Ron Nakada, a Senior Software Engineer at Blizzard Entertainment who is battling through Stage IV colon cancer is probably feeling a little better today. Yesterday we urged our readers to donate to Ron's cause and they responded with generosity and kindness. That story and a subsequent story about Ron's plight on Kotaku have helped drive the fundraising campaign from a little over $2000 to nearly $10,000 in one day.
Ron Nakada, a Senior Software Engineer at Blizzard Entertainment was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer six months ago. Doctors told him at the time that the cancer had metastasized to his liver, lungs and lymph nodes. While Ron is fighting for his life with all the determination and strength he can muster, his medical bills and expenses are ramping up and he needs our help.
An interesting report in the LA Business Journal (citing a Bloomberg report) says that Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick allegedly threatened to quit as Activision Blizzard’s top executive if the board didn't accept his buyout plan to re-secure Vivendi’s stake in the company. This little morsel of information - which Activision Blizzard has not publicly commented on as of this writing - comes from claims in a shareholder lawsuit over the deal.
Dustin Browder, who is the game director on Heroes of the Storm, has made a public apology for his seemingly terse comments during an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun about the sexualization of female characters in the upcoming online team brawler featuring popular Blizzard game characters.
Activision Blizzard has closed a deal to buy back shares from France-based conglomerate Vivendi a day after a Delaware Supreme Court judge lifted an injunction on the plan put on the deal by a lower court judge in response to several shareholder lawsuits.
With the deal complete Activision Blizzard now has a controlling interest in itself. Activision Blizzard now owns $5.83 billion of stock, with CEO Bobby Kotick and his partners owning $2.34 billion. Vivendi's stake has been reduced significantly to 12 percent.
The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that put a temporary injunction on Activision Blizzard‘s plan to buy back most of Vivendi’s stake in the video game maker for $8.2 billion.
With the injunction lifted, Activision Blizzard can move forward with the plan. In a hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for Activision Blizzard argued that the provision was inapplicable, since it applied only to a merger, while the company’s plan was a stock repurchase.
In what can only be described as ironic, Activision Blizzard has filed a lawsuit against Worlds, Inc. for patent infringement. In its lawsuit, the World of Warcraft maker says that Worlds, Inc. has violated two of its patents that relate to navigating a 3D space and the interaction of objects with a 3D space. The irony is that Worlds, Inc. sued NCSoft - a lawsuit the two companies settled in April of 2010 - related to scalable chat systems and another one related to interacting in a virtual space.
Activision Blizzard will take its fight against shareholders trying to block a deal to become independent from majority stakeholder Vivendi before Delaware's Supreme Court next month, according to Reuters. Lawyers for the company hope to overturn a lower court's surprise decision earlier this month to halt the video game company's planned $8.2 billion deal with French media conglomerate Vivendi SA.
A Delaware Chancery Court has issued a preliminary injunction against a plan that would see Activision Blizzard separate itself from parent company Vivendi with a stock repurchase program. The court blocked the deal after multiple lawsuits were filed by shareholders seeking to block the deal. The transaction will be halted until its terms are modified on appeal or the transaction is approved by a shareholder vote of "non-Vivendi stockholders."
Late Night with Conan O'Brien tackles Diablo III in a segment featuring the Barbarian and Demon Hunter classes frolicking in the early part of the game. The voice-overs chatter on about smores, micro-brews, auctions, and roaring fires, along with copious amounts of somersaulting.
"For such a dark, gritty game, it seems to feature a lot of lighthearted somersaulting," notes the description of the video on YouTube.
I think Team Coco may have captured the essence of Blizzard's action RPG better than anyone else has yet... Watch the video to your left.
An artbook of video game fan art is being put together to help raise money for a Blizzard game artist who is suffering from a rare form of cancer. Kevin Kanai Griffith, who currently works as an artist on Diablo III at Blizzard Entertainment, has been fighting an unusual form of cancer known as Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma (ASPS) for more than 12 months. There's no cure or clear treatment for this type of cancer, which means that treatment options are fairly expensive because they are likely experimental.
