"The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."— Bobby Kotick
Activision Blizzard, Inc. is an American video game holding company based in Santa Monica, California. The company was founded in July 2008 through the merger of Activision, Inc. (the publicly traded parent company of Activision Publishing) and Vivendi Games (the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment and Sierra Entertainment).
Originally founded as Activision Publishing, Inc.. It was founded on October 1, 1979, by former Atari employees and was the world's first independent distributor and developer of video games for consoles. Its first products were Atari 2600 cartridges published from July 1980 in the U.S. and August 1981 internationally.
Its merge with Vivendi Games in 2008 has transformed the company into Activision Blizzard to serve as a subsidiary of Vivendi. On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced they had purchased 429 million shares from parent company Vivendi, which was valued at $2.34 billion and also making them an independent company. Activision-Blizzard's titles have broken a number of release records. As of March 2018, it is the largest game company in the Americas and Europe and fouth largest in the world (after Tencent, Sony, and NetEase) in terms of revenue and market capitalization.
Why They Suck
- They milk every franchise they own until one dies out. The worst offender is the Call of Duty series.
- Many of the games they publish are movie or television tie-in games that range from mediocre to terrible. Battleship is a good example of this.
- After the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Jason West and Vince Zampella were tired of Activision's constant demands for Infinity Ward to work only on new Call of Duty games instead of making new intellectual properties or side-games. In response, Activision fired them, which led several Infinity Ward members leaving the studio out of pure disgust.
- Activision's subsidiaries get gimped into Call of Duty support studios (Raven Software and Radical Entertainment) or merged into others (Neversoft's last game before merging into Infinity Ward was the Extinction mode for Call of Duty: Ghosts).
- Like EA, they kept buying out and shutting down development studios such as Sierra Entertainment, Neversoft, Budcat Creations, Luxoflux, and Bizarre Creations just for a quick and easy profit. Because of this, we will never see a Gun 2, Blur 2, or even Project Gotham Racing 5!
- Many of their famous franchises such as Call of Duty, Tony Hawk's, and until recently, Guitar Hero, suffered from diminishing returns after several stellar games due to franchise fatigue.
- They prematurely ended the True Crime franchise early by rushing the development of the second game, True Crime: New York City, resulting in that game getting lukewarm reviews from critics and gamers alike. Not only that, but they canceled True Crime: Hong Kong after being in development hell for too long, which was then picked up by Square Enix and rebranded as Sleeping Dogs.
- Activision has no problem with rushing a game in order to cash in on fans, such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (although that game was slapped together in months because Activision was set to lose the rights to the Tony Hawk license).
- Activision doesn't credit the voice acting for non-English languages in their games.
- They have made/published badly optimized ports of their most beloved games to make a quick buck, such as Prototype: Biohazard Bundle and the disastrous 2016 Steam PC version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which has later been fixed because of Marvel stepping in.
- Most of their licensed games (especially their movie tie-ins) are disrespectful to the source material they are based on.
- It was recently discovered that Activision developed an algorithm specifically designed to exploit players who don't buy microtransactions by rigging online matches so those players constantly play against players that do buy microtransactions, giving them an unfair disadvantage. That way, those players will constantly lose and if they submit to microtransactions (likely loot boxes), they will be placed in matches for which the item they had purchased with the microtransactions is effective so they will want to make future purchases, essentially making multiplayer pay to win. They then filed a patent for it.
- They locked content in that was already in Destiny 2 at launch to require buying DLC that was released after the game released, so you needed to pay extra money to access the content you could play that was included in the cost of the full game. Thankfully, they got caught doing this and were forced to restore the original limit, restoring the ability to play some of the content that was locked beyond the DLC.
- Their licensing deals tend to be drawn up in such a way that they lose all rights to sell the licensed games they published if the deal ends (rather than, say, negotiating a royalty deal on later sales). This means that following the termination of the deals, all such games are pulled down from online storefronts immediately. This has happened to games featuring the James Bond, Transformers, and Marvel IPs already.
- Physical copies of discontinued licensed games published by them can be very expensive nowadays, especially their Marvel and Transformers games.
- This also prevented many games that were originally released by Vivendi Games/Sierra Entertainment from being rereleased, as those licenses are long been expired (like Scarface: The World Is Yours) or whose gaming rights are now from other companies (The Simpsons: Hit & Run).
- Like THQ, some of their tie-in games are completely different games on PC, meaning they're not straight ports of the console versions. The most infamous being the PC version of Spider-Man 2. This means that PC gamers have to rely on emulators like PCSX2 (which require high system requirements) to play the console versions of the games.
