Activision Blizzard is losing ground as we know it. Why? Two of their biggest franchises have finally kicked the bucket in sales. This is in part due to the fact of what I call “franchise fatigue” where publishers push to many games of the same franchise. Franchise fatigue is common with ActivisionBlizzard because they bank mainly on solid franchises each year and rarely push new franchises. Tony Hawk which had dominated the skateboarding video game market since the dawn of the playstation is now being beaten out by new competitor Skate from EA. Guitar Hero which dominated the music game genre is now fading out to its rival RockBand. With two big name franchises knocked out (but still on life support) what new game will be the bread winner for ActivisionBlizzard.
Activision Blizzard has already attempted in 2010 to produce another franchise in which they did not already corner the market. Bizzare Creation’s Blur was supposed to be Activision Blizzard’s ticket into the racing game genre. The game was solid with real racing cars and mario kart like power ups. Game reviewers loved it for the most part getting a total metacritic score of 82 out of 100. Blur sold well but not well enough for the company and ActivisionBlizzard has already made plans to sell Bizzare Creations.
What genre does Activsion Blizzard dominate? They already corner the first person shooter genre with Call of Duty which has had a game release every year since Modern Warfare. EA’s new Medal of Honor game has tried to stand toe to toe with Call of Duty but still has come nowhere close in terms of sales. If you check Major Nelson’s Blog you can see how much Call of Duty dominates the Xbox Live. As of December sixth the top two Xbox Live games has Black Ops in first and Modern Warfare 2 in second. If that is not shocking older titles like Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare beat even newer titles such as Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, Fallout: New Vegas, Red Dead Redemption, and Battlefield Bad Co. 2.
Activision Blizzard also has a large chunk of the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) market. World of Warcraft (WoW) dominates over most MMOs because of the shear size of it’s fan base. It is not just popular in the USA but also dominates many european and asian countries. Marketing has played a big role as Mr.T and Ozzy Osbourne have appeared in commercials showing off their in game avatar as well. WoW is now even sold at your local 7-11 for $4.99. WoW has gone further than most MMOs because it has broken into pop culture which most MMOs have not done since EverQuest.
Activision Blizzard I believe is banking on their new partnership with Bungie to create a new franchise. Bungie has already proven itself to the gaming community with the Halo series and hope to do it again by developing cross platforms with ActivisionBlizzard. What game Bungie is making no one knows but will probably break new ground in something that ActivisionBlizzard has not already done. If anyone is capable of making a new franchise Bungie is safe investment for ActivisionBlizzard.
In closing with the death comes birth. Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk can be compared to modern day sports stars. Once they hit the top it is hard for them to know when to quit and get taken out by injuries because of old age (Tony Hawk Shred and Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock). With old stars fading it is only natural new stars to take their place.Why Activision Blizzard needs another franchise?,