Bungie Signs 10-Year Exclusivity Deal With Activision

By on April 29, 2010 12:01:52 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

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BUNGIE AND ACTIVISION ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE, WORLDWIDE PARTNERSHIP

10-Year Alliance Expands Global Reach for Leading Game Developer Across Multiple Platforms

Kirkland, WA and Santa Monica, CA — April 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Bungie, the developer of blockbuster game franchises including Halo, Myth and Marathon, and Activision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the #1 online games publisher (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that they have entered into an exclusive 10-year partnership to bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices.

Activision will broaden its portfolio with a new franchise from one of the industry’s most creative, successful and proven studios, whose games have sold more than 25 million units worldwide. To date, Bungie’s Halo games have generated approximately $1.5 billion in revenues, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and GfK. Activision expects this agreement to be accretive to its operating margins as of the release of the first game.

“We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise,” said Harold Ryan, President of Bungie. “From working together over the past nine months on this agreement, it is clear that Activision supports our commitment to giving our fans the best possible gaming experiences.”

“Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade,” stated Thomas Tippl, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.”

Members of the media can visit Activision’s Broadcast Media Center to download broadcast quality video, web-ready video and high-resolution images. Members of the media using Pathfire can take advantage of a Pathfire enabled video download. Sound bites from Thomas Tippl and Harold Ryan along with b-roll footage regarding today’s announcement are available for download. Broadcast Media Center: http://www.usngondemand.com/index.php.

About Bungie
Bungie, now 180 employees strong, was founded in 1991 with two simple goals: develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, compelling stories and deep gameplay, and sell enough copies to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon Trilogy” and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action franchise that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 25 million units worldwide, spawning best-selling novels and award winning soundtracks. Players have logged nearly 2 billion hours of multiplayer action over Xbox LIVE, created millions of pieces of user created content, and established a ravenous fan community. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

About Activision Publishing
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Publishing, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.

Activision Publishing maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and the region of Taiwan. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company’s website, www.activision.com.


Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Activision Publishing’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Activision Publishing generally uses words such as “outlook,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “might,” “remains,” “to be,” “plans,” “believes,” “may,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimate,” “future,” “plan,” “positioned,” “potential,” “project,” “remain,” “scheduled,” “set to,” “subject to,” “upcoming” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause Activision Publishing’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Activision Publishing’s titles, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, Activision Publishing’s ability to predict consumer preferences among competing hardware platforms, declines in software pricing, product returns and price protection, product delays, retail acceptance of Activision Publishing’s products, competition from the used game market, adoption rate and availability of new hardware (including peripherals) and related software, industry competition and competition from other forms of entertainment, rapid changes in technology, industry standards and consumer preferences, including interest in specific genres such as music, first-person action and massively multiplayer online games, protection of proprietary rights, litigation against Activision Publishing, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, licensees, licensors, vendors and third-party developers, including the ability to attract, retain and develop key personnel and developers which can create high quality “hit” titles, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates and tax rates, and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities, and the other factors identified in the risk factors section of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Activision Publishing and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Activision Publishing nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Activision Publishing or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

Also Bungie told Eurogamer that the Infinity Ward fiasco hadn't made them nervous about partnering with Activision.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/bungie-iw-plight-didnt-make-us-nervous

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April 29, 2010 1:02:52 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You mean Bungies executives told that to eurogamer while receiving piles of cash.  The actual developers are busy saying 'oh shit...'

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April 29, 2010 1:25:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Dealing with the devil can be a rewarding experince - if your into derivative console experinces that rely on out of date deesign.

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April 29, 2010 1:55:10 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Unless the devil never pays you.

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April 30, 2010 1:04:21 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

If you read it, it isn't an exclusivity agreement for everything, just one specific product line that hasn't come out yet for a 10 year period...Bungie can still work on other games for other companies. And Activision gets only exclusive publishing rights ro whatever this IP ends up being...Bungie retains ownership over the IP.

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April 30, 2010 2:53:23 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

This is the kind of publishing deal you'd wished you'd entered into with James Cameron before he dropped Avatar on the world.  If the product in question sells a metric 'fucking shitload' then the Publisher, in this case Activision, sees a great return on their investment while having to do very little besides sell the product, which isn't hard when you're dealing with top tier and well known talent who's name is as well known as their products.

