Report: Acti-Blizz contemplating iTunes rival, acquisitions

CEO Robert Kotick tells Reuters the current top third-party publisher is pondering selling original recordings alongside Guitar Hero tracks and considering "appropriate" buyouts.

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For a company that's skipping the E3 Media & Business Summit, Activision Blizzard sure is generating a lot of headlines. Less than 24 hours after becoming the world's biggest third-party publisher, the new company has reportedly revealed an initiative that could upend the music business.

Today, Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick told the Reuters news service that his company is contemplating launching a digital music store similar to Apple's iTunes for use with its billion-dollar Guitar Hero franchise. Unlike the popular a la carte digital download service used by MTV Games and Electronic Arts' Rock Band, the proposed store would reportedly let players download original recordings as well as songs to play in the game.

"When you think about the potential for what we will be able to do together, there have not been many viable alternatives to iTunes," Kotick said. If you're downloading a song to play on your Guitar Hero, there's no reason why you can't download the performance also. ... When you look at Universal Music Group as having such a big slate of artists and a large catalog and such a well balanced presence over all the major territories in the world, there are plenty of opportunities."

While Kotick's comments are not a formal announcement of any iTunes rival, they are part of Activision Blizzard's new, more ambitious outlook. Instead of strictly competing against other publishers like nemesis EA, the new, Vivendi-controlled $19 billion company sees traditional multimedia conglomerates such as Time Warner and Disney as its rivals. Kotick called out Disney's Pixar animation studio, which just released the hit Wall-E, as vying for the same consumer dollars as Activision.

To help increase its share of the entertainment market, Activision Blizzard is also considering acquisitions, according to Kotick. "We'll have a bigger market capitalization, the resources of Vivendi available to us and the balance sheet of Vivendi available to us if there are appropriate transactions," he said. "The pace of consolidation has accelerated. It's still a fragmented business with lots of new competitors coming in the market all the time."

Discussion

78 comments
grambyte
grambyte

I just don't know about this yet. Really have strong doubts this will work out. Then again I'm wrong a lot so...

eddy96_1
eddy96_1

sounds like a good idea.. im sure the funs will b pleased with it

gamah_killah
gamah_killah

They're gonna make a lot of money together, so it's a good idea to me

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Sounds like an entirely different company now.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

What are they talking about? They are many alternatives to iTunes.

padouke
padouke

this would be really sweet to have, having a huge library of songs to choose from on guitar hero. but i think the people that actually consider the library to rival itunes are foolish. hundreds of millions use itunes, and while there are many players who own guitar hero, a lot of those prob. don't have online access. whether its activision or itunes, it's foolish to consider the library any threat to itunes' huge corporation and fan base.

djdna514
djdna514

these guys have a good idea, but declaring war on itunes is way off. Guitar hero doesnt scream "good music" to me in the first place. The only way i could see them getting more business right away is gaining the rights to the Beatles library before itunes or EA does. This way they are the first to distribute all Beatles recordings electronically, and it being thier big draw. Otherwise they have a steep road to climb, I cant play mp3's on my guitar hero controller, so including the Guitar Hero name with this, should definitely be kept on a lower scale. Also the rights to MASTERS, which allow you to play the songs on guitar hero are pricey. Thats why cover bands do a lot of the songs in GH. You cant just take a song and...BAM! the guitar vocals and drums separate. You need the Multitrack recordings for these songs, so its not like you are going to be able to download any song, then play them in guitar hero without a tech going through every song with a fine tooth comb and dividing the tracks up for play. If there is a job doing this, SIGN ME UP ACTIVISION! And fredwv, Yes there are plenty of gamers that care about iPods. Because some of us do other things as well as gaming :)

Shinob3
Shinob3

L2 READ PEOPLE! "While Kotick's comments are not a formal announcement of any iTunes rival, they are part of Activision Blizzard's new, more ambitious outlook. "

fredwv
fredwv

like gamers care about ipods

rachkovsky
rachkovsky

Whoah man this is gonna be bad... i see dead people...help me...so cold... so scared... ahhhhhhHHHHHHH!

