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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

King Activision: Murders and Executions

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Bobby Kotick is making deals. Expect him to run for president later.

I have always been really happy when enemies decide to conveniently and transparently pair up with one another. It just makes things so much easier that you now only have to focus on one alliance, right? Suppose one day I felt like trashing Activision. But that same day, I also felt like trashing King Digital Entertainment. Well, why not both at the same time?

And now I can do that without a tangent, since Activision has now completely acquired all of King for $5.9 billion. Just outright bought. Everything. Call of Duty (oh, there's one of those coming out in a few days, right? It's that time of year again) now sits under the same roof as Candy Crush Saga. Skylanders now sleeps with... um... whatever other franchises King has. Fortunately, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick knows a lot more about his own acquisitions than I do. He just won't name names or give specifics, like a certain guy running for president.
"But when we looked at King, we saw four great franchises with lots of potential, one super franchise, and a fantastic pipeline. That got us really excited." 

So, at least one of the reasons Activision did this is because they don't have much skin in the mobile space game after being a market leader on console and PC. Rather than develop their own mobile presence from the ground-up, you might as well buy out the market leader in the mobile space. Though that is a very fragile position. Either way, Activision paid a lot more than what King's stock is worth.

Activision, with Bobby Kotick at the helm, has been known for making amazing (profit-wise) decisions and great deals. Sounds pretty familiar, like a certain guy running for president.

Mizzter Blizzard Mr. Blizzard Paper Mario Sticker Star boss snowman
Mizzter Blizzard is representative of two of Activision's acquisitions.

Compare to Nintendo and their partnership with DeNA Co., Ltd. Which company looks more serious and on-track to reaching their goal of dominating the highly competitive mobile space? And remember, that's everyone's strategy here. Nintendo is in the space to try to launch hit releases and do better than other competitors, including King. Activision just bought out King so they can dominate every industry sector where you can play games.

A little stock swapping is nothing compared to just flat-out buying Candy Crush Saga and the hundreds of millions of casual mobile trash addicts that come with that. I really don't know how Nintendo is going to win this if they're just going to try to impress people with having Miis be your social workers. Not that I'd be interested in any DeNA-influenced or King-influenced product to begin with, but I can't really see this working out well for Nintendo.

But will it work well for Activision? Well, first they gotta recoup the $5.9 billion. Then they gotta wildly exceed that because they could've invested 6 billion dollars in a whole lot of other ways that could be potentially a lot more profitable than entering the mobile space. Hey, how are they gonna enter virtual reality and alternate reality markets? Also, why are they buying King now? King was worth more before, and they'll also be cheaper if you wait since they're actually becoming slightly less popular as time goes on. You know, buy low.

Mizzter Blizzard Mr. Blizzard Paper Mario Sticker Star boss battle fight low HP snowman Activision
Oy vey, maybe this won't work out so well.
I wouldn't say I ever really had respect for Activision, but it's more of a "These guys have some positives about them." Like their long insistence that mobile trash is trash, up until the Blizzard part of Activision (referenced through the Mizzter Blizzard screenshots in this article) hit it off with Hearthstone, which is confirmed to be some sort of "catalyst" for this King deal. Then they abandoned their anti-mobile values, but hey, now everyone is flip-flopping on their previously long-held positions to try to get short-term advantages! Like a certain guy running for president!

That said, King and Activision have at least one area of synergy in common: Their dedication for extracting money from their consumers in a way that delivers poor value to them, with that poorness obfuscated. I'm impressed by it, and perhaps KoopaTV should learn from it so this place can actually make some money. We all know I burned a hole in my bank account with my spur-of-the-moment amiibo purchasing. King Dad (the only real king around here; the company is a false usurper) isn't happy about that.

Will KoopaTV be bought out by Activision next? What would that look like? DLC articles? Perhaps you'll need to pay enough in micro-transactions to get through a paywall situated right around the page break? Would KoopaTV become viewed as even more anti-consumer as a result? Answer these questions (or don't) in the comments section! Also, does Ludwig really want Bobby Kotick to run for president?

Will this purchase mean King will stop suing people for using the word "Candy" or "Saga" in game titles?
Ludwig actually did bash both Candy Crush Saga and Call of Duty in the same sentence before in an article from November 2013. It seems prophetic now.
While Bobby Kotick hasn't announced his candidacy yet, he DID buy out Major League Gaming as well.
Finally, Bobby Kotick and all of Activision Blizzard were themselves acquired in 2022/2023.


  1. The possible only real use of mobile games for people who prefer playing actual good games is that at least the target audience who the mobile games are after will understand in some capacity the joy and frustration gamers get from playing real good games. Let me explain by first starting off with a personal story.

