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PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In

The Our Members Page on the PC Gaming Alliance Website now has two recent changes worth noting to the membership of this nonprofit corporation "whose mission is to promote PC gaming worldwide." One is the departure of cofounding member Activision, and on this departure (and apparently others) Kotaku got a response from the PCGA saying: "a few members have decided they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time." Also, Big Download notes the addition of a mysterious new member called Sony DADC. This mystery is solved by clicking the link which leads to the SecuROM Website, so the purveyors of the widely reviled DRM solution are in at the PCGA, but one of the world's largest third-party publishers is out.

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32. Re: SecuROM & PCGA Apr 15, 2009, 13:48 Verno
 
I don't think consoles garner as much developer recognition as they do brand recognition. People recognize the "Halo" name or the "Gears of War" name, not the people behind them.

Xbox Live now has a developer spotlight once or twice a week that does a decent job but ultimately console gamers don't have the direct access to developers that PC gamers do. Then again, most reputable companies hire PR people to act as community managers these days so most PC gamers don't have direct access to devs either. I think the industry in general is moving away from the CliffyB days where there's a recognizable "rock star" dev type of situation.
 
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31. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 15, 2009, 00:22 Jerykk
 
People recognize the "Halo" name or the "Gears of War" name, not the people behind them.

Perhaps, but look at developers like Bioware and Bethesda. Both released new IPs (or IPs that were new to console gamers) in Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Oblivion, Fallout 3, etc, that console gamers ate up. If Mass Effect 2 or Elder Scrolls 5 were made by different developers, I think console gamers would disapprove.

Then again, you have the whole Treyarch/Infinity Ward thing with CoD where mainstream gamers don't seem to care.

In any case, I don't think MS would have any good reason to let Bungie go. Keeping them would satisfy both casual and hardcore (well, hardcore by console standards) demographics. The only logical reason I can think of is that Bungie paid them a crapload of money.

 
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30. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 19:51 PHJF
 
I don't think consoles garner as much developer recognition as they do brand recognition. People recognize the "Halo" name or the "Gears of War" name, not the people behind them.  
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29. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 19:36 Jerykk
 
Bungie's split from Microsoft isn't so much of a testament to Bungie's power as development house, but rather MS's indifference to Bungie as a brand name.

That doesn't make much sense. Bungie is the developer behind the most popular console shooter series in history. Everybody knows who Bungie is. I think it's far more likely that Bungie simply bought their way out using all the money they earned from Halo.
 
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28. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 17:46 PHJF
 
Uhhh Vivendi owns Activision Blizzard  
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27. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 14:50 Verno
 
I always wondered why Blizzard would allow itself to be consumed into a larger entity where they could conceivably lose some of the creative freedom that has allowed them to become great.

They were already owned by Vivendi. Vivendi, killers of Sierra and countless other great companies. Activision is a step up from Vivendi. Activision has no control in the relationship, Blizzard could simply dissolve and make another studio. They wouldn't be able to use existing franchises and might have employees under non-compete NDA's for awhile but Activision would have worthless licenses that can't be leveraged without years of restaffing. Not to mention a massive MMO that doesn't run itself.
 
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26. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 13:35 Jay
 
Bungie's split from Microsoft isn't so much of a testament to Bungie's power as development house, but rather MS's indifference to Bungie as a brand name. Remember, Microsoft let the split happen, and Bungie retains none of the intellectual properties. Bungie didn't want to make more Halo games and MS didn't see money in new IPs (even if it had "Bungie" on the box), so they let the Bungie shareholders buy the name back.
Try imagining a similar scenario for Blizzard. They suddenly want to make a point & click adventure game with a brand new IP, and vivendi won't allow it. Vivendi sees the partnership no longer working because designers at Blizzard are all poised to quit. Will Vivendi let Blizzard people buy the name back? Will Vivendi sell its biggest money-making franchises to a different company? (the answer is no - they would rather lose the people and keep the brands that consumers respond to)
 
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25. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 13:13 Prez
 
I always wondered why Blizzard would allow itself to be consumed into a larger entity where they could conceivably lose some of the creative freedom that has allowed them to become great.  
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24. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 11:59 Jerykk
 
For instance, Valve could turn around and say "we're not releasing Half-Life 3 at retail, only on Steam" and could do it - Blizzard couldn't do the same.

I think Blizzard could if they wanted to. Blizzard's games are still PC exclusive, for example. Do you really think that Activision/Vivendi hasn't tried to make them multiplatform? Chances are they have and Blizzard simply said "No." Money gives you leverage and Blizzard makes the most money of any developer out there.

A good example of a studio that doesn't have this leverage is Bioware. Bioware developed Dragon Age as a PC exclusive. Then EA bought them and said "Make this multiplatform." Bioware had no choice but to comply because although their games are successful, they don't provide a constant revenue stream like WoW does for Blizzard.

