you wouldn't refer to that subset under the umbrella term of gamer. Or at least I wouldn't, because I think that's ridiculous.07/31/2015 - 3:42pm
benohawkI buy it, I think they honestly have no problem with most gamers. But it was more important to get links and page views, so gamers were a whipping boy for the media again.07/31/2015 - 3:41pm
Big PermI won't defend people going too far with harassment or email campaigns, but I also won't say they're in the wrong for feeling hostility towards their identity.07/31/2015 - 3:41pm
Andrew EisenI do. I felt the articles made it very clear who specifically the authors were referring to.07/31/2015 - 3:41pm
 

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