Leading the pack: Activision Blizzard’s 2012 prospects

Friday, 25th May 2012 09:20 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Despite a perception that Activision Blizzard leans solely on its largest properties, the giant has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for the coming couple of years.

There’s no hiding the fact that Activision has tightened its focus to huge, safe bets, but, unlike some of the other major players, it has a solid plan in mind which remains quite independent of new hardware.

Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer still have their hands full producing Modern Warfare 3 DLC, which is likely to be extended as long as it continues to sell like hotcakes – which will probably be several months yet.

Licensed games have a poor reputation but Activision has two good ones for the summer. Beenox seems to be doing some clever things with The Amazing Spider-man, having been given a free hand to do as it liked. The open-world adventure is expected in June, alongside the next movie.

In August, we’ll see Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. It’s not a movie tie-in, but continues High Moon’s own Transformers canon; the latest developer diary certainly makes it look like a love letter to the IP.

In the autumn, Activision will continue to build on its newest success in the form of Skylanders: Giants. Last year’s massive toy-and-game gamble really paid off, to the point that Activision now rates Skylanders alongside Call of Duty, so expect a big marketing push, spin-offs and more.

Speaking of big guns, the heavyweight is, of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, due in November 2012. It should be noted that Activision doesn’t just rely on the franchise’s regular sales performance (which has hit tens of millions three times in a row) but also its ongoing digital proliferation as a service, as Elite helps drive continuing engagement – and DLC sales.

It’s a small but solid line-up for the rest of calendar 2012, having already kicked off well with Diablo III. Looking on, Blizzard is expected to drop a bomb before the end of the year in the form of World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria expansion.

Although the full import may not be as obvious to the consumer, Blizzard will probably also launch the Arcade this year. This digital marketplace has the potential to go massive, and Blizzard has it lined up alongside the likes of Diablo III’s auction house as part of its online money-making strategy.

Moving onto calendar 2013, things get much hazier. Blizzard has a number of projects which may or may not surface, as the publisher, more than practically any other, works to its own schedule. We’ll probably get Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. The RTS, increasingly important to eSports, is growing serious financial legs again.

Although it’s not a major release as such, Blizzard All-Stars (recently known as Blizzard DOTA) is going to be an important part of the modding and MOBA communities, and maps created for it will form part of the upcoming Arcade.

It will be hugely surprising if we don’t see both a new Call of Duty and a new Skylanders during 2013, and according to recent information we’ll finally find out what Bungie’s been up to all this post-Halo time, with the first (potentially Xbox-exclusive) Destiny.

That’s not the only reveal we should see from Activision Blizzard over the next few years, though; the twin publisher has several known but unannounced projects on the go which should be reaching maturation. For one thing, there’s the long awaited new Blizzard MMO, codenamed Titan.

Former DJ Hero developer FreeStyle Games is working on a secret new project, while Vicarious Visions has at least three.

Perhaps most excitingly, Neversoft has been toiling away on a new shooter for quite some time, as job ads confirm – although there’s some question as to whether the studio may be jobbing for Destiny or Call of Duty.

Finally, Prototype 2′s reasonable but not stellar performance means Radical Entertainment may find itself without a sequel to lead into; the studio is hiring for DLC support, probably for Prototype 2, but also a couple of concept artists, suggesting it may be working up a brand new pitch.

There’s no hiding the fact that Activision has tightened its focus to huge, safe bets, but, unlike some of the other major players, it has a solid plan in mind which remains quite independent of new hardware. Blizzard’s PC focus and hugely loyal fanbase positions it perfectly to manage the console hardware transition, and Activison can count on platform holders to woo the Call of Duty juggernaut. Trust Uncle Kotick and Grandpa Morhaime; Acti Blizz will weather the sto- no, I just can’t do it.



  1. Judicas

    Actually Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm is supposedly due out this year along with WoW : Mists of Pandaria.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    SCII: HOTS won’t be this year for 100%

    Not enough information and there is no reason to sell it this year.
    This year is about Diablo III.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Chris2pher_Jack

    Well last night I finally bought BF3 from the store & I was happy… Until it installed Origin, dealing with that has been one of the more frustrating experiences I’ve had with PC gaming ever, firstly it refused to install the game because I wasn’t the admin, which is bullshit, I am,I also had UAC off so I did the usual bullshit that Windows 7 forces me to do too often & clicked ‘Run as Administrator’, still had the same ‘not admin’ message bs, so I after 2 more frustrating hours, multiple reboots, etc, it FINALLY starts to work, so as the BF3 install starts, I notice it’s doing it at a frustratingly pathetic 10-15KBps- it’s actually downloading through the fucking internet, & for a 15GB game at that speed, I’d die of old age. Only a few mins ago did I get it to finally install through the fucking disk, so far I’m getting 7MBps & it’s half way done, hopefully I have no more problems during the installing & if/when I finally start to play.
    Fuck EA.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    @3 EA != Activision.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Chris2pher_Jack