Right now, the relationship between Blizzard and Activision/Vivendi is purely one of convenience. Blizzard sees no good reason to split off just yet and A/V definitely doesn't want them to go. However, if Blizzard really did want to go, there's nothing A/V could do to stop them. Bungie was in the same situation. MS bought Bungie and once Bungie made a crapload of money off the Halo games, they used their newfound leverage to leave MS. Do you think MS really wanted their key developer to leave? I highly doubt it but again, money is everything and the more you have, the more leverage you have.

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2009, 12:13.
 
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23. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 11:55 nin
 
SecureRom... really? This is going to bolster community support?

I'd say that's quite the black eye...
 
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22. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 11:31 Elessar
 
Has the PCGA done anything of any significance since their inception? If not, this news makes them even more insignificant when it comes to PC games imo. SecureRom... really? This is going to bolster community support?

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2009, 11:33.
 
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21. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 11:01 Kxmode
 
Yeah except Valve is an independent entity. In some form or another Blizzard still has to answer to "the boss."

Agreed. That is really amazing. What's even more amazing is at last count there are over 20 million user accounts.

 
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20. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 08:02 theyarecomingforyou
 
haha the PCGA is a joke. Valve, Stardock, Blizzard, and a number of other "real" PC game developers aren't members. The only people on-board either load their games with stupid DRM (Capcom), make stupid DRM, or no longer give a shit about PC gaming (Epic, MS).
Yeah. It would be more appropriate to call it the anti-PC alliance, especially with the inclusion of SecuROM.

You forget that this is a capitalist society. Money = power and therefore Blizzard has the power. Even if Vivendi does have the final say, do you really think they'd dare piss Blizzard off?
But it does have an impact. It might only be small things but they have to consider the requirements of the 'boss' company, even if a head-on conflict is unlikely. For instance, Valve could turn around and say "we're not releasing Half-Life 3 at retail, only on Steam" and could do it - Blizzard couldn't do the same. Valve might be smaller as a developer and have a much narrower focus but in terms of freedom and finances (thanks to Steam) they come out top.

At the end of the day both Valve and Blizzard produce exceptional titles. There's no real point comparing them, particularly when they specialise in different genres.
 
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19. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 02:20 Jerykk
 
I agree with PHJF. Vivendi has the final say in what Blizzard does and doesn't.

You forget that this is a capitalist society. Money = power and therefore Blizzard has the power. Even if Vivendi does have the final say, do you really think they'd dare piss Blizzard off? Blizzard is their biggest cashcow. They are like Pixar. Everything they make is guaranteed gold. If Blizzard really wanted to, they could just leave Vivendi/Activision and go out on their own. It wouldn't hurt Blizzard one bit but would undoubtedly leave a huge wound in the publishers. So no, I still believe that Blizzard has the most leverage of any developer out there.
 
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18. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 02:12 Boston
 
I agree with PHJF. Vivendi has the final say in what Blizzard does and doesn't. Now Valve, they can do whatever the hell they damn well please. Not every decision has to be measured against the bottom line so they can afford financially dubious decisions like Steam/Steamworks/Steamcloud. So in a way, companies like Valve wield more power to shape PC gaming industry than Blizzard ever could.  
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17. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 01:40 Prez
 
Who cares. It's not like anyone took the PCGA at all seriously anyway...  
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16. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 01:19 Jerykk
 
In some form or another Blizzard still has to answer to "the boss."

I'm pretty sure Blizzard IS the boss of the Activision/Vivendi merger. Blizzard makes more money than Activision does. If Activision was the boss, I guarantee that Blizzard wouldn't be making PC-exclusives anymore.
 
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15. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 00:40 PHJF
 
Yeah except Valve is an independent entity. In some form or another Blizzard still has to answer to "the boss." One could argue that this has very little effect on any aspect of Blizzard, but it's still something. Valve has as much leverage as they want. Unless you're talking about consumer leverage. Even then, after Half-Life 2 and TF2 I think it'd be a good race.  
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14. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 00:15 RP
 
Gabe Newell on Blizzard:

"Well, I think that's a little inaccurate. The biggest PC developer right now is Blizzard with World of Warcraft. Nine million sales, and they're getting 15 dollars off each of those customers a month, so they're the biggest, right?"

"Right now, I think the benchmark game in the industry is World of Warcraft, and every platform could be measured against its ability to give advantage, or fail to give advantage, to building a better World of Warcraft. In the way that, in previous generations, it might have been a Grand Theft Auto or a Final Fantasy that was the benchmark. If your platform helps developers build something that beats that, then you're on the right track. If you're not offering that capability, then you're probably going to struggle."

"When I look at what I need to compete with, the most interesting game property right now is World of Warcraft. Huge retail sales and huge recurring revenue. Not only that, but they have a great experience wrapped around it, whether it’s their forums, or community art, or whatever,"
 
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13. Re: PCGA: Activision Out, SecuROM In Apr 14, 2009, 00:08 Jerykk
 
Actually that would be Valve.

Actually, no, that would be Blizzard. Every single game Blizzard releases sells millions upon millions. They could shit in a box and it would still sell. They also make about a gazillion dollars a month from WoW alone. Valve has a lot of leverage thanks to Steam but compared to Blizzard? Not even close.
 
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