    When I was in 7th grade I was playing Donkey Kong Land 2 on the Game Boy Pocket. These girls who wanted to make my life miserable watched me play and said in a mocking way "Awwwwwwwww" when my character lost a life. These same idiots probably now play mobile games and get some form of joy when they keep racking up wins in mobile games and probably experience the same high real gamers get when they pass a very hard obstacle in good games and have some understanding of how frustrating it is to lose when they have the misfortune of failing at a level.

    1. ...Well your first paragraph didn't make sense so let's read your second.

      So basically you're saying that mobile games have the same capacity for putting its players into a state of flow as "real" games, so it's good that more people get to experience that because you think they will get some degree of empathy for "real" gamers?

    2. ...I dunno, a lot of these mobile games aren't really skill-based, at least it's basically impossible to win without funneling money. And I feel like that's transparent and would disrupt flow.

  2. Oh good, it's nice to see a reaction from someone who dislikes mobile gaming that isn't along the lines of, "THIS IS EEEEEEND! GAMING IS DOOOOOMED!"

    1. Gaming won't be any more doomed than it is already as a result of this.

    2. I saw people react to the news by lamenting that they won't be able to play new games anymore because they're getting out of gaming.

    3. ...Huh?
      The people are getting out of gaming?

    4. Just the crazy ones who think Activision + King means the entire game industry will no longer be worth paying attention to.

    5. ...Oh.

      ......So you see crazy folks regularly, eh?

    6. Only when I read online forums and comments. (Part of why I stopped visiting Capcom-Unity.) The reactions to this news on Game Informer were so ridiculous that Game Informer later published a parody article based on it.
      (And there are even a couple of doomsayers in the comments there, though not to the same extreme as they were in the announcement article.)

    7. I stopped visiting Capcom-Unity because I forgot to ever since the Ace Attorney 6 news from TGS happened.

      I like how it's tagged as "humor". We don't need to do that over here!
      ...(lol Game Informer)

  3. Going along wit all the mobile comments. I don't think mobile gaming will ever replace regular gaming for two reasons. The first is that overall quality and performance is subpar to that of a console. No one wants ADS in their gaming experience. The games are often shorter, and they all end up looking the same. Cheap and cute. The second is that consoles are often dedicated to gaming. Your not going to accidentaly swipe up on a switch and buttdial your mom. It's for games, not phonecalls. I also thik that holding a controller and looking at a screen is better than holding the screen itself. Even the switch has you holding the joycons, not the screen. But thats probably becuase phones weren't made for games specifically anyway.

    1. Since this was written, there's been quite a bit of changes to the console gaming environment. Some console games from some bad publishers (Electronic Arts) now have ads in them!

      Also I'm gonna hiss at you basically dissing the Game Boy/Nintendo DS families near the end. (And the Nintendo Switch Lite, but...)

      I also object to "cheap and cute" necessarily being an issue. I mean, cute is great. I recall people attacking the Pokémon Sinnoh remakes as looking like a mobile game because they're cute. That attack doesn't resonate with me. >_>

      In 2021, I'm not sure what King is even doing within Activision. Probably working on Call of Duty.

    2. I wasn't insulting Gameboy but I can see how that would come across. For ds and other consoles you are always holding the controller and looking at the screen. For phones the screen is also the controller. That's the difference and I don't like holding the actual screen part, mucking it up and obscuring the game.
      Also, warms my heart to think of them as families. But what else would you call them?

      Cheap and cute is only an issue for the mobile market, most cute console games also have sufficient gaming content, where as mobile games like to bank on cute trends. Which is another problem, the market is flooded with all these games trying to capitalize on the latest trends, whereas console games don't have that luxury so they have to focus on making better overall games.

      Why am I not surprised EA has ads, you'd think they didn't already have so much money.

    3. They're "families" or "product lines". I'm unfamiliar with how people hold mobile phones, but I feel like they're rested against one's palm?

      When I think of mobile games I think of those Mafia City ads, which certainly ain't cute.

    4. They aren't cute, but their definitely cheap. If the mobile market wasn't so flooded by these cashgrab games, then maybe people would seriously consider it. There may be bad games on the eshop, but they never ever have the spotlight on them. I hold my phone against my palm, but sometimes I end up blocking the speaker so the sound ends up all muffled.

    5. Use headphones! Unless you got one of those anti-headphone phones.

    6. My phone doesn't have a headphone jack :(

      I can get around that problem with airpods, but you should be required to use headphones. Sometimes you don't want the music blasting in your ear. Even if you aren't sure where your ears are, or if you have any.

    7. Yeah, you shouldn't be patronising these poorly designed smartphones.


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