- They canceled some Crash Bandicoot games by unknown reasons, such as a reboot for the series Crash Landed which would be launched alongside a brand new Crash Team Racing title, the last one was eventually reworked as DreamWorks Super Star Kartz. It is presumed that by then Activision Blizzard and Vivendi were in negotiation process to their release, so the IPs had to be in stand by until 2016.
- They also care little about innovation and simply wanted to cash in on the current trend. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a good example: it contains a battle royale mode like that of PUBG, a team battle mode like Overwatch, an even bigger zombie mode, and no single player campaign (apparently, Treyarch was developing an extensive campaign mode, but due to the step deadlines, Activision decided that Treyarch couldn't finish that campaign at time and lead them to shut it down in favor of the battle royale mode).
- They, along with EA, are refusing to release games for the Nintendo Switch and only six games have been released or announced for it: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, Skylanders: Imaginators, Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, and Overwatch and Diablo III: Eternal Collection through their Blizzard Entertainment division, and skipping out on big brands such as Call of Duty, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Destiny and Tony Hawk's when they had the brand. Adding insult to injury, the CoD and TH franchises both had some games released for Nintendo systems prior to the Switch.
- Activision still hasn't budged on the microtransactions and loot boxes in Destiny 2 or Call of Duty: WWII when other companies have dialed back on the issue, going as far as trying to sell red dot sight (which is a free unlockable reward since Call of Duty 4) in Black Ops 4 and K/D Tracker in Modern Warfare (2019) respectively.
- For example, Warner Bros. removed the loot boxes from Middle Earth: Shadow of War and Ubisoft chose to forego the time-savers packs for Far Cry 5. Even EA shut down microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II as well as choosing not to include them in Battlefield V.
- They have also started releasing games with no microtransactions/loot boxes at launch, only to add them in retroactively, the most notable examples are Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a remake of a longer-than-two-decades-old game.
- It was discovered a loot boxes system inside Modern Warfare (2019), fortunately it was cancelled, however the microtransactions still there.
- For some asinine reason, Activision decided to put all Black Ops 4 DLC on its season pass instead of just letting it be DLC, so do you haven't the option of buying for whatever you want anymore, you pay for all or you get nothing (Even when formerly with Black Ops 3 they launched zombie mode maps individually). Though this doesn't mean that they aren't screwing gamers over like that.
- They published a lot of garbage titles from various developers just for a quick cash-ins, such as The Simpsons Wrestling and Super Pitfall.
- On PC, they moved their Call of Duty franchise from Steam to Blizzard's Battle.net launching its titles from BO4 and Modern Warfare 2019, so the games can't get any feedback, with WWII being the last COD game to release on Steam.
- They screwed up the physical release of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy by having both Spyro 2 and 3 as digital downloads. However, the game was pushed back from September 21 to November 13, as Toys for Bob wanted to give the game more love and care.
- Four months after Black Ops 4's release, they suddenly plugged in loot boxes in it when the heist update was made and they are absolute crap. As they can potentially form a freaking curb stomp battle.
- They (along with EA and Bethesda) are against the recent U.S bill to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in the U.S.
- They have been caught stealing artwork from other companies, such as using a picture taken by Bravo Company USA to use in one of their promotional artworks of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019.
- They also copied the design of Booker T's character "G.I. Bro" for one of the characters in Modern Warfare, which resulted in a lawsuit.
- They accept exclusivity deals when offered the chance. For example, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 by making the "Survival" mode for the Coop mode, exclusive to the PS4 for one year. This was unsurprisingly met with a lot of backlash, especially since once the mode is released on other platforms, a new Call of Duty game would have already been released or be close to being released. They also launched Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 in the Epic Store for PC.
- They teamed up with Autism Speaks, a horrible organization that promotes negative misconceptions and stigmas against autistic people, to produce blue Skylanders figures.
- Starting with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, they are now locking demos behind digital pre-orders, which have either been sold with gaming magazines, or available as free downloads. They've done the same thing with Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. A possible reason for this is because they want to encourage gamers to buy their games digitally, since those generate more revenue than physical copies.
Why Blizzard Sucks Now
- They've become greedy after the merger with Activision, and now mostly create quick cash-grab "remastered" games and milk the money via nostalgia pandering instead of creating an entirely new game.
- A notable example is that they have created a mobile F2P "spin-off" of Diablo game called Diablo Immortal, which received overwhelming negative reception from their fans, leads into a disasterous damage control campaign.
