Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Coming Storm

In my previous post, I brought the marketing and merchandising juggernaut that is Activision-Blizzard.

We know that among the new marketing/sales agendas that the recently merged company has implemented includes quarterly tracking of profits. I don't mean the obvious "are things still selling strong?". I mean the new "What can we do to further increase our profits even though we have no reason on God's green Earth to ever want for another red cent?"

The answer, of course, is to increase the quantity of product releases. Which, of course, does not necessarily mean an increase in quality. There is a line of balance between quantity and quality and it is very easy to cross that line one way or the other. Activision-Blizzard has obviously chosen to go with quantity. Over the next twelve months (or so) we will see the release of three Starcraft II games, Diablo III, World of Warcraft's third expansion, and Blizzard's second MMO.

Then what?

Normally, Blizzard would slowly work on the next high-quality item which might take one or two years more to release. But with the more profit-oriented Activision-Blizzard at the helm of all the Blizzard products, we are seeing the trend of more quantity released more quickly to fulfill quarterly profit goals. That means we will see a deluge of merchandising online and offline, and also either a storm of sequels to the top sellers or a whirlwind of new products and franchises.

Some of these upcoming releases will not be the hits that Blizzard is known for.

Does Blizzard have the back bone and resources to pull out of their deal with Activision if it seems their reputation is being diminished? Would they even want to? There is a lot of money being made since the two merged.

Wait and see, wait and see.

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