MC_Raptor
MC_Raptor

how would this upend the music buisness, people arn't gunna stop buying music on itunes, because now they can play on GH... GH is not a music listening format, it's a game, you can listen to GH on your Ipod or *insert music device here!! hype!

Le-Beave
Le-Beave

If it means more music and better selection to choose from for GH games in future then im up for it,

MikeySSH
MikeySSH

i hope the power doesn't get to their heads

MikeySSH
MikeySSH

i hope the power doesn't get to their heads

ctg867
ctg867

If this means I get more value for a $2 song, then I'm 100% for it, because then I think it makes a $2 song download work a purchase. Do the math, $2 a song means 30 songs for $60. So I pay the price of a full game just to get half the amount of songs that are in the full game. Not even taking into consideration the entire game it works in came with that $60 purchase. If they decided to pack along a good quality .mp3 download (no DRM) then I'd be willing to spend $2 on a song. But if this just mean songs cost $3, then I couldn't be more disgusted at the nickel and diming of these companies.

BlackKnightOfH8
BlackKnightOfH8

This might just be me, but i'd much rather they focus on some of the games they've announced rather then worry about trying to dip their toes into the iTunes pool. Why don't you finish WotLK, Diablo 3 and Star Craft 2 before starting something else. Keep adding things to your plate and something is going to get pushed to the floor where the dog can get hold of it.

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

It would be good to see a truly "multimedia" company hit the market providing all forms of entertainment although this might be seen as creating a monopoly so maybe not.

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

well if they could at some point be able to make the gap between a developer and a movie company as close as possible.would we finally see a start of decent movie games and game to movie conversions. anyway i think Activision/blizzard. are trying to branch out as to make itself a better company,with more things to their names in more sectors who knows we could see a new actual competative force in other sectors as well.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

"The pace of consolidation has accelerated. It's still a fragmented business with lots of new competitors coming in the market all the time." Uh huh? That's exactly what the word competitiveness means in terms of the competition in any markets!

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

Great to hear the plan that acti-blizz more so attempts to become an empire to rival the biggest film-makers in the entertainment industry rather than settling itself as the top of just the gaming industry alone. With this ambition, or actually a philosophy or ethic they will carry into their work, they really could bring the video games medium even further, until it really reaches the people just as great as music and movies does.

ajy2
ajy2

How do people still not understand... ACTIVISION does NOT own Blizzard. Vivendi has owned Blizzard for some time and actually they own Activision now so people saying Activision owning Blizzard will ruin them or the french owning them will ruin them don't know what they are talking about. Vivendi owns all now, but they are just calling it Activision Blizzard because the Activision brand is more well known.

totaleklypse
totaleklypse

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fredwv
fredwv

just a matter of time before AB takes over the world.

Neosword
Neosword

if iTunes would take the protection off of their songs I think there'd be even less room for competition.

Agreb91
Agreb91

Why does everyone want to compete with iTunes now days?

jcasanova
jcasanova

They consider Pixar a rival, does that means they are going to make Blizzard games into movies? That could be interesting but if they plan to make better pictures than Pixar they will need better animators (I think Pixar has the best in the world so thats difficult) and better scriptwritters (also very difficult, haha). I have always thought Square should be doing more movies apart from the Final Fantasy ones. Blizzard could be offering interesting CG movies too.

Tandem_Toad
Tandem_Toad

Sumotaii, it's still all about the gaming. That's why GH is a billion dollar franchise. Even if they launch this media source, it is still to use in the game. Games in the 90's lacked the A.I., sound, and graphics that make today's games deeper, richer, and, therefore, more engrossing than the previous generation, which is ~again~ about the gaming. I can't understand why anyone would choose to have LESS options.

Sumotaii
Sumotaii

Blizzard is still my fav, Well them Old Sega and Capcom. I dunno, i wish Gaming and Gamers got back to the 90's where it was all bout gaming and gamers. I know you younger ones might get pissed at that, but last decade was all bout The gaming. Now they gotta get all insane. If Nintendo did the Wii right then it woulda been great to see Gaming get back to what it use to be, Games and Skill.

