Kotick: 70% Of Profit “Non-Console”

By Jim Rossignol on June 22nd, 2010 at 9:25 am.


Gamasutra picked up the story that Activision’s Bobby Kotick has confirmed that 70% of his company’s operating profit comes from “non-console based” games. And you know what that means. As if there was any doubt, we can now be sure that of the impact World Of Warcraft is having on filling Activision’s coffers with precious gold. It doesn’t matter how many plastic guitars Acti sells to the console owners, the biggest game publisher in the world is still being bankrolled by a PC game featuring malignant fishmen. Kotick is also hinting at a “subscription-based” version of the Call Of Duty franchise. So that should be interesting.

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60 Comments »

  1. Freud says:

    And despite the purchasing power of PC gamer, we don’t get to be naughty bears. http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2010-naughty-bear/700406

    • Grunt says:

      For that I think we should be truly thankful. (Amen)

    • Rich says:

      “Now listen to this, and don’t say no right away… what if we made Hitman… but with teddies?”

    • luphiso says:

      What the hell did I just watch?

    • stahlwerk says:

      “Being a creepy sociopath furry stalker: the game”? I’d love hate to be a fly on the wall at one of the design meetings for this game.

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      AndrewC says:

      Wow, I didn’t know I had a favourite game in the world until just now.

    • terry says:

      I….my….good lord. Just when I thought E3 this year couldn’t have got any weirder.

    • sleepygamer says:

      What is…

      …i dont even…

      I… I actually kind of want it now. If they add in more stuff than “SMASH” and “SCARE”, and made a much bigger, open world, and maybe made it about dinosaurs with machine guns, and added a mod pack so you can pimp that cartoon car to a Lambo, and replaced the fuzzy wuzzy environment with a bombed out cityscape covered in flames and maybe made some of the bears hookers who snort blow and replaced the little fuzzy owls with dildo shaped grenades.

      THEN I would buy it.

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      AndrewC says:

      Pretty sure you’re describing Gears Of War there

    • devlocke says:

      I don’t really have any idea how to respond to that trailer, but I’m pretty sure I think it’s amazing.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      I bet the ESRB is having a blast trying to properly rate that game.

  2. negativedge says:

    I still have no idea what Blizzard gets out of this Activision thing except some rushed deadlines.

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      Sagan says:

      They don’t get rushed deadlines. I think there was a quote recently with the Blizzard boss saying that he hasn’t even met someone from Activision for a while.
      Also it wasn’t really Blizzard’s choice to merge with Activision, as they were, and still are, owned by Vivendi.

      But still they should have gone indie a long time ago.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t know about rushed headlines but even I’ve started to worry about Activision’s effect on Blizzard.

      Latest is that BNet will no longer allow you to play games with people across regions. Which is a freaking daft thing to do, and I can’t understand why they’ve done it. Then you’ve got all those constant rumblings about “monetising” battle.net and I start to get very concerned.

    • Mac says:

      @Subedii. They announced that they’re gonna add cross-region play some months after release, there’s some technical difficulties they have to sort out first. It’ll definitely be in before the first expansion.

    • subedii says:

      So it would seem after all.

      Even if it’s a few months late, as long as it doesn’t result in a “pay $5 to change regions” thing I’ll be happy.

    • cthonctic says:

      They get better distribution channels and a bigger marketing budget than they had with Vivendi Games. In the end though, the “Vivendi Games + Activision = Actilizzard” merger wasn’t Blizzard’s choice, mind you.

      The suits at Vivendi and Activision made the deal and Blizzard hardly had a veto right there; still, it looks like they thought they were getting a good deal out of it anyway, otherwise the endorsement wouldn’t have been what it was.

  3. Dawngreeter says:

    I’d like to say this is a good thing. It probably is. Or possibly vindicating. But I can’t really feel good about facilitating someone’s capacity to live in a solid gold house.

    Still, this just goes to show. It isn’t about piracy. It was never about piracy. It’s about control.

    • subedii says:

      Well we are still talking about the guy who took one of the biggest selling game franchises in history, and then gutted the studio that made it because he wasn’t interested in paying them what he contractually owed them.

      After that fiasco I can’t help but wonder what the future of Blizzard’s games is going to end up being. I am not especially optimistic in the long run.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      Blizzard has always been owned by other companies. They never had the luxury of Valve, for example, which was started by some ex-Microsoft employees back when the parking lots there were full of Ferraris. They do have one very important condition whenever they’re sold/bought/merged again; independence. Blizzard decides that Blizzard does. And most owners are fine with that, since in brings in the bucketloads of cash.

  4. Leroy S. says:

    I was telling my brother the other day that this was the case. That WoW profits are keeping activision around. CoD is expensive to make and they’re losing money on their music games.