    I know, wrong page. Happier with ActiVision but only because they aren’t shoving a shitty service down my throat. I don’t like the way they handle CoD, nor do I like that they cancelled True Crime.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    So lets cut out all the chaff and see what we have here :

    Movie tie-in
    Licensed toy tie in
    Gimmick toy cash generator much like He-man

    Fantastic! what a fucking amazing selection of games. With its position as the largest publisher on the fucking planet Acti really is spoiling us with this fine selection.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. AHA-Lambda

    Yeah their line up isn’t exactly surprising at this point anymore:

    Call of Duty
    licensed IP

    Although, I’m not going to complain, I like CoD and I’m interested to see what Destiny brings to the table.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. jdfoster00

    Read this on Activision VS Jason West and zampella … Absolutely disgusting… I refuse to buy an Activision game after reading this

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Sini

    There are diablo 3 expansions planned in 2013 and in 2014

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    @8 So two guys sit down – with their lawyer – for an interview in a big online games medium… That’s not cause for skepticism at all.

    Really, I’m pretty sure Activision tried to fuck them over, it wouldn’t surprise me, but if these guys were actual journalists, they’d be liable for review by any half decent journalist’s association.

    And I’m pretty sure they’d get slammed, and forced to publicly repudiate that article, and run a piece that hears the opposite side of the story.

    As a journalist you are not allowed to do articles that only represents one point of view of something like a court case, especially when it has serious consequences (like you not wanting to buy that company’s games anymore) and doubly so when that point of view comes from two guys and their lawyer. It’s really the cornerstone of journalism that you hear both sides. Even if Activision declined, you’d be obligated to, at the very least, find a qualified, independent observer to balance your piece.

    It’s called fairness, or journalistic objectivity, which is really almost synonymous with journalistic integrity.

    Sadly a lot of games “journalists” aren’t actually journalists. So they may not be obligated to follow the rules, or educated enough to do a decent job of it apparently.

    Thanks to Eurogamers clueless microphone-holder, you basically have a lawyer being allowed to make his closing argument in public (often using the very phrase “Activision says…” without actually allowing Activision to say anything themselves).

    It’s not even close to satisfying any standard of journalistic objectivity.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. GwynbleiddiuM

    I guess the purpose of that interview was to hear Zampella and West’s side of the story, we have heard enough of what activision was claiming. So in the interest of fairness it wasn’t a totally biased interview, of course they could ask some hard questions and they didn’t, but this was an interview. of course I’m not trying to tell you the difference, but this was just an interview and GI did’t draw any conclusions, unless there’s more than that, in that case I didn’t know.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. DSB

    @11 A standalone interview with Zampella and West should never include their lawyer. That’s not investigating on behalf of the public interest, that’s simply allowing someone to push their agenda before a big court case. And this quite obviously includes several paragraphs full of what’s meant to be legal reasoning, so it’s not like they’re sitting down for a chat about what their favourite dish is.

    What would you think if Bobby Kottick showed up on MSNBC with the head of his legal team? Probably something along the lines of “You fat corporate retard, letting your legal nanny choose your words for you”. I know I would, and this is absolutely no different.

    The greater part of the interview is basically them giving their version of what happened. You can’t possibly print that without at least trying to balance it.

    It doesn’t matter if Activisions case is part of the public record, this is Game Informers piece, it needs to be part of it. I haven’t seen any interviews with the Activision legal team, or any of their main people. Game Informer are printing this, in their medium, and it’s their responsibility to present it with integrity.

    Of course I was wrong in putting that on Eurogamer. It is of course Game Informer, but what a bunch of bumbling fucking amateurs, though.

    This is seriously something you’d learn about in the first day of even the most basic course in journalism. Truth and accountability are the cornerstones of the profession. Two guys and their lawyer is at most 50% of the truth, with regards to a story on any court case.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Judicas

    @9 where you pull that info from? you wearing a magic hat or something?

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Kabby

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Mystic Sage

    When are they going to make Diablo 3 for consoles!?!?! Make it happen pleeeeeeease!

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Maximum Payne

    @15 If they work so long on just PC which they are familiar with, imagine how long will they work on consoles without modified engine,controls,network…

    #16 3 years ago
  17. GwynbleiddiuM

    @15 well we have a classic case of StarCraft: Ghost here, it might look very apparent and real but at the same time it has a great chance to never see the light.

    #17 3 years ago

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