Activision/Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick's Latest Great Idea

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News Posted: Mon, Sep 27 2010 11:12 AM
Covering the declarations of Bobby Kotick is a bit like monitoring the behavior of an active volcano. It's impossible to predict exact when he'll blow, but when he inevitably does, the event will blast molten stupid in every direction. The man's latest bright idea is to charge for cutscenes. This wouldn't affect in-game play, but would be an out-of-game option. Here's what Bobby envisions, in his own words.
If we were to go to an audience and say ‘We have this great hour and a half of linear video that we'd like to make available to you at a $20 or $30 price point’ you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever,” he told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in California, as reported by IGN.

Within the next five years, you are likely to see us do that. It might be in a partnership with somebody or alone, but there will be a time where we'll capitalise on the relationship we have with our audience; deliver them something that is really extraordinary and let them consume it directly through us instead of theatrical distribution. “If we were to deliver a film digitally this way, I'd say an extremely high percentage would then go to the theater and watch it again," Kotick concluded.
Blizzard has a long history of producing top-notch cutscenes and the moderate financial success of film tie-ins like Final Fantasy: Advent Children has established a certain precedent. Given a sufficiently large fan base and a decent story, CGI game movies can succeed. A film based on characters from Starcraft 2, if well executed, could be a huge hit, particularly in South Korea. The idea is solid—the cost structure isn't.

It's kinda like this.

Bobby couldn't be more wrong when he predicts his $20-30 movie would break box office records. What it would actually break is the Internet, with thousands of people rushing to download a blurry screen-captured version of the film. We might pay that much for a full DVD/Blu-ray version of the film, with the usual goodies and commentary that come with such versions, but never in a theater. The reason Kotick is backing this horse boils down to profit. According to the CEO, "My guess is unlike film studios that are really stuck with a model that goes through theatrical distribution and takes a signification amount of the profit away."

At the envisioned price point a Starcraft movie is a disaster waiting to happen, but it's also par for the course for a man who wanted to jack the price of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 higher than the initial $54.95, wants a piece of XBox Live revenue (claiming that 60 percent of players are on it to play CoD), believes workers should constantly fear for their job security, and measures game value solely by profit. The one upside to Kotick's stewardship is that Blizzard's own game quality doesn't appear to have been impacted. Starcraft 2 was a top-notch production; our experience with the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta suggests it'll be polished to the same sheen. 
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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Sep 27 2010 11:26 AM

More priceless Joel here. He's kind of like HH's very own Andy Rooney. :)

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karmafire replied on Mon, Sep 27 2010 11:47 AM

It's always surreal to see this guy's brain at work. It's like a corporate AI bot talking.

Seriously, is he a bot? =P

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Inspector replied on Mon, Sep 27 2010 3:00 PM

:d love how he just gets random ideas. i bet he wakes up in the middle of the night from a dream to writes it down ...

I wouldn't mind watching a sc2 movie but not pay 20-30 for it.

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SHolladay replied on Tue, Sep 28 2010 5:23 AM

So what he's saying is, we can play the game but in order to get the story that goes along w/ it we have to pay $20-$30 more? Is he whacked?

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Hey now! I wake up in the middle of the night and write down my dreams!

But I also look at them later to evaluate them as being viable or not:P

With all that goes into making FMV's I could understand making DVD's with the characters as an intro story for the game. Much like what DC is doing with all the Apocalypse, WW, DVD movies to build up excitement about DC Universe online! The only problem is that these dill-Holes like to think that they are the geniuses and the ones who actually create the content gets used and shoved aside. SO you will never get the coolest that you can to sell the product! Just like DC sending all the production of their staple characters to MOI Korea instead of employing people here for the market that they sell to!

Seriously all they need to do is release them as DVD/BR movies, then embed a script into the images of the film so if it is played on anything other than a regular player or is copied. Then it would release a virus to shut down Bit sites and digital copies! Then they would be stuck with secondary cam copies from tv:P

Then again these Dill-holes are like the same ones who want people to pay 18 bucks for a 3D movie, just to pat themselves on the back for stealing a Kevin Costner movie and making it look like Halo:P

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A good group of game devs could totally make a movie that many people would watch and pay for. Selling half a game or trying to make a game were you could get the whole story just out of the cut scenes and trying to double dip is a total different idea. Activision should really take the mic away from this guy. Because he is stupid.

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affinity replied on Mon, Oct 4 2010 10:18 PM

If he'd like to take Activision into the movie industry, just have Blizzard make a Warcraft movie in the same CG that accompanies their games/expansions. I'd pay to see that. He is such a corporate shill that he keeps throwing piles of *** at the 'how to charge more money for a game' wall to see what sticks.

Every time this guy uses the word 'monetize' a kitten dies.

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