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Varchild2008 (83.79)

Is ATVI the next MICROPROSE?

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March 02, 2010 – Comments (9) | RELATED TICKERS: ATVI

Varchild is thinking of DUMPING his entire stake in ATVI tomorrow. 
I hope to convince myself NOT TO by typing about a topic no Stock Analyst dares to tread:

This could be titled, "Management versus Creative Freedom," because analysts tend to favor Management Style over Creative Freedom (unfortunately).  

Is ATVI the next MICROPROSE?

First.. MICROPROSE did not operate like Activision (ATVI).   I'm not saying that...

But, I have to mention here that well known game developer and his co-workers fell into some bad blood with Microprose many many moons ago.  This well known game developer went by the name of:   "SID MEIJER"

Whose SID MEIJER?   Civilization, Alpha Centauri, The SIMS.....    You know .... THAT!!! Sid Meijer making up much of (ERTS)'s earnings today!

If SID MEIJER were walking along the street and I actually knew it was him... I'd have CDs of Civilization and The SIMS and Alpha Centauri + a SHARPIE ready to get Sid's autograph!

Sid Meijer is the man.....  Sid is the ultimate example of "CREATIVE GENIUS."

Publishing company's don't just let go or fire or lay off  their "Creative Geniuses" willy nilly....They don't do that lightly....

So it was a huge SHOCK throughout the entire video game industry when the announcement was made my MICROPROSE that they let Sid Meijer go.......  Sid Meijer went ahead with his co-worker(s) to create "FIRAXIS GAMES."

The first game created by "FIRAXIS GAMES" was an instant classic known as "Alpha Centauri."
At that time it received some of the highest ratings for a video game in video game history by many top game critics.   

MICROPROSE.....slowly over the next year(s) completely eroded....slowly but surely.... it died.

THERE IS NO MORE MICROPROSE ANYMORE!!!!

And while YES.. there is no more FIRAXIS GAMES anymore.....  There is still Sid Meijer churning out SIMS games and expansion packs for Electronic Arts.

In the end.. The Death of MICROPROSE was POOR MANAGEMENT... RESTRICTING CREATIVE FREEDOM.

=======================================================================

But in just 1 year (ATVI) dumps Infinity Ward's Jason West and Vince Zampella.... The "CREATIVE GENIUSES" of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 1 & 2.    Furthermore, they have basically yanked the entire franchise out of the hands of INFINITY WARD.....  This after previously DUMPING  RED OCTANE and sending that company to non-existance after a dismal Music Genre Sales Year.

It never was RED OCTANE's fault that Guitar Hero / Music Genre failed in 2009.   It was always Bobby Kotick to blame and my calls for a No Confidence Vote on Bobby Kotick were in part because of his mismanagement of the Music Genre and over reliance on Share Buybacks to drive up the share price rather than "Organic Growth."

*sigh*

When it comes to promoting "CREATIVE FREEDOM" there just isn't much of any at (ATVI).
They want to churn out "Spiderman,"   "Transformers,"  and yet another "Call of Duty," each and every year it seems.  

Every game made by ATVI is treated like a John Madden's Football....  And while I have praised this approach from the standpoint that it is a less volatile business model with higher rates of return, revenue, and so on.. and I still praise it today.... This is stability for a publisher so brand new titles can be tried....Such as Prototype.

BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At some point you have to wonder......  Is (ATVI) another MICROPROSE???    *KILL*  Creative Freedom to the point there isn't anymore freedom and the Business Climate throughout all of the company's underneath ATVI and even at BLIZZARD partnered with ATVI goes downhill??? and downhill fast???

One of the last games MICROPROSE made before they died was a very buggy....buggy....buggy... adaptation of Magic The Gathering.  Alas....  Poor Microprose and Poor ATVI...

When no one feels safe and secure in their jobs as TOP EXECs of Development Houses underneath BOBBY KOTICK then Game Quality and Development and Everything deteriorate.

You won't know the end of ATVI is Nigh... until you witness the world's worst adaptation of
CALL OF DUTY arrive followed by the world's most buggiest and broken adapation of
GUITAR HERO.

Look at it this way.......

Who has BOBBY KOTICK actually pleased lately???

He's upset off the Rock bands that allowed the use of their image in the Guitar Hero Games.
He's upset RED OCTANE
He's upset Jason West and Vince Zampela of INFINITY WARD
He's upset INFINITY WARD

Whose next?  As a shareholder all you can do is *wince* every single time another Press release arrives because you don't know whose going to get *FIRED* or what LAWSUIT Threat might come.

And personally..... So far.... I'm failing to convince myself to hold even 1 share of ATVI. 

9 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 02, 2010 at 8:18 PM, Godfail (< 20) wrote:

You know, I find it interesting that you praise Sid Meier but can't spell his name...and that you don't know Will Wright is responsible for The Sims. 

 If you take away The Sims, Sid Meier really isn't a cash cow for any company...

And I'm by no means defending Activision here, I hate Bobby Kotick with a passion...but Activision is the biggest game publisher in the world.  EA, once the largest publisher, passed up on The Sims.  It didn't turn them into Microprose in the long run either.

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#2) On March 02, 2010 at 8:29 PM, Godfail (< 20) wrote:

Actually, it was Activision that passed on The Sims, my mistake there.  But it was not a Sid Meier game.  Regardless, I don't see Activision falling apart because of the issues you point out.  And I definitely side with them against anyone complaining about their image in Guitar Hero games...nobody thinks Kurt Cobain sang Bon Jovi covers.  And who cares if No Doubt look like puppets dancing onstage in a video game to other people's songs.

