Activision Blizzard quietly restructures

Publisher splits business into four units specifically focused on Call of Duty, Blizzard, owned IP, and licensed properties.

Activision has been tinkering with its organizational structure in recent months, dedicating a business unit to Call of Duty and shuffling the executive deck. However, changes at the company have gone beyond the level of tinkering, according to The Los Angeles Times.

After Guitar Hero sales tanked in 2009, the franchise no longer warrants its own business unit.

The paper reported on its Web site today that Activision has quietly undergone a complete restructuring, partitioning off its business into four separate units. The Call of Duty and Blizzard Entertainment divisions will remain unchanged, but the rest of the company's business has been segmented into one unit for owned properties like Guitar Hero and one for licensed games like the Marvel Comics and Transformers titles. Previously, the Guitar Hero franchise was a business unit unto itself. According to the Times, the publisher considers the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater line an owned property and has placed it in that division.

The publisher's executive reshuffling has also been more extensive than previously revealed. Former Activision Publishing president and CEO Mike Griffith is now the company's vice chairman and advisor to CEO Bobby Kotick. Thomas Tippl is filling Griffith's old role on an interim basis, the report says, and now oversees Blizzard president Mike Morhaime. As for the newly established business units, the licensed games group will be headed up by Activision Value veteran Dave Oxford, with executive vice president of owned properties Maria Stipp taking over the owned properties line.

According to the Times, Kotick explained the moves to employees in an internal memo, saying, "This is an important change as it will allow me, with Thomas, to become more deeply involved in areas of the business where I believe we can capture great potential and opportunity."

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197 comments
redness19
redness19

Didn't think much of the article till the last paragraph; "This is an important change as it will allow me, with Thomas, to become more deeply involved in areas of the business where I believe we can capture great potential and opportunity." This is NOT a good thing. Exec's care about the bottom line, money, everything else is second. Quality just went out the window, you can expect rush jobs that meet quarter end deadlines now.

skylar123
skylar123

Nothing interesting here, just a bunch of position switches. But the fact of the gaming news reporting this is baffling. How and why is this important? I guess it's because Gamespot hates Activision and was wishing that Kotick had gotten fired, when in fact he didn't. Some people just need to grow up and stop saying "oh I won't buy any game that's published by Activision!". That's like saying "I won't buy anything from Nintendo!" It's ridiculous, you'll buy something from both of those companies because they will inevitably make a game that appeals to you. I think it's stupid to hate a company just because of the way they do business...if anything was revealed about how Microsoft goes about business (paying companies to release exclusive DLC, etc.) then they would be getting all sorts of negative press. Gaming business is dirty, it's just that Activision is the main scapegoat in terms of business practices and "beliefs", simply because the CEO is vocal about it.

Inconnux
Inconnux

@ JimmyJimJim It may not be a big deal to you but it is a HUGE deal to me... enough to be a deal breaker. If they want to stop piracy, then release it on Steam (which is DRM without the headaches). Having to log onto battlenet to play is a deal breaker for me because my laptop is not always connected. If I want to have a quick game with my friends, and I need to be online, then that means we are screwed out of playing. Splitting the game into 3 also obviously milking the franchise.

meesa3
meesa3

@Spartan-1657 My point is that it is up to the consumer to make a stand. all of this is too little too late. as long as you support overpriced, underachieving games, that is what you're going to get. MW2 could have been the best game out there, but it isn't. Activision sees that it can take a franchise, hype it up, and then half a** it. They still make millions. As long as people keep buying games with inflated prices, 1 hour long campaigns, no dedis, and overpriced DLC that was already done by launch, that is what you're going to get.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

ya i think id have to classify these titles as 'out of touch' at minimum.

Mercadeo
Mercadeo

"This is an important change as it will allow me, with Thomas, to become more deeply involved in areas of the business where I believe we can capture great potential and opportunity." = Allow me and Thomas control everything and F***K every artist that thinks they can make what the infinity wars guys did to us, resist our changes in great games for the sake of money.... activision makes me sick

Mercadeo
Mercadeo

if you are really a gamer, dont buy any more activision games. Show them that they cant do what ever they want for money

GeneralArrow
GeneralArrow

Its funny how they only cater to the stock broker now and not the gamer. Just look at there page. Its pretty obvious.

Noahthereviewer
Noahthereviewer

Okay, I'll admit Activision hasn't exactly been the best company. But if they pull themselves together, hopefully they'll be at least a good game company.

nevryn
nevryn

@ Paladin_King Um, why is it that people cannot understand this. Activision did NOT buy Blizzard. In no way, shape, or form did that occur. Blizzard's former parent company Vivendi (a super conglomerate French company), bought out Activision. They decided their entire games division should be split off so split vivendi games (which included Blizzard and would have included Activision). Vivendi still controls a majority share in the company, so it's really mostly still Vivendi. They most likely kept the ATVI stock ticker due to different regulations and people knowing the name. Now why in the heck they kept Kotick... that I have no answer to. Temporary insanity? @ Inconnux Wtf does that have to do with who controls the company? It was most likely a design decision made to attempt to control pirates as others have mentioned. Beats some of the DRM seen in like the recent C&C release that makes the game unplayable. Also, it's such a minor insignificant thing, I doubt they gave it much thought.

