Activision 'likely' to sell cutscenes as movies

CEO Bobby Kotick suggests publisher could sell $20-$30 stand-alone Starcraft II film built from cinematics and top biggest box office debut ever.

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Blizzard Entertainment's games are renowned for their strikingly cinematic cutscenes. It's a reputation that parent company Activision is looking to capitalize on, as evidenced by comments CEO Bobby Kotick made in a presentation today at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Media, Communications, and Entertainment Conference.

"I oughta be in pictures?"

In talking about Blizzard's latest hit, the 3 million-selling Starcraft II, Kotick noted that there was more than an hour of prerendered and in-game cutscenes in the real-time strategy title.

"If we were to go to our audience and say we have this great hour-and-a-half of linear video that we would like to make available to you at a $30 price point or $20 price point, you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever," Kotick said. "Within the next five years, you are likely to see us do that. Now that may be in partnership with somebody; it may be alone. But there will be a time when we capitalize on the relationship that we have with our audience."

Kotick said that Activision could do better than a traditional video company with such a product because "we have their credit card information and we have a direct relationship" with them, meaning the company could bypass the expenses of standard distribution methods. What's more, given the loyalty of the company's enthusiast consumer base, he believes "an extremely high percentage" would be willing to then go to a theater and see the same film.

This isn't the first time a publisher has embraced that idea. In 2001, Sega launched a limited Japanese theatrical run of Shenmue cut together from various parts of the Dreamcast original. The movie was later included with the Xbox version of Shenmue II. The following year, Blizzard itself released a three-DVD set featuring the cinematics from Starcraft, Starcraft: Brood War, Diablo II, and Warcraft III, as well as director's commentary and cinematics. The company continues to offer similar DVDs for Starcraft and World of Warcraft at a $10 price point, although many users have stitched together their own movies from the games' cutscenes on YouTube.

That wasn't the only part of Kotick's presentation that had touches of Hollywood. He talked about a vision he had held for years that is coming true, namely that the audience for games would broaden such that it more closely resembled the audiences for television and films. (Activision is likely to see significant overlap on that front sometime in the next few years, as director Sam Raimi and Warner Bros. are currently working on a Warcraft-inspired feature film.)

Kotick also touted the facial animation and lip-synching technology in the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops as a breakthrough for the gaming industry. He said it is the first game where the company has advanced the animation technology far enough "that the lines being delivered are believable." He also said the ability to have characters with whom players could form an emotional connection--the same way they do with characters in movies--was a "Holy Grail" in the industry.

Discussion

450 comments
hoyt414
hoyt414

$20 or $30 for a freaking CGI movie? Bobby Kotick's got to get his head out his rear end. People don't even go to the already overpriced $9 movies. God, I hate that man.

Brilliant_R
Brilliant_R

Kotick wants more money... surprise? I think not. $__$ = Kotick's face while looking at any random thing Agree?

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

When are they going to throw this guy out...

Digital_DJ_00
Digital_DJ_00

"Quality" and "Fair" is not in Koticks vocabulary.....

Digital_DJ_00
Digital_DJ_00

Since when did Activision answer to Blizzard? I know they joined a year and a half ago but think about it: does anyone have ANY idea how much Blizzard makes a month from WoW? Blizzard would have done themselves a favor by buying out Activision because Kotick is an ass clown... $15 for MW2 Maps and now you think because we purchased your inflated DLC, we're gonna fetch over an extra 50% for a movie ticket? "you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever" Um, sorry to burst your bubble, but just because your fanbase is forking over $60 for a game DOES NOT mean they'll pay $30 for a movie ticket, that's rediculous Kotick... This is guy is something else...

hardeman
hardeman

activisions greed knows no bounds

mrhagane
mrhagane

dude.. could someone bring kotick down from activision? if not i'll do it... i would like to see kotick become office boy with low salary (50 cent), to serve me with a coffee everyday.