BladeMaster75
BladeMaster75

This sucks... corporate BS is going to take all the creativity and polish out of our games.

carneyfolk
carneyfolk

No, it wont be crap, but like most of the games, it will be a well made version of the same thing that we have seen for years. And i bet the gameplay hardly changes with little to no innovation.

SexyPorkins
SexyPorkins

@carneyfolk If you say so man, but I hardly doubt that Diablo 3 will be crap.

carneyfolk
carneyfolk

EA and ActiBlizz will make sure we are playing the same regurgitated crap for the next decade. Looks like i will keep an eye on my PSN and my brothers XBL for new and innovative games.

Icky27
Icky27

First the World of Warcraft, now the World.

Mortal_Medic
Mortal_Medic

I have a problem with the merge. Why was it needed? Were both companies, who happened to both be large and profitable publishers, going to go out of business soon? No. This merge just eliminates that much competition in the marketplace. And we all know the basic formula for markets. + competition = higher quality, lower prices - competition = lower quality, higher prices I don't see why any of this was needed.

technowiz999
technowiz999

EA2 anyone? Their goal isn't to produce good games, just to take out the competition....this stinks. Blizzard just got destroyed and no one realizes it. The French are maniacal people =)

LikwidX3
LikwidX3

i love activision, they provided me with joy for years with tony hawk, and i was on WoWs sack for a while, i have no problem with the merge as long as they dont screw any games up over it. my biggest worry about this whole situation is how the new logo is gonna look. and anyone saying "one day ur gonna realize ooo im holding a fake guitar" stfu, guitar hero is a very fun series, im very good at real guitar and i play guitar hero for FUN, thats why its a damn videogame, to escape reality, which is very hard work for a guitarist. :P

brightshadow525
brightshadow525

My goodness... I'm starting to get more worried about Blizzard. ActiBlizz is starting to go crazy with power.... I really hope Blizzard doesn't get affected by any of this. They should just let Blizzard do their thing, no questions asked. Blizzard has been awesome since the day they were created, there's no reason they're going to stop.

GIF
GIF

Blizzard as we know it is gone and in its place lies a souless,corporate behemoth and its all because of this acquisition. Super publishers are known to take less chances and not innovate if at all. This what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen just like in Hollywood. These huge developers now tend to play it safe and stick to established ideas/franchises which leads to stagnant, been there done that games. Sure Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 look amazing but ultimately they are copies of the last iterations. Yeah I hate saying that as a huge fan that will end up probably buying both but also as someone who can be honest with my observations. Come on guys, beyond better graphics and more complex customization, I'm not seeing anything innovative here.

Bulldog19892
Bulldog19892

Wow. So Activision and Blizzard merge together to form an empirical mega company bent on becoming mass media. Shame on everyone who bought Guitar Hero or World of Warcraft! Look what you've done!!! Seriously though I have no idea what to think of this.

A7Xfan
A7Xfan

It's cool but it's a quirk. Guitar Hero isn't a franchise that'll last forever and even if they keep adding instruments to music games, having EVERY SONG have a good, fun button sequence isn't easy and time consuming. Apple has such a great setup and it's great to have competitors but relying on Guitar Hero to run a store on a level like iTunes? Not looking good

Sw0rDMaN
Sw0rDMaN

Im starting to like this Blizzard Activision thing ^_^

frogiggy323
frogiggy323

I'm not really getting why this is very practical, if I download a song for my 360 and it can only stay on my 360, then whats the point in having it? Now if I can put the song on my ipod after I bought it, then we'd have a deal. Until then I'll stick with Rock Band, after Guitar Hero broke its weekly download promise, I don't really trust it.

tonicmole
tonicmole

Kotick is an Idiot! My god. He sounds like a media Adolf.

Keving7
Keving7

wtf half the people posting dont even get it. your not downloading whatever song you want onto guitar hero, your getting the song as an MP3 AND the guitar hero track when you download the song...aka you can listen to it without playing the game...