Vivendi cashes in post-Blizzard merger

First-half revs rise despite 22.7 percent games-division earnings drop; Lich King still coming in '08.

Vivendi Games and Activision shook the industry late last year when they announced plans to join forces to become the largest third-party publisher in the world, in a deal worth $18.9 billion. After a six-month period the union finally became official on July 9.

Following the merger, French media conglomerate Vivendi revealed yesterday that it is in rude health financially. According to the company's half-year earnings report, revenue for the first six months of 2008 is up 10.2 percent from the same period last year, from €10.223 million ($14.91 million) to €11.268 million ($16.44 million).

Despite the increase in group revenue, Vivendi's games division earnings were actually down from the same period in 2007, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, and amortisation) dropping 22.7 percent to €92 million ($130 million)--partly due to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade launching during the same period last year. Vivendi also confirmed the next WOW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is on track for release later this year, despite widespread rumors of a delay until Q1 2009.

Chairman of Vivendi's management board Jean-Bernard Levy said in the statement, "Vivendi's performance during the second quarter 2008 reflects the quality and dynamism of our business units in a tighter economic environment...[including] the creation of Activision Blizzard, the global leader in video games publishing, in which Vivendi holds a 54 percent stake."

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

Want the latest news about World of Warcraft?

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Discussion

49 comments
neonblueshadow
neonblueshadow

whats with this all this nonsense about "go blizzard". Blizzard is only one part of Vivendi games division, and this article is about Vivendi's performance as a whole, not Blizzard's. Also, open beta for any blizzard game at this point would be counter productive. more gamers would use the opportunity to play it as a game and not test it for flaws,and tell their friends how buggy it is, and since most of the gaming population is full of unthinking and unintelligent cases, the game will just end up suffering bad press through word of mouth rather than good marketing or bug fixing. ( before someone argues the point 'beta stage' by its definition means the software/game will be buggy...)

Daishomei
Daishomei

Go Blizzard, a great company, known for 3 great series such as Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo.

SpellbinderNV
SpellbinderNV

I am playing on the Beta. What is my understanding is that the beta is 1-2 months behind the internal alpha. The patches come weekly and things are looking good despite a large amount of the post level 80 content that is missing (or just not enabled to beta yet). They have recently allowed character copies of PvP geared premades sporting level 80 arena gear (S5?). Also, blizz has announced that the 3.0 content patch will go live sometime Sept-Oct. I think a pre-Christmas release of WotLK is on track.

lannyboy334
lannyboy334

Haha public beta for WotLK would be freaking crazy, might as well be the actual release.

quickchord
quickchord

I think people are losing sight on the difference of Devs and publishers.

Hekynn
Hekynn

Not bad but ya Blizzard needs to do some open beta's on Diablo3 and Starcraft2 :)

matty23211
matty23211

yay blizzard for owning all the other compianies. but if they do delay the realease wotlk i hope they open up a public beta atleast i mean geez

sirkel28
sirkel28

It seems though at least EA has a new attitude as far as letting the devs do their job and staying out of it. They pretty much left Mythic alone on WarHammer, and let Mythic take back their original name of Mythic Entertainment instead of EA Mythic. That is a good thing, but mergers and buyouts are always a bad thing for the rest of us.

RitterXplode
RitterXplode

They're strong but they're following EA's path. And quasi-monopolies NO GOOD. dammit.

sonicwhip
sonicwhip

i think im gonna buy WOTLK the first day it comes out even though i dont even have BC and im just a lvl 8 newb..lol

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

These scumbags are worse than EA.

Gemquist_HF
Gemquist_HF

They are definitely not going to delay on wrath of the lich king's release... I have a feeling it is going to beat TBC's release sales easily. It's just the cash boost they're looking for to wrap up '08

kretyn
kretyn

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

kretyn
kretyn

To hell with WoW and Vivendi.

nuclearbomb2000
nuclearbomb2000

bet they are gonna rush the release of the lich king

CommandZer01
CommandZer01

sooner or later the whole gaming industry is just going to become one big monopoly since everyone is buying out everyone else. I miss old school gaming, and whatever happened to Wing Commander, Mech Warrior. Anyway, I think if vivendi is smart, they will keep everyone in blizzard in the company and let them do their own thing to bail them out of the debt.

division_9
division_9

The end of EA would be a dramatic historical event in gaming industry because so many franchises would just die. I can just imagine "Today EA has filed for bunkrupcy meaning the following games & franchises are officially cancelled. Sports NBA game series MLB game series NHL game series Madden series Fifa series Racing Nascar game series Burnout Series Need for speed series Action Medal of Honor series Command and Conquer series Godfather series Battlefield series"

ea_goodandy
ea_goodandy

Sounds like a war. But that's fine. Wars usually introduce new and very useful technology. So hopefully we'll see a bunch of good games come out of this, instead of lazy developers.

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

One day it will just be EA vs Activision... all other publishers will either be acquaired or out of business. I miss all the old-school companies like Origin, Bullfrog, Acclaim, GT interactive, etc :(

Pete5506
Pete5506

Don't worry blizzard is there

Ychi
Ychi

I agree. I fail to see the win for the customers here. Only making the fat cats more money and squeezing the blood out of any diversity in the market place. We have seen EA's handy work at driving their money machine all over the market, now these guys. Brilliant. Its like that scene in the Idiocracy movie "I like money" "Wow I like money too, we have a lot in common". I guess our only option for gaming evolution/revolution in development is direct to download demo's like the old days when ID first started.

