Posted on February 28, 2008,

Activision CEO: Taking on WoW Could Require Up To $1 Billion


Everyone wants to be the next World of Warcraft. Dozens of MMORPGs have been launched and none have managed to capture the kind of market share that Blizzard enjoys. At an investor meeting, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that he believes it would take an investment of anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion to compete with WoW – and even with that investment, success wouldn’t be assured.

“We don’t think that even if we made the USD 500 million or billion-dollar investment to get a product out [to compete with WOW] that we would even be successful doing it,” he said.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and that’s exactly what Activision did when it merged with Vivendi, which owns Blizzard.

“When we first started looking at it, it appeared to us like a game in an insurmountable product category… EA, Microsoft, Sony and scores of venture capital investments had been put to work unsuccessfully in trying to develop massively multiplayer games as a product opportunity,” Kotick said.

“When you… Look at all the money that’s already gone to these businesses that have failed, there didn’t seem a likelihood that even a well-managed company like Activision would have the prospect for profit any time soon in this category.”

Kotick had nothing but good things to say about Blizzard, praising them in several regards.

“They have a model that is very well-developed, they have a very keen understanding of their audiences, and they’re just scratching the surface of opportunity in a lot of areas… These guys are among the best in the world of game development.”

Thinking of it from the MMO market standpoint, merging with Vivendi is a brilliant move on the part of Activision. Why try – and have a high chance of failure – to compete with WoW when you can be a part of its success?


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