Activision Reduces Workforce Due to Poor Guitar Hero And Skylanders Sales

Activision is one of the most profitable video game publishers in the industry and produces a wide range of successful franchises including Call of Duty and Guitar Hero. As a result, the studio can invest large sums of money into projects and usually makes an impressive return. Although, the company doesn’t really take any risks and focuses on sequels which have a long-standing history of being popular.

For example, Activision funds a yearly release cycle for Call of Duty and continues to set record sales targets. Arguably, this has resulted in some fans being disappointed with the series due to a lack of innovation. It’s also a target of mocking as people perceive the franchise as a way of printing money for Activision. Despite the financial success of Activision’s main IPs, there has been some disappointing sales of late. For example, Activision has tried to capture the casual market on mobile devices and bring it to consoles. An Activision spokesperson told Gameinformer

“As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next-gen consoles,”

“So we are refocusing to better align with Activision’s long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly-changing industry. We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support.”

It’s always sad to see people losing their jobs especially in the games industry where there’s so much competition. Clearly, the console audience is accustomed to an enriching narrative and complex gameplay. Casual games on smartphones work superbly because they offer downtime at any location and provide tactile controls. Barring a few exceptions, I can’t really see puzzle games being that successful on consoles unless there’s a shift in attitudes from players. They are rightfully very wary of the casual business model and distrust publishers’ use of microtransactions.

Image courtesy of Forbes

Skylanders To Launch Full Version on Mobile and Consoles This Christmas

Great news this week for fans of the Skylanders franchise, as the series has now been confirmed for an October 5th release date this year, just in time for Christmas. Yet that’s not the best part, the game will be launching simultaneously for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii, as well as mobile platforms for Android, Amazon and iPad tablets.

This is a big deal as the mobile version isn’t some cut down half fat version of the game, it is the full retail edition of Skylanders: Trap Team that will be hitting the consoles! To make sure your device is compatible or that you’re happy with the mobile experience, the game developers are launching a free download edition on their respective app stores. This will offer a limited demo play as the full game will required a $74.99 pack that includes two physical Skylander figures, two traps, a special portal and a physical game pad for use with mobile devices.

For those of us with kids this is a great solution for parents who don’t have dedicated consoles for their kids, especially given that a spare tablet for the kids is fairly common place these days, so it could offer a more affordable solution vs buying a new console for parents this Christmas.

It is nice to see a developer take their mobile release so seriously and launch the full version of the game for mobile platforms. I don’t much care for mobile gaming, but if more developers did this it could certainly sway my opinion.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Grand Theft Auto V Dominates UK Sales Charts Again

Another week has sailed past and Grand Theft Auto V is showing no sign of slowing down despite strong sales from many other titles this week. The game has already gone on to break multiple world records, has sold millions of copies and gained many great reviews, but Grand Theft Auto V will likely not budge from that top spot until Call of Duty or Battlefield launch their next title, even then I wouldn’t expect the game to drop from the top 20 for many month yet.

Other big hitters include Skylanders Swap Force, I personally expected this to take the top spot, but on reflection I suspect this is a game that many people won’t be opening until Christmas Day. Both Pokemon X and Y are doing well here in the UK, although likely not as well as they are in Japan after gamers waiting in line for hours just to pick up a copy.

Other new entries are Sonic: Lost World, I’m not sure if it’s done well to chart or if the games below it on the list did badly, but it’s still nice to see Sonic on the gaming scene (sometimes).

Finally we have our favourite game of the week, Beyond Two Souls, which we recently reviewed. It’s a major change of pace from most anything else in the charts this week and it is great to see if getting some attention.

The next few weeks are going to be crazy for new releases, we’ve got next-gen consoles launching and the holiday season to contend with. There are already a lot of incredible games in the charts that are begging for the cash in your wallet and it’s going to be months before things slow down.

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 1
2 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 2
3 SKYLANDERS SWAP FORCE SKYLANDERS
4 POKEMON X NINTENDO 3
5 POKEMON Y NINTENDO 4
6 BEYOND TWO SOULS SONY COMPUTER ENT. 5
7 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 8
8 F1 2013 CODEMASTERS 6
9 JUST DANCE 2014 UBISOFT 7
10 DISNEY INFINITY DISNEY INFINITY 9
11 SONIC: LOST WORLD NINTENDO
12 LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 12
13 KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY COMPUTER ENT.
14 MAX PAYNE 3 ROCKSTAR 14
15 VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA
16 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER NINTENDO 10
17 ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF NINTENDO 18
18 SAINTS ROW IV DEEP SILVER 11
19 LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
20 TOMB RAIDER SQUARE ENIX 17

Thank you UKIE for providing us with this information.

Activision Next-Gen Gaming Presense At E3 Detailed

Activision is set to bring us the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) which is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 11th – 13th June, 2013 with a blockbuster line up that features some of the industry’s biggest franchises.

“This is obviously a big year – not just for Activision, but for the entire industry,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “There’s a console transition coming and naturally, everyone wants to see what new possibilities that will unleash in the games. We remain laser focused on delivering the things we know our gamers care about most: great gameplay, immersive worlds, and cool innovations. And that’s what our amazing line up at E3 this year will deliver.”

Activision’s E3 Slate Includes: Call of Duty: Ghosts – Developed by Infinity Ward, the studio that created the original Call of Duty and the critically-acclaimed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the next generation of Call of Duty and a stunning leap forward for the franchise. The game delivers an all-new world, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next-generation engine. For the first time, gamers play as the underdog, fighting as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers gameplay innovations throughout the entire game, including several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game is expected to release on 5th November, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Destiny – Activision in partnership with Bungie, the creators of Halo, will showcase Destiny, the next evolution in interactive entertainment that brings first-person action gamers together in a shared, persistent online world filled with sweeping adventures. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Able to wield incredible power, gamers must battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. In a story-driven universe, Destiny’s saga unfolds through grand tales and epic adventures by immersing players in a bold new universe filled with cooperative, competitive, public, and social activities, all seamlessly connected. Developed for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Skylanders SWAP Force – Activision’s Skylanders SWAP Force continues to build upon the success of the award-winning franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience with the introduction of an innovative feature – dynamic swapability. Kids and gamers will have unprecedented levels of choice in how they explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 SWAP ForceTM characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Set in a richly detailed world of next generation visual fidelity, Skylanders SWAP Force takes kids on an all-new adventure with 32 never-before-seen heroic characters that each offer unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities – such as flying, climbing, and teleporting, which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of 100+, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants. Skylanders SWAP Force is set to release in the UK on 18th October. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U and 3DS. Source: PR Image courtesy of Activision