Bungie, Valve and Blizzard are about the only development companies in the world who could've entered into this kind of agreement because it so heavily favours the developer - basically, Activision see a small percentage of the profits in exchange for handling everything except making the game.  The fact that Activision, who focus on the bottom line for the next quarter above anything else, entered into this agreement means one of two things: 1. Bungie have another world wide smash hit series on their hands thats going to make the success of the Halo series look like a casual day at the office and Activision got in on the ground level, or 2. Activision are banking on Halo's success as proof that Bungie can and will deliver another world wide smash hit series thats going to make the success of the Halo series look like a casual day at the office.  The third possibility is that Activision's legal team can run circles around Bungie's, and have a rock solid, iron clad loop-hole built into the contract that Bungie can't see or don't believe will ever eventuate that allows Activision either rights to the IP, it's profits or to Bungie itself.

Activision are the biggest publisher on the planet, and they're who you want selling your game for you if you want it to be a world wide smash hit.  However, as Activision have now replaced EA as the worst company in the Video Game business and are enjoying a PR smear the likes of which haven't been seen since Spore landed and pissed on its entire customer base, Bungie's next game can't just be good, or even simply great or amazing; it needs to be perfect, otherwise the 'Activision' logo on the box is going to scare off any educated gamers.

A great day for Activision, a bad day for everyone else including Bungie.

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April 30, 2010 6:46:05 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting ZehDon,


Activision are the biggest publisher on the planet, and they're who you want selling your game for you if you want it to be a world wide smash hit.  However, as Activision have now replaced EA as the worst company in the Video Game business and are enjoying a PR smear the likes of which haven't been seen since Spore landed and pissed on its entire customer base, Bungie's next game can't just be good, or even simply great or amazing; it needs to be perfect, otherwise the 'Activision' logo on the box is going to scare off any educated gamers.

A great day for Activision, a bad day for everyone else including Bungie.

Well I know there are IW employees oozing out of Activision at an unbelievable rate complete with a lawsuit, but what is it they are doing against gamers that is worst than Ubisoft? Yes I know about the dedicated servers or lack of, but in general, what's going on with their games? I honestly don't know as I might be an exception to the rule since I have't purchased or played one of their games since I think... SWAT 4 which is theirs now but I don't think it was at the time I was playing.

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April 30, 2010 7:36:31 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Call of Duty 7.

 

Its probably going to be really fun too. And I have to buy it. Damn Activision bastards.

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April 30, 2010 8:47:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think this sucks really. Bungie has always made games of a pretty decent Quality. I think the first Bungie game I played was "Myth: The Fallen Lords" which was a Awesome war game. As for Activision, they've made some awesome games, but, they've also made some crap games I wouldn't touch with a ten foot stick. Activision is also the current "bad boy" of the industry as they are taking the place of being hated that EA had just a short year or two ago.

Bad form Bungie....bad form.

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May 3, 2010 1:08:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If Activision wants to salvage their image at this point, they really need to lose Bobby Kotick.  The man flat out stated in an interview that the only thing his company cares about is money, that his company will only focus on game franchises that can be churned out every year, and he'd gouge his customers even more if he could.  While this is the same policy they have at EA, they at least know enough about PR there to avoid admitting it publicly.

It takes some skill to become more hated than EA or Ubisoft, but Activision have proven to be up to the challenge.  A shame they're dragging down Blizzard's name by association, much like Bioware after EA bought them.

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May 3, 2010 9:23:05 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Nesrie,
...but what is it they are doing against gamers that is worst than Ubisoft? Yes I know about the dedicated servers or lack of, but in general, what's going on with their games? I honestly don't know as I might be an exception to the rule since I have't purchased or played one of their games since I think... SWAT 4 which is theirs now but I don't think it was at the time I was playing.

This is a long answer, but hopefully should answer this question.