  5. kikito says:

    PC gaming is dead! These people are profiting from the dead!

    Nigromants!

  6. MajorManiac says:

    I work for a global market research company and am bound by what I’m allowed to say publicly.

    However I thinks its ok for me to say the PC dominance of the games market is significant. I would hazard to guess this is because more homes already have a pc computer for reasons other than playing games (as if there is one). So when a game comes out that is cheaper on the PC it stands to reason it is favoured on this platform.

    I would, again, guess that advertising is generally pushing for consoles to appear dominant as they are generally the preferred platform to sale games on.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      “I would, again, guess that advertising is generally pushing for consoles to appear dominant as they are generally the preferred platform to sale games on.”

      That PC doesn’t have a platform holder whose interest it is in to push it says much.

      KG

    • subedii says:

      it’s not just that. It’s also the fact that the PC is the only platform without an advocate. At E3 this year you saw the big three holding their own conferences. Exclusives and parties all round for the 360, PS3 and Wii, and the portable platforms. Where was the conference for the PC platform in all that?

      Ostensibly that would be Microsoft, but you didn’t hear a peep out of them during their press conference about anything they’re doing PC-side. Gabe Newell talked about that a few years back, since by all accounts, that essentially other platforms get the advertising, but MS isn’t interested in doing the same for the PC. Bear in mind this was a few years ago and a fair amount has changed.

      http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18843

      “We don’t really have a champion of the PC platform. If you write a story about the Xbox 360, there’s just an army of people who are going to descend on you to make that picture look as polished and rosy as possible. Same things for the other consoles – but there’s no equivalent on the PC, and the people who are traditionally driving these messages, like Microsoft or Intel or Apple are, for various reasons, not very effective champions.”

    • MajorManiac says:

      Funny you should mention Gabe. When trying to come up with the company that is most championing the PC Games industry I think of Valve. When I think of Microsoft and Apple I just feel embarrassed.

      The whole “I’m a PC/Mac” campaigns are just painful. I prefer to think of myself as a human that enjoys playing computer games. I refuse to be branded by the hot poker of corporate catchphrases….which ironically I’m helping to refine.

    • Sobric says:

      The GFX card companies are also good choices for be a “voice” for PC gaming, since they rely quite heavily on PC gamers buying their GFX cards.

      We might then get competing ATi and nVidia booths at E3 every year – each competing to be the prettiest (but also having GIANT FANS at the back of the booths).

    • Apsas says:

      @sobric

      Eh, what? Amd/Nvidia does not rely quite heavily on PC gaming. PC gaming is a small revenue for GFX companies.

    • JoeDuck says:

      Do we really want a marketing powerhouse in the PC world?
      Console owners pay not only for their games, platform and the right to voicechat, but also for the marketing that convinces them of their dominance.
      This year Microsoft gave a Xborx as a gift to every person in the public of their E3 presentation. They hired the Cirque du Soleil to perform a custom one time only presentation. They dressed every person in the public with a custom dress that changed colour. I wonder who paid for all that?
      PC owners pay no platform marketing money and we get exactly our money’s worth.
      And regarding Valve, why would they take up the job of leading? It would cost loads of money, there is no control to be gained, as the platform is wide open, and they do not have a subscription model to finance the marketing budget. To compete with Nintendo, Sony or the worst of all, Microsoft, they’d need a small army of PR people all year long selling BS to the magazines.
      Instead, they have chosen to be like Ubuntu in the Linux world.
      And for me, that is perfectly fine.

    • subedii says:

      Well if you read the article, Gabe Newell wasn’t saying that they’d become platform advocates or anything, just point out why the situation is the way it is. Primarily that the PC as a games platform has perception issues, and that actually scares off publishers, or otherwise causes them to do nutty things like deliberately holding back PC releases for months (or even a year or more) on end.

      The press is continually focussed on is how the platform is sick, dying or already dead, and that has an effect, largely based around US NPD statistics that even the NPD says cannot be used as an accurate measure of the state of the industry. It certainly doesn’t help that arguably the largest stakeholders in the PC as a games platform (hardware vendors, MS) have largely been making the situation worse in their own little ways.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Steam might become a voice at e3. Although that would mean Pc, Mac and PS3.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The PC also isn’t a stupidly restricted platform where the publishers and hardware makers get to dictate everything and refuse to let people play if it’s not on their own terms.

      Yet, that is.

  7. Pmeie says:

    Or does non-console simply imply that 40% of their money comes from mobile/cell-phone games… :O (connect the dots, it’s obvious!)

    And, 30% is still a fair chunk of money.

  8. mbp says:

    The naughty teddy bear is fairly staple character of young children’s fiction only the naughtiness rarely extends beyond not tidying up their toys. I dont recall Enid Blyton ever writing about a bear electrocuting one of his playmates by smashing their face into a fuse box.

