Editorial: Activision is OK

Activision is OK I guess. We enjoy to vilify the eponymous faceless corporation (and its jackass at large Bobby Kotick) here at Lusipurr.com, but really they are guilty of nothing more than giving consumers what they want for a price that they are obviously willing to pay.

The market exhibited a voracious appetite for all things Call of Duty, and rather than let things slide Activision quickly mobilised to restructure their operations in such a way as to accommodate annual instalments of their flagship franchise. Activision were similarly quick to attend to the market’s infatuation with music games, and just as quick to drop the genre when the market’s interest began to wane.

Game publishing is a business, not a charity nor public service, and Activision are in the business of producing broad appeal products for an uncritical mass market. They are not in the business of crafting titles which aspire to some manner of high minded artistic accomplishment, nor are they inclined to target their products to a weaboo niche demographic. Activision is simply a business that knows its business well, and in so doing have managed to consistently sell more games than any of their competitors in recent years.

Any business is entitled to charge for their products the price that they feel they are worth, and then the market will decide whether or not the product is being sold at the correct price point. Similarly it is for the business to decide upon how much proportional effort will be put into the development of their products, while consumers will exercise their right to vote with their wallets should the product be found to lack in quality or content. It must be said that Activision is way ahead of the pack on both counts.

As an individual possessed of a modicum of taste it is all but impossible to fathom what ephemeral quality Call of Duty’s legion of knuckle dragging fanboys are able to eke from their favourite franchise, but I have to imagine that this quality has been held consistent because the franchise continues to grow. It might comfort us to make jibes about $15 dollar map packs, but the audience certainly seems to consider them worth the asking price, and besides, what are we to compare them to? Online pass? A feature designed to destroy the resale value of your games? Perhaps we should compare them to Sony’s own variation of the online pass utilized in the newest iteration of Socom, charging $15 in order to receive the future updates necessary to remain online? Suddenly $15 map packs don’t sound quite so bad to me.

At any rate, Activision are hardly a laudable publisher, they unerringly prioritise the business of game development over the artistry of game development, and have burned many bridges in doing so. Yet if we are able to accept the premise that even the cognizantly feeble are entitled to the simple pleasures of video gaming, then it follows that Activision is alright.

12 comments

  1. These pictures are MOST excellent.

    The rest of you lot could stand to take a page out of SiliconNooB’s book. A masterful selection of artwork, this.

    Though the lack of captions is a bit confusing . . .

  2. Maybe your column should just be “Julian’s Cute Animal Corner” where you could find the cutest pictures of baby animals, and then post them, and talk about how cute they are.

  3. Maybe even some videos, where the animals take a tumble (gently, of course!) or chase string, or behave in a silly way, to the good humour of all concerned.

  4. Also: Online pass is fucking retarded. If you buy a game that uses it, you deserve to be flogged until you perish.

  5. I think Sony’s version is particularly malevolent because it will let everyone play online until the first update, after which used buyers will likely be locked from the online portion.

    Get them hooked, then BAM $15!

    Jokes on them though, Socom 4 was absolutely panned, with a 67% aggregate.

  6. I’ll put it this way: if publishers ignore commercialism, they go bankrupt and then good games do not get published because no one can fund developers.

    A good publisher lets a good studio do its work for some games, but occasionally tells them, “OK guys, time to put out one to pay the bills.” Sure, the “Call of Duty” series never gets lauded like, say, a BioShock game… but not every game has to be.

    And if all of that CoD money gets funneled into something worthwhile, well, good for them.

  7. That CoD money will never be funneled into anything worthwhile, but then why shouldn’t a company be allowed to sell their generic widgets without acrimony, it’s what gamers seem to want after all …

    I actually began writing this as the first in a series of contrarian articles where I attempt to defend the companies/people/gaming properties that I most abhor, yet funnily enough once I got to writing I found myself agreeing with my contrarian self.

    Activision do not do anything good or decent, but then that’s not what the market wants anyway …

    People who enjoy immersive well made game’s are a rapidly dwindling minority, people want cheap and nasty superficial entertainment, and I don’t know if I can justly deny them this.

    Then again poor taste is a sound justification for bulldozing this braying herd into landfill, so perhaps that’s the most convenient solution to my cognitive dissonance.

  8. I have always been of the opinion that if someone wants to buy something, and that thing doesn’t hurt anyone, then the thing should be made for them, because there is a profit to be had and two people will be happy in the end: the consumer and the provider.

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