Activision Blizzard shareholder Todd Miller filed a derivative lawsuit on Thursday against the company and other parties associated with an $8.17 billion deal to buy back a controlling interest from major stakeholder Vivendi. In his lawsuit filed in Superior Court, Miller claims that the deal to buy back stock from Vivendi gives "insiders" a windfall of more than $600 million on the discounted sale of stock from Vivendi, while Activision Blizzard shareholders get no enrichment from the deal.
The latest update for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm goes a step in the right direction for those players who are color blind. Blizzard Entertainment announced plans to release update 2.0.10 for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm later this week that will add a new color blind mode and some new eSports features.
The new color blind mode alternates the colors that are used to designate players and shows the build grid when the "Display Build Grid" message is enabled. The minimap terrain is also darkened to show more visual contrast between units and terrain.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward S. Williams says that Activision Blizzard's plan to buy back its shares from Vivendi is a good thing and has reiterated his firm's rating of "outperform." Last night Activision Blizzard announced that - with its own cash on hand and investments from outside sources - it would buy back a total of 601 million shares from Vivendi to the tune of $8.2 billion.
As part of its announcement this morning that it would break the iron grip of Vivendi's controlling interest, Activision Blizzard revealed that World of Warcraft subscriber numbers have fallen to 2007 levels. The number of paying World of Warcraft monthly subscribers has dropped to 7.7 million, according to Activision Blizzard. That's close to what the game had in 2007 before The Burning Crusade helped it break into the 8 million subscriber mark.
Blizzard is celebrating three years of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty being available by giving players some special treats. For a limited time it is unlocking all three of the game's races (Humans, Protoss and Zerg) in the Starter Edition of the game, offering a new wallpaper, and increasing XP gains for a limited time by around 25 percent. Here's more from Battle.net:
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Vivendi may force Activision Blizzard to pay a special dividend that would give the company $2 - $3 billion to help it pay down some of its debt. The company's board will discuss the move at a regular meeting on Monday and may seek Activison's board members to approve it at a meeting later this week, WSJ claims in its report. Since six of eleven Activision board members are from the Vivendi group or its units such a vote would likely be approved.
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:
Blizzard seems to be having a hell of a time with its online auction houses lately.
Last month, a Diablo III patch introduced a gold-duplicating bug that forced the developer to take the game's auction house offline until it could fix the bug and audit players' accounts.
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.
It's been a year since Blizzard launched Diablo III to the masses, and even though it struggled in the beginning because the game requires a constant connection in order to play (and servers were constantly going down during the launch window), players eventually were able to play and enjoy the game.
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.
In Episode 51 hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the possible name of the next Xbox console from Microsoft, two studies about violent video games, Iron Man 3, the Diablo III gold duping exploit introduced in the last update to the game, and some other equally delightful topics related to video games. Download Episode 51 now: SuperPAC Episode 51 (1 hour, 15 minutes) 68.7 MB.
Blizzard is turning a bad situation into a good one by donating the money made from a money duping bug in the real money auction to a children's charity. Diablo III production director John Hight announced via the game's official forums this weekend the charitable contribution to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. He said that those who made money of the exploit would have their ill-gotten gains donated as well as its transaction fee that it charges in the real-money auction for the game. The company did not disclose just how much money was made off of the glitch:
Blizzard announced that it will keep the Diablo III auction houses offline for awhile longer as it deals with the aftermath of a gold duping bug that was introduced in a patch released earlier this week. While the nasty little bug that saw a handful of users take advantage and create trillions of in-game gold has been squashed, Blizzard tells the community that it needs a little more time to audit players who may have used the exploit and made transactions in the auction houses.
The new Diablo III update has caused the game's in-game economy to go a little bit crazy after some enterprising (unscrupulous?) players found and exploited a gold duping bug. The problems with the game's economy forced Blizzard to shut down the game's auction house temporarily. According to some reports, the problems with the patch have enabled some players to generate "trillions" in gold. One post in the Battle.net forums claims that a user managed to amass a whopping 371 trillion gold using the exploit.