EA like to charge the standard amount for a game, but strip it of features and then sell those features back to their customers as expansion packs or DLC (see SPORE and The Sims).  They are also waging a war on the second hand games market (see Biowares recent releases) with release day DLC.  They have generally terrible customer support and their patches often break more things than they fix, although this is changing of late.  Their release day DLC will have negative effects on the industry as a whole, however the attach rate for their post-release DLC is fairly low according to released figures, and they've shown a willingness to learn recently so I'm prepared to ease off the beatings for a while.
Generally speaking, however, EA is learning that bad PR and word of mouth screw you over faster than piracy any day and they're actually producing decent games lately - for example, Bad Company 2 is actually pretty damn good.  They've pulled themselves out of meddling with their developers with their Partnership program (see newly formed 'Respawn') meaning they'll soon be producing quality games again.  They also tried the 'yearly installment on everything they own' road (see Need for Speed) and actually learnt that it simply makes people burn out on your games and so have dropped that (see Need for Speed Shift).  They also tried the DRM route (see Spore) and have eased up a fair bit on that front as well (see Biowares recent releases) however they are almost single handedly responsible for making DRM as widespread as it is.  They're still not off the hook, but they're learning.  Although it may release over-priced DLC, as yet none of it is game breaking; it's simply shit DLC.  SPORE seems to be their biggest mistake, as they had apparently planned to release many expansion packs like they do with The Sims, but appear to have dropped the idea after Galactic Civilisations failed to sell enough copies due to the cold reception from gamers for the base game of SPORE.
EA are learning, albeit slowly.

Ubisoft do make decent games - the newest Splinter Cell is actually very good, if very short and Assassin's Creed II is the text-book definition of how to do a sequel right - however they screw over the PC crowd almost exclusively by dropping support for their games a year after release and leaving them in a broken mess (see the original Splinter Cell games).  Their DRM is also mind-bendingly retarded, and is leading to fairly low PC sales and a massive following for their games which they've labelled as 'un-crackable'.  Their guilty of bad business practices, however their efforts are clearly unloved by gamers (see anything with Ubisoft's name since Assassin's Creed II's PC debut) and they'll either drop support for PC entirely (see the newest Splinter Cell) because they're terrible at porting, or they'll learn through their lack of sales (see EA Games).  Their efforts aren't having industry wide repercussions; they're simply screwing themselves over in the long term.

Activision Blizzard, however, doesn't just screwing over it's customers, they're screwing the entire industry willingly, publically and with un-ashmed greed, and they're laughing all the way to the bank.
It isn't just guilty of bad business practices (see anything related to Modern Warfare 2, including the legal whirlwind regarding it's Developer 'Infinity Ward') it's also guilty of blazing a very, very bad trail that many others might follow since it clearly works.  Since it's merger with the once loved Blizzard, Activision is home to nearly all of the largest names in PC Gaming minus a few, such as The Sims and Half-Life.  With the legal-money-printing that is Blizzard's titles on their books, Activision are free to rape the entire games industry without fear of going out of business.  Yearly installments of all of their franchises (including the up-coming Starcraft II, which will feature two additional expansion packs spaced a year apart each) without exception have led to a stagnating industry; we're seeing sequel after rehash after clone year after year now, and it's these titles that are given massive marketing campaigns and the most coverage because Activison Blizzard simply are the biggest name in town.  It's hard to bring them down when every Blizzard release is going to keep them afloat for the next year regardless of how shitty their franchises have become (see Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, etc.) or how badly they treat their Developers (see Infinity Ward, etc.) and how many Guitar Hero spin offs they dream up (see DJ Hero, Band Hero, etc.).  EA was nearly guilty of raping the industry - I say nearly, because the backlash financially made them sit up and take notice, and instead of raping the retail market, they're raping the optional DLC one instead which is still bad, but not as bad because it can be ignored.  Activision Blizzard are now showing that it doesn't matter how bad your games are or how much you charge as long as you release them every year and give them a good marketing spin and hype build up, they'll sell.  They're also raising the cost of the industry as a whole; DLC, Retail prices - they're marking less creative games, releasing them every year, charging more for them and giving less content and then releasing over-priced DLC and proving that it can all work as long as you give them hype. 
They're changing the entire industry for the worst.  Imagine if every game cost AU$120.00 (US$90.00) at retail, lasted only 5 hours and featured buggy, laggy multiplayer and over-priced DLC.  Now imagine that they ensured that the Developer made the game in a manner to ensure that it couldn't be modded so that no one could make custom content, no one could make a fan-patch and that no-one could fix the connectivity problems with their custom servers; all of which will never be fixed because they fired the Developers so they didn't have to pay royalties, then handed the IP over to a new Developer and got them to make a new one next year and repeat the entire cycle, only charging slightly more and giving slightly less.  Now, imagine if every magazine, TV channel and Movie had advertisements for that game, and that those games were the only games available on the shelves.  This is the future envisoned by Activision's Bobby Kotick, and he's using Blizzard's success to fund it.  This is why Activision, and by extension Activision Blizzard, are currently the worst company in the industry.  The scary thing is it's working; and with Starcraft II set for a July release, Activision are about to see more record breaking profits so that they can continue raping the industry.