mrhagane
mrhagane

lol... hahahaha.. seriously bobby kotick is a genius comedian this article is really funny.. "CEO Bobby Kotick suggests publisher could sell $20-$30 stand-alone Starcraft II film built from cinematics and top biggest box office debut ever" so.. the greedy of bobby kotick was "over exaggerate" so... in order to got "more money" he not only sold COD DLC with high price but also he sold "CUTSCENE?!" ahahahahha!! his is really funny.. he wanted to tricked non gamer costumer with "CUTSCENE" btw... who the hell wants to watch "CUTSCENE" any way? he is stupid... this is amazing!! Bobby kotick rocks!! XP

jimbo913
jimbo913

he is such a tool. i hate him. he lives in a fantasy world. i mean who actually pays 20 or 30 dollars to go see a movie. so he is just making up prices for tickets now?

yang4200
yang4200

LOL no thanks.. I'll just Youtube for all my cut scene need

jonford
jonford

Comments like "there will be a time when we capitalize on the relationship that we have with our audience." concern me that Activision may break the spirit of Blizzard games like they did with MW2. Though I'd love to see a full length motion picture of Starcraft, Warcraft, or Diablo.

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

If you don't like Activision, don't buy the games. Complaining solves NOTHING.

Incrognito
Incrognito

@Animatronic64 At least half of the people you see 'complaining' are going to buy it anyway. Gamespot is absolutely no exception. I'm pained to say it, but to believe anything less is pitifully naive. As long as people have enough money that they don't have to ration it, they will moan and b**ch until the cows come home and then go hypocricize themselves when the moment comes.

Ashki
Ashki

I'm glad I ditched these idiots when they dumped Ghostbusters.

Orangetastical
Orangetastical

Kotick, please get off the money diet. Surprised you aren't morbidly obese with how much of it you eat....

Narwhal7
Narwhal7

THAT IS SUCH A LOAD OF BULL--CRAP!!! Why charge us for something we already have?? I mean, come on!! A film? It's not like we'll get anything extra!!!! But like Tainted Lynx said, people will buy it anyway..... -_-

tainted_lynx
tainted_lynx

EA and Activision has been ripping gamers off for years by offering games that require little to no R&D or programming at all for the same $60 MSRP that they have for prior years versions of the same games. After all, if people will buy anything you put out no matter what, I suppose greed is the way to go.

tainted_lynx
tainted_lynx

Instead of blaming Kotick, maybe you should be blaming the morons who made him rich in the first place. Keep in mind these are the same people who bought CoD: MW 2 and will be in line to buy Black Ops. It's very simple: if you don't like Kotick or his actions, make a statement... with your wallet. Take your business elsewhere never buy an Activision game until he changes his conduct. Same goes for a company like GameStop. Don't like what they do? Take your business somewhere else.

curty_flurty
curty_flurty

this probably wont happen. who can be this stupid? if he does it, he will try and putting this on air, but it wont last long.

wahyudil
wahyudil

1,5 hour of full rendered movie ... I'm sold ... but only full rendered, not in game cinematic scenes ... like Halo wars

Animatronic64
Animatronic64

You know, I can't blame the guy. If anyone is naive enough to buy into his crap, then it's their fault. I mean, we all talk about how Bobby Kotick is the devil, but for once, let's blame the real reason guy's like him get so rich: the people. I wish the masses were more like the people here on GameSpot; if that were the case, Bobby Kotick would have to find a new way to make money. It's the same scenario in the music industry, the idiots keep on putting money into their greedy pockets.

BrianB0422
BrianB0422

God I hope this guy goes away. He needs to have an accident if you know what I mean. Money grubbing Kotick always thinking of a way to pilfer a few more dollars. I hope the industry doesn't follow this clowns lead.

innerg
innerg

What you are witnessing is the slow and steady decline of gaming as a whole...with all the mergers and acquisition's.. Quarterly meetings by corporate CEO's who discuss profit and earnings...While game developers rush the "product " to meet the deadline...While I bet a lot of innovative and creative products never see the light of day in these Mega-multi-national corporations ..You ever get a new version of a game and it feels like it could have just been a expansion pack . DLC for a fee for your game you paid full price for already...All the while you pay for the broadband and yearly service to access the XBL..I dont have a problem with a developer maximizing their profit...I have issues with holding back content from a game ( that should have been in there in the first place ) and charging extra for said content. Because I remember games and studios that do it...and dont support their games in the future

innerg
innerg

Impressive CEO Bobby Kotick " your training is complete" Come take you place with the Emperor and I..It appears the Darkside is strong with you ..