73X
73X

@Arcxe: Same here. What a disappointment.

BulletsnOctane
BulletsnOctane

@StanleyL - I appreciate the referral. Makes more sense. Thank you.

alfaresalasmar
alfaresalasmar

they should rename the company from activision to a better suitable name that briefly describte its interests maybe something like EVILvision or MILKINGvision

zskrabs24
zskrabs24

i miss EA games... they just bought everybody, they didn't make me hate the games they made. Activision has a touch of death to any franchise it touches lately.

perryg84
perryg84

I wish they could be like a smaller company, where it is still about making fresh games. You know, like EA!

Arcxe
Arcxe

Just scanned this article for "Kotick" and "fired," didn't see it. Disappointed.

Joshua250
Joshua250

The whole LAN problem is because of hosting bots on WC3 and programs like List Checker that allow people without CD keys to play on bnet with one legal CD key. For ex. if one person has a legal CD key, he can get all of his friends on bnet using LC. I think Blizzard needs to fix LAN/bnet rather than completely remove LAN games. If it naively supported something like Ghost hosting bots (which are kind of like dedicated servers for WC3/dota/other mods) and made bnet more intuitive the community wouldn't have to turn to alternate methods or exploiting bnet to get the features they desire. Just my two cents. Anyway, I hope Call of Duty isn't milked anymore. Activision has a habit of breaking things it touches.

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@inconnux Yea that's not a real big deal to me, I think from a business prespective they make pirating the game harder so it only makes sense since the PC market has gone downhill mainly attributed to the large amount of pirating that goes on. I did enjoy back in the day hooking up with my buddies and playing warcraft 3 but I suppose this can all just be done over battlenet now

Inconnux
Inconnux

oops I meant SC2 :) its just split into three... I actually don't care how many parts, because I won't buy it because I want LAN support.

lobotomies4free
lobotomies4free

The Call of Duty segment will remain unchanged, except for the addition of Sledgehammer Games recently, and the fact that we still can't confirm IW's involvement in the 2011 Call of Duty

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@inconnux A tad premature as the game hasn't been released yet, and from everything I've heard for each race the campaign is supposed to have somewhere around 26 to 30 missions, That's a lot of missions and a ton of playtime. If activision really had their way sc2 would have been released ages ago, and it's SC2 not 3.

Inconnux
Inconnux

For those of you who think that they are leaving Blizzard alone let me remind you that there is no LAN support for SC3 and the game has been split into three parts for extra milking.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Don't dry out the cow that is COD and Blizzard like you did with anything with Hero on the end of it.

toxicmog
toxicmog

Someone is watching over Blizzard :O WTH! They need no help ¬_¬

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

"This is an important change as it will allow me, with Thomas, to become more deeply involved in areas of the business where I believe we can capture great potential and opportunity." What he means to say is milking franchises.

blancobo
blancobo

I have to agree with the comments on the ridiculously short MW games. Both MW games are awesome!, and probably THE BEST shooters out there (only IMO)! But the hard truth is that games are all about value. Both MW games, are so awesome on the content that they immerse players into the world of modern war... leaving behind the repeated business of WW2... But the truth is that, these games should be AT least twice as lengthy to get my money's worth. Finally... Activision is on a slump! After firing the creative minds of MW, they just killed themselves... and blaming the industry on terrible GH sales is all but false... shame on them for releasing so many idiotic permutations of a game that could have been only one... and then so many more DLC's, instead of the insulting year after year permutations...

Woodsburrow
Woodsburrow

What are you guys all talking about MoH killing CoD? I really can't remember any MoH game that was that good. The last Pacific game MoH had was just bad. I'm not even a CoD nut (only played cod1 and the 2 MW games) and I can tell there is a clear quality contrast. The new MoH looks like it could be something crisp and new but they need to climb out of a hole from where I'm standing. Hope it's great though, no1 should hope for less quality or variety.

adv_tr00per
adv_tr00per

MW2 has been THE LAST "game" I'm ever buying from these pigs. EVER!!!

boarwar
boarwar

aka, how can we save money making sequels to sequels without re-inventing the wheel. somebody please tell me theyve seen the movie FOOD INC. its a documentary on how Mcdonalds and that whole revolution ruined the food industry (cows growing up in feed lots, chickens dying because of genetic mods). That movie...........is pretty much what activision is doing, destroying the fundamentals and possibilities of expansion. I CANT wait for MW3 the MMO......f.a.i.l. (F** All Individuals Loyalty)

blakeney
blakeney

@ ringworm420, did you buy those stocks before the acti-blizz merdge?? if so you will make a massive profit eitherway!;) even if you sold up last year lol!