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May 4, 2010 12:27:59 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Intersting take on the three of them. I agree with many of them except EA. I thought EA just released something that pretty much says they're not done toying with DRM yet, Comand and Conquer maybe...?.

As for Activision, the fans of Starcraft don't seem as concerned about getting their game in three pieces as I thought they would be. I know sales isn't necessarily acceptance (well it is in my book but I seem to be the minority there). The lack of mods, I am assuming you are referring to MW2. See my experience with Activision and Blizzard has pretty much been nil since Diabloe II and I am not 100% for activision which might explain why I wasn't aware of some of these issues. I do remember them pushing the price envelope a bit, but ilke you said, EA pretty much does the same thing with DLC but tries to say its not the same thing.


Thanks for your summaries. At least I know I am not the only one who is pretty unhappy with the industry in general, and when you think about it, the big players cover a considerable portion of the market.

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May 4, 2010 1:53:35 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Blizzard has earned much respect and trust - despite being allied with ActEVILsion.

When Blizzard says "we are going to charge you three times" that means "we have three times more awesome for you to buy!" for many people. Considering I have loved every Blizzard game I've ever played (and they never released Ghost because it would be crap unlike many many games) Im giving them the benifit of the doubt.

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May 4, 2010 1:58:45 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Aractain,
Blizzard has earned much respect and trust - despite being allied with ActEVILsion.

When Blizzard says "we are going to charge you three times" that means "we have three times more awesome for you to buy!" for many people. Considering I have loved every Blizzard game I've ever played (and they never released Ghost because it would be crap unlike many many games) Im giving them the benifit of the doubt.

Only time will tell if they deliver or not. For me, the big publishers tend to disappoint more often than not unfortunately so I am more skeptical than you are. I am also not interested in Starcraft II as it were, but D3 I am interested in.

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May 4, 2010 2:52:04 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Nesrie,
...I thought EA just released something that pretty much says they're not done toying with DRM yet, Comand and Conquer maybe...?.

Command and Conquer 4 was all but universally hated and would have to be considered a failure in it's reception; the DRM was hidden through the level up feature for a player's profile which required a constant internet connection which in turn essentially broke the multiplayer component and ruined the game.  Then they closed the stuido that made the game, so customer support going forward is non-existant.  I was under the impression that the only DRM featured in future EA games would be a one-time online activation (which I don't have a problem with) ?

Quoting Nesrie,
...I know sales isn't necessarily acceptance (well it is in my book but I seem to be the minority there)...

I agree 100% with you.  When people bought the MW2 DLC, which was roughly $20.00 for three maps, they accepted Activisions new pricing and have triggered a downward spiral as Activision gave a press release shortly after stating that they would be raising the price even further for future DLC.  If people keep buying, which they have done and will continue do as long as a big franchise name like CoD is attached, then they'll keep raising the prices.

Quoting Aractain,
Blizzard has earned much respect and trust - despite being allied with ActEVILsion.

Blizzard have had only a single release since the merger, Wrath of the Lich King, and since the merger we've seen the release of Sparkle Horse, which netted around $2,500,000.00 in additional revenue and the news of Starcraft II being released in three installments.  I promise you this was Activision's higher-ups doing since World of Warcraft's population is believed to be less than half of the advertised 11 million (see the temp closure of China's servers, which cost them over 3 million subscribers despite being down for only 30 days) and Activision want yearly releases from all of it's Developers.  We've yet to see the impact of this merger in it's full effect.

Quoting Nesrie,
...but D3 I am interested in.

As am I.  Diablo II: LoD is one of my all time favourite games, I just hope it's not US$70.00 at release, with a new expansion every year and monthly DLC.