- Since the partnership deal with NetEase in 2009, Blizzard has lean towards games as a service model, as they followed NetEase's monetization method in the Chinese server of World of Warcraft and applying these updates on the live server, which caused a massive outrage in the WoW community.
- They've rushed their games like Warcraft III: Reforged and Diablo III, resulting in a half-finished or even incomplete state of the game.
- They are suspected of bribing gaming journalists in an attempt to cover up their bad game's quality, a prime example is the infamous ".....it has something for everyone" review of Warcraft III: Reforged by IGN.
- They ban various players and people due to their political and social views. For example;
- They banned Blitzchung, a Hearthstone pro player for his support of Hong Kong during their protests against China for human rights since they feared keeping him would hurt sales in mainland communist China.
- They banned the "okay" hand gesture due to the media getting baited by 4chan's troll thread which claimed that it was a "white supremacy" symbol.
- They ban and censor several gaming channels in cooperation with SJW-minded Twitch moderators.
- They banned Savjz, another Hearthstone pro player after his wife criticized the company for laying off 770 employees despite the company's profitable record in 2018.
- Many of their employees are SJWs who often post anti-white comments on Twitter. Some examples include:
- Madeleine Roux, who constantly bashes white people like there's no tomorrow, and also treats customers like trash.
- Kami Garcia, who supports discrimination against whites, and falsely accused them of having more serial killers and pedophiles than any other race.
- LL McKinney, who falsely claims that whites only exist to be racist.
- Molly Knox Ostertag, who claims that older white men are the "plague" of the industry.
- Many of their older games are actually awesome, such as the Call of Duty titles from the original Call of Duty to Black Ops II, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise before it was taken over by Robomodo, and a plethora of Marvel games prior to X-Men: Destiny.
- Although it's a rare occurrence nowadays, they sometimes still make good games thanks to some talented studios under their wing, like Vicarious Visions, Beenox and Toys For Bob.
- They published Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice outside Japan, which is a great single player game. Even better, the only thing they had requested was to add the "Shadows Die Twice" to the title and otherwise had no hand in the development of the game.
- Even though many of their licensed games are terrible, they can sometimes be fun to fans of the said franchise, such as the Spider-Man games from 2000 to 2012, and some games based on DreamWorks films like Shrek 2 and Shrek Superslam.
- They are the world's first third-party publisher, making many classics for the Atari 2600 including Pitfall and River Raid.
- They stopped selling multiplayer maps with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), giving its further maps for free and without any console early access exclusivity like previous Call of Duty installments.
- They're still one of the few companies that still including split-screen to their games (that does not mean all of their games).
- They have been ended with the loot boxes in their games, starting with Modern Warfare (2019), in favor to Battle Passes by seasons though.
- They gave a big breath of air to the Crash Bandicoot franchise after almost ten years (despite cancelling many games) which helped to becoming popular again and the success of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy influenced them to remaster games the same way, such as Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (not to be confused with that mediocre remake by Robomodo).
- It's nice to see they are giving a better treatment to the Crash and Spyro series unlike Vivendi Universal who gave an awful treatment to Naughty Dog with the development of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, rushed some games such Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly resulting in a lot of glitches and launched Crash Twinsanity with the same issues plus a big amount of cut content. Vivendi also launched lame titles to the series such as Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage and Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy and Crash Boom Bang!. Ultimately Vivendi Universal sold itself to Activision.
- They are no longer partnered with Bungie, which allows Bungie to self-publish Destiny 2 updates.
- Nowadays they release games a short time after announcing them, instead of announcing them way to early like most companies.
- At least they had a few fun games, unlike their "lost brother".
- Despite not supporting the Nintendo Switch, They along with Ubisoft still showed support to Nintendo’s Wii U, which was struggling very hard.
- Despite their reputation, they used to be one of the best gaming companies back then.
- They've made one of the best franchises of all time like WarCraft.
List of studios that were acquired or approached by and shut down
- Sierra Entertainment
- Shaba Games
- Troika Games
- Red Octane
- Underground Development
- Budcat Creations
- Neversoft (Merged with Infinity Ward and then closed)
- Gray Matter Interactive
- The Blast Furnace
- 7 Studios
- Bizarre Creations
- Radical Entertainment (still around, but were severely crippled in 2012)
- Raven Software (survived, but were demoted to supporting the development of the Call of Duty series since 2010)
- id Software (saved by Bethesda)
- Vicarious Visions (survived, but now owned by Blizzard, so they are now limited to work with its franchises)