    What with the potential for parental confusion the Daily Mail is going ot love that game. Then I guess that is probably intentional.

  9. Dan(WR) says:

    Hmm. I won’t pretend to have a great understanding of financial statments, but I had a quick glance at the Activision-Blizzard Annual Report 2009, and unless I’m reading it wrong their breakdown of net revenue by platform (p.15/ PDF p.27) indicates that MMORPGs/PC only made up 33% of their net revenue last year.

    • neems says:

      Yeah but it’s profit that matters, not revenue. All of these games cost a lot of money to make, whereas WoW is a going concern.

    • Starky says:

      Indeed, as the old saying goes, revenue is vanity, profit is sanity.

  10. Sobric says:

    I can’t imagine that Blizzard are under threat from Kotick, regardless of what he did to IW. Most of their PC profit will come from WoW.

    • subedii says:

      And I couldn’t imagine Infinitiy Ward coming under threat from Kotick as that was their biggest console moneyspinner.

      I’m definitely being overly pessimistic. I doubt that Blizzard is in any way “under threat” here, but I’m not sure their products will remain unaffected.

    • Sobric says:

      But IW was a under Activision, Blizzard is not. The company is called Activision-Blizzard afterall. As far as I’m aware Activision don’t have any right to Blizzard’s IPs, which mean if they did axe Blizzard for some bizzarre reason, Blizzard would still own the Warcraft/Starcraft IPs.

      While it’s true that axing IW seemed like a suicidal thing to do at the time, they can fob off the CoD IP to whomever they want. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see the CoD franchise continue to do well, at the very least on consoles, without IW.

    • subedii says:

      No Robert Kotick is CEO of this enterprise, and he can have all the say he wants in Blizzard’s affairs since they’re now the same company. Blizzard have been pretty adamant that Activision’s been largely hands off so far though.

      Like I said, I don’t see them axing anything of Blizzards, but I do see the products being affected in future.

    • Starky says:

      subedii – that isn’t true.

      They are in the same HOLDING company – that isn’t the same thing as being in the same company at all.
      Blizzard have their own President and are an autonomous operation that Bobby clearly gets little to no influence over.
      The only reason for the merger was to put both companies (Activision and Blizzard) under 1 stock trading roof, to make the company a more stable and attractive prospect for investors.

      Hell I bet the only time that Bobby Kotick is in the same room with Michael Morhaime is annual meetings with Vivendi, maybe not even then.

      I’d also wager that Blizzard have massive, and fat contractually ensured freedoms from external interferences.

    • subedii says:

      I’d also wager that Blizzard have massive, and fat contractually ensured freedoms from external interferences.

      One can but hope.

    • YogSo says:

      Things like this rekindle my faith in humankind. Thanks for sharing!

  11. SockDemon says:

    Jesus Fuck!

    I didn’t need to see that before midday….. I really didn’t

  12. mandrill says:

    Kotick is the devil himself and would rather run a sweatshop than any kind of game development company. Nothing activision does is creative any longer as the atmosphere at the company is no longer conducive to creativity. Blizzard is dead, long live activision as they blindly churn out games which are carbopn copies of their predecessors but with prettier graphics.

    They sold their soul for that gold. Diablo III will be a shadow of its ancestor, Starcraft 2 will have nothing new to show us. and until Kotick is gone nothing beautiful will come from anything activision does. They are the EA of the second decade of C21. Curse them unto the seventh generation.

    • Okami says:

      You’re really good at saying a lot of wrong things in a few sentences.
      Have a cake.

  13. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    yeah well thats because pc money is too good for console retards- OH FUCK WE’RE FUCKED WE MIGHT AS WELL KILL OURSELVES ‘HUH!

  14. pete says:

    RIP PC gaming.

    ..or?

  15. Kurt Lennon says:

    That means that when WoW finally goes under, so does Activision. Sweet. Can’t happen soon enough.

  16. bookwormat says:

    That Gamasutra article is weired:

    Other “non-console-based” Activision games include iPhone titles and PC games, but those businesses are small compared to World of Warcraft.

    Since when is the iPhone not a console and World of Warcraft not a PC game?

    • GetOutOfHereStalker says:

      despite what the name might lead you to think the iphone is phone and not a console

    • bookwormat says:

      the iphone is a computer system strictly regulated by a private company. I would call that a console. And of course it is also a phone. Just like the PC on my couch is also a video player.

    • GetOutOfHereStalker says:

      you’re really stretching the definition of console. that’s like saying my bed is a toilet because i pee on it when i’m drunk

  17. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    are those really gold bars because they look like candy in a shiny yellow wrapper to me

  18. MMORPG Center says:

    SO PC is not DEAD? omg!!! NO WAI! Fracking idiots (not you, the mainstream media… )