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May 4, 2010 10:50:19 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting ZehDon,


As am I.  Diablo II: LoD is one of my all time favourite games, I just hope it's not US$70.00 at release, with a new expansion every year and monthly DLC.

Well Blizzard might not have done much in a few years outside of WoW, but if they think a flying mount in WoW is worth 25 bucks a pop, I can only imagine what they think a full game is worth, evidently 150+ dollars since they are splitting Starcraft into 3 bits.

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May 5, 2010 1:21:17 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Well, I've heard that the Terran campaign in SC2 is as long as all three campaigns from SC1 put together, so I really can't blame them for splitting it up.

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May 5, 2010 9:28:09 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

So if a game has 10x more content then a game that is 10 years old, probably more than that, and the game cost fifty dollars ten years ago you wouldn't mind paying 500 dollars for the later sequal. What about a 1,000 or 10,000? It's been ten years... you'd hope that games would have more content by now, doesn't mean we should empty our bank accounts to get it.

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May 5, 2010 10:28:06 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting SpardaSon21,
Well, I've heard that the Terran campaign in SC2 is as long as all three campaigns from SC1 put together, so I really can't blame them for splitting it up.

Sure, but it also has a lot of filler content such as optional missions that earn upgrades for your units - making them not really optional at all.  The original Starcraft's campaigns were tightly paced, and yet still had room for filler content and as I doubt the story is going to be toppling the Sci-Fi greats any time soon in depth or scope, it's clearly included to pad out the game.  The division of the game into three chapters, only one of which is stand alone, is designed to maximise sales and allow Blizzard a yearly release as is the requirement of all of Activision's Developers.  Diablo 3, Starcraft II, Zerg Expansion, Protoss Expansion and the next World of Warcraft Expansion give Blizzard five years worth of releases.  Take away the two expansion packs, and they've got three.  Considering how long they like to take on their games, three years isn't enough time for development.

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May 6, 2010 11:10:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting SpardaSon21,
Well, I've heard that the Terran campaign in SC2 is as long as all three campaigns from SC1 put together, so I really can't blame them for splitting it up.

Except that people who don't care about the campaigns get the shaft here.  They've said there will be new units and such with each expansion, so the multiplayer crowd will be forced to choose between shelling out for a very expensive expansion ($50 is high even for Blizzard pricing) or leaving the game once a new expansion hits (as few people will still be playing the older version).  Now, if Blizzard offers a DLC option or discount so people with the first part can get the new features for less I'll take everything back.  But seeing as they're pawns of Activision now, I doubt the executives will let them do anything but charge full price.

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May 6, 2010 12:14:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ZehDon,
This is the kind of publishing deal you'd wished you'd entered into with James Cameron before he dropped Avatar on the world.  If the product in question sells a metric 'fucking shitload' then the Publisher, in this case Activision, sees a great return on their investment while having to do very little besides sell the product, which isn't hard when you're dealing with top tier and well known talent who's name is as well known as their products.

Bungie, Valve and Blizzard are about the only development companies in the world who could've entered into this kind of agreement because it so heavily favours the developer - basically, Activision see a small percentage of the profits in exchange for handling everything except making the game.  The fact that Activision, who focus on the bottom line for the next quarter above anything else, entered into this agreement means one of two things: 1. Bungie have another world wide smash hit series on their hands thats going to make the success of the Halo series look like a casual day at the office and Activision got in on the ground level, or 2. Activision are banking on Halo's success as proof that Bungie can and will deliver another world wide smash hit series thats going to make the success of the Halo series look like a casual day at the office.  The third possibility is that Activision's legal team can run circles around Bungie's, and have a rock solid, iron clad loop-hole built into the contract that Bungie can't see or don't believe will ever eventuate that allows Activision either rights to the IP, it's profits or to Bungie itself.

Activision are the biggest publisher on the planet, and they're who you want selling your game for you if you want it to be a world wide smash hit.  However, as Activision have now replaced EA as the worst company in the Video Game business and are enjoying a PR smear the likes of which haven't been seen since Spore landed and pissed on its entire customer base, Bungie's next game can't just be good, or even simply great or amazing; it needs to be perfect, otherwise the 'Activision' logo on the box is going to scare off any educated gamers.

A great day for Activision, a bad day for everyone else including Bungie.

 

You are the man!! +100

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