 If Activison is to go down, Blizzard will have to go down, and that's probably not going to happen anytime soon. 

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#3) On March 02, 2010 at 9:33 PM, Varchild2008 (83.79) wrote:

Type First.... Research / Spell Check later....

Sorry about that SIMS = Will Wright my bad.....  I think everything else I said was accurate?  I hope.

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#4) On March 02, 2010 at 9:34 PM, LAFrankie (< 20) wrote:

The deathknell for ATVI really depends on the life left in the WoW franchise.  Other IPs come and go, as we shall see what happens with IW.  My bet is two talented people step up and replace the two former employees.  Life goes on.  Modern Warfare will move into another Devs hands and it will come out right when people are jonzing for it as always.

To say that the "Creative Geniuses" were let go today at IW is an insult to every dev, artist, coder, writer and tester that worked on MW2.  I'm sorry but the President of a development company is a pencil pusher.  It's the grunts that get the vision done.

Moving on.. watch WoW's expansion and release date as well as China's acceptance of WoW subscriptions by year's end.  If anything falls out of place for that title, ATVI will be in serious trouble because the music genre is dead despite the attempts to revive it (DJ Hero 2 being the only one that actually looks to gain sales,) and MW3 will have a hard time topping the $1 billion mark. 

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#5) On March 02, 2010 at 9:34 PM, Varchild2008 (83.79) wrote:

P.S.  I forgot to put my "Accuracy and TYPO challenged" Disclaimer...

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#6) On March 02, 2010 at 9:39 PM, Varchild2008 (83.79) wrote:

"Modern Warfare will move into another Devs hands and it will come out right when people are jonzing for it as always"

Uhm.. Except so far the track record for "Call of Duty Games craeted by company's not named Infinity Ward" has so far been bleak.   Treyarch's attempts have been paultry in comparison to IW.

Pulling Guitar Hero out of RED OCTANE's hands and having it get developed by some other developer hasn't produced a Guitar Hero more popular than the 1st three games  yet....

Fact is....  Original Developer is best Developer for any franchise.

Unless someone wants to stake a claim that 7th Guest / 11th Hour  sequal known as 13th Doll being developed will be a superior title....   I think that will be a fantastic INDIE developed game but certainly not a superior title to the original developer produced games....  (eesh?  I'm plugging 13th Doll???)

Anyhow...  Don't even think sales were reach MW2 levels anytime soon if ever for COD what with Battlefield 2 shaping up to be a pretty good competition.

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#7) On March 03, 2010 at 11:04 AM, CheckUrFacts (< 20) wrote:

Your lineage and facts are SO far off that I actually stopped reading the rest of your post shortly after the first couple sentences.

Let's talk about the easy mistakes: I'll use very small words since it seems you are incapable of verying your facts with a google search.

> Sid Meijer

Seriously? Really? And you keep spelling it wrong too.  Say it with me: Sid Meier.

> And while YES.. there is no more FIRAXIS GAMES anymore.....  There is still Sid Meijer churning out SIMS games and expansion packs for Electronic Arts. 

Uh... Firaxis Games is alive and well, I'm not sure where you got the idea that it's no longer around- but it's completely wrong, the studio is fine.  Also Sid has never worked on The Sims (that's Will Wright / EA) or any expansion packs for EA, except one for Alpha Centauri.

Firaxis Games is owned by Take 2 Interactive, which is completely separate from EA or Activision.

Activision never owned Microprose, and Microprose was bought by Spectrum Holobyte, then by Hasbro, then by Infogrames. 

The idea that the Microprose management /fired/ Sid is ridiculous. You don't fire your best most genius guy that invented the games that made the company big.  He left probably because of the terrible management and I'd guess the pressure to churn out sequels.

If you ever talked to Sid for about 5 seconds you realize he's an ideas guy and a genius game designer, not content to just churn out sequels. 

So the next time you get the urge to make a bunch of stuff up and write a rambling, incoherent mess, at least double check your basic facts so you don't give everyone the impression that you're as much of an idiot as you sound like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroProse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Meier 

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#8) On March 03, 2010 at 12:06 PM, Schmacko (55.25) wrote:

They just recently announced a stock buyback and their first annual stock dividend.  To me they seem to be transitioning from a growth company to a value company.  The trend of focusing on never ending sequeals to popular cash cow games seems to support that idea.  The small video game studios will take upon themselves to developing new and innovative games.  Most will fail and the few that produce hits that look like they have strong brand potential will be most likely be takeover targets for activision or ea.

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#9) On March 04, 2010 at 12:21 AM, Clixcorp (< 20) wrote:

The blog entry has some legs even if you don't agree with parts of it.

Activision (ATVI) News update:

Jason West and Vince Zampella File Lawsuit Against Activision

Excerpt from the PrNewsWire Article:

Activision terminated their employment weeks before they (West & Zampella) were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for Modern Warfare 2. "Activision has refused to honor the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned," said their attorney Robert Schwartz... check the full text here:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jason-west-and-vince-zampella-file-lawsuit-against-activision-86295312.html

This story is no longer hiding behind the guarded doors at activision - it is now public and filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  This stock is gonna take a hit!  My best guess that it will be shown that execs at ATVI initiated rogue investigations to invent a reason to terminate the two, so they could get out of paying the annual royalties due, eliminate a large cost factor (the brains of the organization - which is totally stupid), and continue on from there.  Once somebody pays the $ to get the filed lawsuit from the court, it'll get posted online somewhere I'm sure, and then everyone will be privy to the gory details.

Bad bad activision. 

 

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