Spincut
Spincut

I dunno, without Blizzard (well as of many recent years just WOW) does Vivendi really honestly have a quality games division? isnt this why in spiteo f raking in all the profit (again, from WOW) that they are constantly incurring losses?

greedom
greedom

It's not going to be too pleasant when it's down to two companies battling it out.

ctg867
ctg867

Well that's great. And while you cash in, gamers all get screwed because in Activision's greed and lazy publishing they let go more then a handful of games that could turn out to be great. I absolutely hate this merger, and wish it never happened. As long as EA doesn't screw us all by taking over Take-Two, then they're my new favorite mega company. Otherwise, I guess I'm settling for.... wait a second, who the hell else is there? Activision bought Vivendi. If EA buys Take-Two they're both out of the picture. Jeez, at this point it's either the first parties or it's the Japanese publishers, and I don't think anybody but Sony is particularly fantastic out of those groups.

ZOnikJJ
ZOnikJJ

Blizzard is a money tree!

themyth01
themyth01

Good thing they have Blizzard to bail them out now.

invictuslemming
invictuslemming

I still have 3 friends who play WoW, they could care less about WAR it seems. Looks like there's more than enough of those people to go around that Blizzard won't have to worry about losing a large amount of its subscriber base. Sure they'll lose some, but they have more than enough to support the game, and if WAR does some how manage to screw up, the WotLK expansion will draw the defectors back again.

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

GrimGravy
GrimGravy

i am looking forward to WAR but i don't see my self on it to much when wrath comes out personally

Holdwick
Holdwick

This is an EPIC merger! EA now has some monopoly competition!!! WHA HA HA HA!!! :D P.S. I hate big companies, they don't seem to have the same heart as the little ones!

muffinmanjedi
muffinmanjedi

Enough of when WoW is coming out, when is Diablo III coming out is the real question

Lach0121
Lach0121

wow was not the first mmo, it was infact the mmo that brought mmo gaming to a mainstream....

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

I agree to an extent, Virtua. There are a number of elements playing against it. First off, I suppose what you can call it is fanboyism although the word is far too potent and far too general For many WoW is their first and you can never forget your first. Also, it's easy to come out with the mistaken belief that WoW is the first MMO and that games like WAR are copying it (when in reality WoW took its best qualities from other MMO games like the Everquest Franchise and Star Wars online and that Warhammer Fantasy had that aesthetic and artistic design long before WoW). It won't be easy for them to admit that there might be something here in WAR when they've only had one experience which, as a whole, has been pretty pleasant. There are other misconceptions being perpetuated, too, which people need to get over for the betterment of this game. WAR is not a "hardcore" game. It is a game for "hardcore" and "casual" gamers alike to both enjoy. It is NOT a PvP game. It is an RvR game. The emphasis may be more on PvP but PvE also makes up a large part of RvR. There is plenty of PvE endgame content. Also, Dark Night, what you speak of isn't a strategy. They simply couldn't do it. Those classes were considered pretty bad by the designers and the testers and they just couldn't improve them by release which, by that time, had already been decided. But I don't see it as a major hinderance. They're striving for quality over quantity and I can get behind that.

buzzguy
buzzguy

Man, what are they gonna do when WoW finally kicks the bucket?

yah00w360
yah00w360

Wtf... theyre gonna delay it to Q1.. .Damn!

VirtuaCast
VirtuaCast

I think WOW is the first casual MMORPG. I know thats not easy to say with monthly fee but they do have a lot of them. I don't think WAR will get the casuals or the numbers at first, it will take time. WAR certaily has potential though.

IDarkNight
IDarkNight

The strategy of remove 4 classes in WAR is the worst strategy i have seen. 'Cause the people will wait for see it but when this classes arrive. The expansion of WoW will be here and the people will pass of WAR for play WoW.

bigelf72
bigelf72

With so many people leaving WAR:BETA already and reactivating their AOC accounts. AOC seems to be WOTLK's only competition, yet it doesn't even some close in players.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Pieter, remember that lvling 1-60 was the same as doing 61-70 in terms of time. One new area ... A VERY BIG area with massive zones remember its not ONE zone. Professions arent that important nor ever were, they are just an addition. There is a TON of new content for WotLK

Pieter101
Pieter101

Wow is Nice But its a Pit Expensive Wotlk Is nice But Not manny new things 1 more class 1 more Place 1 more Professional +10 lvl cap Wath will be the Nexst Expension Of Wow?

Kvain
Kvain

Gotta agree with Draaagoon (nice vowel usage, btw) and Huffle. Although other MMOs will draw some player interest away from WoW, it won't be enough to make a difference--at least, not this time.

Draaagoon
Draaagoon

I have to agree with Huffle on this one. Many people thought that AOC would draw many WOW subscribers but there is simply too many people playing WOW for AOC or WAR to make that much of a difference.

HufflePuff-TLH
HufflePuff-TLH

I dont think that WAR will pull to many ppl away from WOW, with the expansion hitting lot's will try both and many stay.

bropie
bropie

Lets see how that number of subscribers is after the release of WAR

02sfraser
02sfraser

its actually insane how many people play WoW. i seen a preview of the next expansion and to be honest its looking pretty good. and this is coming from someone who doesnt like WoW