Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Activision Using Zombie Publisher To Relaunch Mobile Ambitions?

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) announced yesterday that they've stepped directly into the iPhone Game App publishing fray with the release of Call of Duty: World At War: ZOMBIES, based on Treyarch's uber-successful console franchise. The 3-D, multi-player, Nazi zombie killer (is zombie it's own sub-genre yet?) was built by quality UK developer Ideaworks and retails in the US for $9.99. Initial user ratings are pretty good, but there aren't enough of them yet for it to be meaningful and we'll have to wait to see what the professionals say. I think there are 2 significant things to takeaway from this release:

1) This move makes it pretty clear that Activision licensee Glu Mobile (GLUU), which just released their Call of Duty: World At War: Force Recon mobile game on other platforms, is not going to be publishing Activision titles on iPhone anytime soon. Moreover, while this may just be a toe in the water, I think it probably means that Activison Blizzard is re-ramping their mobile publishing ambitions.

2) Assuming I'm right on the point above, then its super-ironic that Activision is using the account of the mobile games publishing unit they briefly had post-merger with Vivendi Games, and summarily dismantled last year to focus on licensing. Currently, in the App Store, Call of Duty: World At War: ZOMBIES appears as a Vivendi Games Mobile title. The good news is that under that moniker COD is in great company... VGM's only other title Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D continues to rock the Top 100 more than a year after release and is one of the all-time top grossing Apps on iTunes! The bad (sad) news is that Activision's lack of foresight (or patience) resulted in their losing a high-quality global team and to the extent they are rebuilding, it will inevitably cost them much more than if they had left Vivendi Games Mobile intact.

1 comment:

  1. They have and they will buy in again. Just a matter of time. Why using Glu for iPhone? They showed how "good" they are in iPhone till now.

    EA already have his mobile unit and Gameloft seems to be good for Ubisoft as well. So whats left. They know how Glu works and if they wanted to buy them they would have done this ages ago. But what will you buy - a company without money, management, ideas and visions? No one will burn the fingers on Glu in the moment.

    So lets wait and see.

    Patient and knowledge is required and I am not sure if Activision really has it.

    The iPhone is also not the best market to be in the moment. iPhone means a lot of loosers. How many publishers are getting out the investment? I am not talking about the few happy single developers that had a one hit wonder! Beeing sucessfull will mean making again and again a Top 10 title... not many can do it in the moment.