Here's What Activision Blizzard Thinks About Cloud Gaming

Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned for success, CEO says.

17 Comments
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Now Playing: Google Stadia: What We Need To Know

Cloud gaming is poised to potentially be the Next Big Thing for gaming, and one of the companies that stands to benefit the most is Activision Blizzard, according to CEO Robert Kotick. In an earnings call, Kotick said new platforms like Google Stadia are good for gaming to help grow the market, but these platforms can't succeed without content.

Activision Blizzard owns and controls decades worth of content, and that positions the company uniquely, Kotick said. "When you own 30 years of IP like we do, there's probably never been a better time to be in the games business," Kotick said. "When these big, well-funded companies are building out platforms where they have limited amounts of content to actually serve up to customers, I'd say there's a great opportunity for a company like ours."

"For starters, they will all try to broaden the audience for gaming and make big investments and commitments to doing so and that's just helpful for growing the market," Kotick added. "But in each case, none of these platforms can succeed without great content. Truthfully, they really don't know how to make it. So when you think about what will be required, it will be support from us [and other game publishers] to allow them to actually build an audience. We have a better audience than most to capitalise on all these new platforms."

Google Stadia's announcement in March was light on content partners, leading some to shrug the service off. Stadia boss Phil Harrison teased that more details will be announced in June, so it could be soon that we learn more about who Google is partnering with. Stadia has also created an internal game development team, Stadia Games led by industry veteran Jade Raymond, that will create games for Stadia.

Microsoft is working on its own game-streaming service, xCloud, and it's not a stretch to imagine that the company will tap into its long list of owned studios to make new content for the platform. Sony, too, has its PlayStation Now streaming service that will likely continue to leverage first-party studios in an addition to third-parties to build out its content catalog as Xbox is expected to do.

Outside of those companies that are directly tied to game development, Amazon, Verizon, and Wal-Mart are among the non-gaming companies that are confirmed or rumoured to be building cloud gaming platforms. Those companies will need game content to build out their services.

Going back to Kotick, he said distribution models are always evolving and changing for games, and he expects this to continue with cloud gaming. In the next 5-10 years, Kotick said there will be "more ways and places to engage players [and] that serves us better than almost any other company." Kotick added that, beyond partnering with the new cloud gaming services, Activision has a unique opportunity to connect directly with its massive network of 345 million monthly active players across its catalog of games.

Kotick is not the first gaming executive to discuss the issue of cloud gaming companies and a potential struggle to get compelling content. Xbox boss Mike Nichols said about Stadia, "They don't have the content."

What do you think about cloud gaming? Let us know in the comments below! You can also read GameSpot's cloud gaming primer to find out everything you need to know.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Cloud gaming is just another way for companies take ownership away from customers and to control the games you purchase.

All Activision sees is dollar signs.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Cloud gaming is the future, it is unavoidable, and undeniable..,.. but right now cloud gaming sucks. And that is not just me, but alot of journalists that have tried PS now, and Geforce cloud - have complained. All the great benefits that cloud gaming has to offer, is dulled by hurdles that are not going away anytime soon. Being able to play a 4k AAA multiplayer game at its highest settings, all with just an appropriate screen is enticing and very possible, in the vacuum of Google-fiber and perfect latency.

Simple fact is that the richest, most advanced, and creative nation on Earth..... has some of the shittiest internet as well. We go from the very fastest there is, to calling satellite internet with 2000ms latency - broadband and leaving some communities broadband isolated. All the while allowing cable providers pick and choose what content gets to go fast, slow, or not at all. It is wise for companies to prepare for cloud gaming, but not to advertise it for more then what it is now- poorly implemented and very unsatisfying to use. I played the Sands of Time with 500gb connection and low latency, while not a twitch based games, it would still have highs and lows of responsiveness. And then played Atelier JRPG game that played very smooth, (very light data usage, back and forth) - but did have periods of ..hiccups?? i guess, that would slog it down, taking alot of fun away.

What needs to happen: is for the FCC to establish clear cut guidelines for what broadband is and is not. With rules and regulation that protects a consumers purchase of internet/broadband to guarantee they are getting what they are paying for. Then tons of work on infrastructure, pushing proper broadband to all of the country.

Avatar image for howlingfantod
HowlingFantod

"Cloud gaming is poised to potentially be the Next Big Thing for gaming." So true. Just look at how incredibly awesome Crackdown 3 and its cloud-powered destructible environments were!!!

Avatar image for Pupchu
Pupchu

Over 30 years of games and content, yet all Activision does is releasing Call of Duties...

Avatar image for ember_to_flame
Ember_to_Flame

They will earn a shit ton of money, but I have 0 interest in cloud gaming.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Remote play over a local network has noticeable lag on 60 fps games, so no, this isn't the next big thing.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

Data caps and crappy internet in general kills this for me. My brother is in a worse spot. He's in an area where he has to use a Verizon Hotspot to get any internet at all...well, dialup is still an option there, but that's not even good for web browsing now. Either way, heavily internet dependent gaming is just not an option for some people.

Avatar image for jyml8582
jyml8582

Cloud gaming isn't replacing the physical media, it's simply another option for consumer. Music has gone digital for more than a decade and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are booming with subscribers, and yet people still buy physical albums. Stadia and other would-be cloud gaming services will co-exist in harmony with the digital downloads and physical media, at least for the next decade and half.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@jyml8582: Music has no issue being digitally streamed. Video has no issue being digitally streamed. Both can be buffered.

Video games cannot.

Avatar image for goobermcdermit
GooberMcDermit

Not interested in cloud gaming at all personally.

Avatar image for Vodoo
Vodoo

Already positioning themselves to try to milk Google. I also wouldn't say Google is not capable of making games. They are one of the biggest software companies on the planet, with some of the smartest people. Obviously they will need third party games, but ActiBliz trying to swoop in just doesn't pass the smell test. And most people don't want your 30 yr old IP's.

Avatar image for lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

I think an lot of people are going to be shocked sooner or later. Cloud Gaming has an lot of potential to be an success as long as it is deployed with great support from beginning to the future. I am not going to bash it as I prefer to have the game on my system but I am willing to try it at least. Even if some may not want it, it is still coming and in time it will become commonplace as features before has become. There is always push back in the beginning but then after an while it is accepted if not freely.

Avatar image for justthetip
JustTheTip

Cloud gaming will not be the next big thing for at least 10 more years. PS5 will see to that. Gamers don’t want cloud gaming yet. I remember probably 5 years ago, when they said mobile gaming is the next big thing. Well, it’s been all these years and it still hasn’t become the next big thing.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@justthetip: wha. what about all the millions of mobile games. what about all the aaa houses churning out games like super mario run pokemon go fortnite and tes blades. what about the billions mobile games made last year compared to not so billiony actual games

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Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

The company that made its fortune on CoD multiplayer and the biggest MMORPG around is BULLISH on Cloud gaming. Shocking.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

Call Of Duty has had the same network issues and disconnects since COD 4 so I don't even want to imagine what a multiplayer COD match would be like via streaming.

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Avatar image for justthetip
JustTheTip

@gamingdevil800: Dude... For real. What a nightmare.