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

@ramgoalie9 I agree, but apparently Activision DOESN'T have any interest currently in putting out new IPs or innovative titles. They are about three things: CoD, Guitar Hero, and WoW. Remember how many titles they dropped when they bought Vivendi/Blizzard? That says it all. Activision really isn't the most consumer friendly company these days. (the Brutal Legend fiasco was also laughable) Oh well, at least EA has been making strides. I guess the video game industry still needs a bad guy.

DELTSTEEZE
DELTSTEEZE

Im not down with expensive map packages or expenive dlc but im not gonna lie, I loved playing MW2...

StanleyL
StanleyL

@BulletsnOctane - Because the neither the public nor investors were informed about it. All this is coming from internal leaks. Read the Times article for specifics. Activision wasn't even commenting on the restructuring right away.

absinthewfaust
absinthewfaust

AKA - Swindle people out of their money and ruin the industry A, B, C & D.

ringworm420
ringworm420

@Elian, I'm wondering the same thing, activision's stock went up like a shot right after the merger, but WotLK's release had a very small effect on the price. If I remember rightly that was after the crash. Maybe it'd have been better for Vivendi to go public on it's own, but what's done is done and if they did that now I think Activision would probably be kind of screwed. I bet what'll happen is WoW will slow down on the profit in the next 2 or 3 years just because it's an old game and blizzard will have it's funding for diablo 3 and starcraft cut just like guitar hero. Still, I'm not selling my stock anytime soon seeing as blizzard's never put out a bad game that I can recall.

luffy11234
luffy11234

like im gonna buy the next cod,gh, and whatever else they shove at me. just give me some other company.

ramgoalie9
ramgoalie9

What Activision needs to do now is take a break on COD and work on releasing one or two really good, solid new titles instead of the progressively un-innovative Guitar Heros and Call of Dutys. While MW2 has been extremely successful for them now, it would be better for them in the long term to develop the new franchises, especially if Kotick wants his job 5 or 10 years in the future.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

Also, Guitar Hero 5 was absolutely awful. Terrible track list is terrible.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

@meesa3 Why not also look at all the praise? Put your words back where your mouth is. It isn't just activision. Maybe its the solid reviews that all the gaming sites give it. Maybe its all the support and advertisement and hype that they also include on their web sites, magazines, tv shows, etc. People wanted to play the game. So they bought it. Why would you refuse something that you wanna play just because some people dislike "the greedy pig". Now even though it probably isn't deserving of being the most successfully selling video game... its still a good game.

meesa3
meesa3

too bad so many people bought mw2 and fed the greedy pig....have fun complaining because you're the ones who supported him. Nothing is going to happen unless people actually realize that activision is evil. Their whole mindset is that we're too dumb to realize and care. look at all the hate that surounded MW2 at launch! It was still the most finacialy succesful video game in history. Until people put their money where their mouth is, activision is going to make you its b***h

Elian2530
Elian2530

So let me get this clear.. I thought it's Activision-BLIZZARD, no? With World of Warcraft's massive, and I mean massive success.. why are they laying off? World of Warcraft sees net profit no one will ever see until the economy "improves." So what was the point of the merger if Blizzard's earnings or pockets are separated from Activision's? I thought they're the same company now.. I dont get it. I know I'm missing some information here. And dont get me started with the COD:MW2 stimulus map pack $15. I think it's the most expensive map pack and/or DLC I've see for what you get...

ringworm420
ringworm420

As someone who bought a bunch of stock before the market tanked, I hope Activision pulls their things together and make me my money back.

Blargsman
Blargsman

Activision is all business, so it's not surprising to see them leave the Call of Duty series and Blizzard titles untouched and have them continue doing what they have been. But surely Guitar/Band/DJ Hero and movie-licensed needed to have their resources consolidated... seeing as how they probably reap little-to-no profit for them nowadays.

V_0_1_D
V_0_1_D

I think they didn't realize that everyone already knows that they are an evil company.

Giorgio879
Giorgio879

I am hoping to see a news report in the future that says that: due to excessive CEO douchebaggery, a team of Activision developers stormed Bobby Kotick's office, kicking him several times in the groin with a defective Guitar Hero peripheral, stripped out of his clothes, and kicked him out of Activision HQ, With Blizzard commenting "why it didn't happened earlier", One can only hope :P.

madbombr
madbombr

Leave it to activision to ruin one of the greatest game franchise's. Free online game A.V.A plays better and is more fun. Whats next, Diablo?

user_93475765
user_93475765

$15 for three new maps and two rehashes. What more needs to be said of Activision?

2point5RSman
2point5RSman

long as you "gamers" keep buying their crap, they will keep shoveling it.

tclvis
tclvis

"Tippl is filling..." Tippl who?