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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
 
An Insider's View Of The Activision Blizzard Merger
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

WoW Insider recently posted a new article examining the merger of Activision and Blizzard Entertainment. The piece offers a former Blizzard employee's perspective on the new company as well as some of the rumors and fears surrounding the merger.

So if most publishers control what their developers produce, does Activision control what Blizzard does?
No. There are obviously certain considerations, such as funding, that a developer must be aware of when making their game, but Blizzard is in a unique situation in that they (and WoW) are such a cash cow that any A-B interference would likely result in an inferior product -- and, subsequently, lower sales. They know that Blizzard does things right, and will continue to do so in the known future, resulting in greater profits for the publisher.

What's up with this money-making scheme of releasing Starcraft II as three games? This is because of their post-merger greed, right?
I've been hearing this a lot lately. Even our own Mike Schramm commented that the Blizzard that let people play Warcraft 2 on Battle.net for free isn't the same Blizzard that's releasing three Starcraft II games.
This really, really confuses me. Why would anyone familiar with Blizzard's work be put off by them releasing expansions? Because that's exactly what the last two Starcraft II titles will be -- expansions. One will add the Zerg campaign and one will add the Protoss campaign, as well as likely multiplayer additions and enhancements to the experience. The single-player campaign for each game will be incredibly robust as well, with tons of in-game engine cinematics and branching events. 
Devs explained to me that they had three choices once they realized the depth of the Terran campaign:
- Shorten and pare down each campaign, resulting in campaigns about as long as Warcraft III, and release it as one game.
- Make the campaigns as robust as possible and release the Protoss and Zerg campaigns in expansions.
- Put everything in on game exactly how they want it and have Starcraft II come out in 2014.

They said the the choice was obvious, and I agree. It's about delivering the player the best experience.

Won't this merger result in a lot of stupid cross-promotions?
Probably. Activision isn't known for its advertising or marketing subtlety. We dealt with it a little at work -- Activision sent us a ton of copies of Guitar Hero Aerosmith that none of us really cared about (but hey, extra Rock Band guitar, right?), as well as posters in the office with Activision desperately trying to equate our flagship properties with their licensed crap. Yes, Activision, clearly Zeratul is on the same level as the main character from Kung Fu Panda.
The best I can hope for is that we'll never see World of Warcraft advertised on KFC combo meal boxes. Blizzard seems to consider the insulation of the WoW universe important, which is why we'll likely never see in-game advertising or "Lars Umlaut " as an NPC.
To read the entire article click over to the page linked below.

WoW Insider: Activision-Blizzard Is Not Blizzard
Activision
Blizzard Entertainment


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