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

Makes me sorry I gave him 60 bucks recently. Also, after the first 10 minutes of video, I skipped every cut scene. If I spend 30 bucks for this new movie, I sure hope that I can skip it with a click.

youngsexynerd
youngsexynerd

fenix0003 thats probaly the best comment ive read in a while!!

peacemakersanad
peacemakersanad

Booby Kotick, i wonder what will you do if you have/had boobs?

CrashOV
CrashOV

This is what gaming is coming to. it all started with the casual gamers and their FPS's and 10's of sequels a year. Then the acceptance of " Forget it if it doesnt work, we'll fix it in an update at some point." and so on. now the game industry is changing into nothing but petty cash thievery like this and DLC. and their easily thrown together FPS games. and still they wonder why companies are going out of bussiness.

Ignition93
Ignition93

Doesn't he realize he's basically asked his fans to never play an Activision/Blizzard game ever again? Did you happen to like that cutscene in Starcraft 2? Well no longer will you have the hastle of playing the game to reach that cutscene, or even opening the game and watching it from the menu! For the easy price of $20-30, you too, can watch any cutscene in the game without even opening the game itself!

Nericor
Nericor

Well, someone sounds drunk on power/success. Besides most games already have a feature to view all previously seen cutscence, why am I going to pay another $20-$30 for something I already have?

Forcecaster
Forcecaster

@george43 And then we will just have to hack and crack the hell out of Activision.

Tylendal
Tylendal

People would buy it though. That's the sad part.

legatoistheman
legatoistheman

I agree Devilzzz, Advent Children was a waste of money too. You cant just make new cutscenes and throw them together and try to make it a movie, there has to be a plot and it has to be well written. Advent children was gorgeous but not well written. SC2 is gorgeous and well written but just putting cutscenes together doesnt make a movie it makes a montage.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I bet he was drunk when he said this. We've all gotten a little braggy when we've had one too many cocktails. For you or I, it may be about what a child has done, how fast or powerful our vehicle is, or a single amazing achievement in videogames or sports. For this guy, it's "My company's movies ROCK. I'm takin' 'em to the CINEPLEX! WOOOOOOOOOooooOOOOOOO!"

Akiios
Akiios

Bobby Kotick...Open Mouth insert foot, this guy does realize we are reading this right?

fenix0003
fenix0003

This guy must be doing something right because he is still CEO. It take a lot of skills and knowledge to run a huge business like Activision Blizzard, BUT my main problem that I have with this guy is that he is not humble and his goals is really not to make great games / experiences for gamers but rather to make experiences for money. Every thing this guy says is somehow tied to money. He wears a mask so thin it is so easy to see where his heart lies in this industry.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

biggest opening weekend of any film ever?????? at $20-30 a person... Has someone slipped this guy some drugs?

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

$30 for a 'stitched together' cutscene video at the "box office"... the man has to be out of his freakin mind. I love blizzard games and their cutscenes add to them, but even Avatar didn't charge $20-30 for 3D unless you were at an Imax. I would be concerned as an investor when a company has this kind of inflated model in their head of what their content is worth. Sure they will milk some fanboys for some cash... but the biggest blockbuster ever? don't make me laugh!

Opalance
Opalance

Key phrase here, "But there will be a time when we capitalize on the relationship that we have with our audience" In other words, they are going to milk their fanboys for all their money.

legatoistheman
legatoistheman

I agree Devilzzz, Advent Children was a waste of money too. You cant just make new cutscenes and throw them together and try to make it a movie, there has to be a plot and it has to be well written. Advent children was gorgeous but not well written. SC2 is gorgeous and well written but just putting cutscenes together doesnt make a movie it makes a montage.

system3142
system3142

The sad part is that there is a general trend to pay for things with a price tag. So what if it's just a bunch of cut-pasted cutscenes you've already seen? You get to see them in a theatre now. You know what? I'll give you achievement points for it. No? How about an exclusive SC2 Limited Edition Visor? A Kerrigan stuffed toy made in Zimbabwe for less than $1? It really is just that easy to fool the average gamer, so yeah. I don't agree with his ethics, but his methods are spot on.

hitmaneidos
hitmaneidos

We could all shout and yell against this. But fools and their money are soon parted and people like Kotick will be there to take advantage of that.