Why Activision Let Go Of 'Ghostbusters' And '50 Cent' Games

During today's Activision Blizzard earnings call, a financial analyst asked the company's CEO, Bobby Kotick, why the company didn't keep all of Vivendi's games when the two gaming companies merged.

The analyst didn't name any games, but technically, he had to be referring to the likes of "Ghostbusters," "50 Cent: Blood On The Sand" and the new "Riddick," which all appear to have found new publishing homes.

So, Mr. Kotick, why not keep hold of these games which were deep into development and anticipated by gamers?

Kotick responded not by addressing any of the games by name, but by talking about Activision's publishing philosophy. The games Activision Blizzard didn't pick up, he said, "don't have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises. … I think, generally, our strategy has been to focus… on the products that have those attributes and characteristics, the products that we know [that] if we release them today, we'll be working on them 10 years from now."

Those of you out there who love new, original games and therefore may bristle at that Kotick quote should be mindful of the businessman's follow-up: "You still need to have production of new original property but you have to do it very selectively… the focus at retail and for the consumer is to continue to be o the big narrow and deep high profile release strategy… We've had enough experience that I think the strategy we employ is the most successful." He noted that the number of successful original games released in the last several years can be measured as a mere single-digit percentage of all games brought to market.

According to Kotick, Activision Blizzard plans to release "15 properties" next year across "more than 70 SKUs [versions]." That release slate will include "three, maybe four, exciting new intellectual properties."

"50 Cent: Blood On The Sand" will be published by THQ in January. Variety reports that Atari will publish "Ghostbusters" and "Riddick."

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