April 29, 2010

What's old is new again

Wow. Pretty amazing. 10 years ago MS acquired Bungie and the Bungie fan community was in an uproar. Bungie is over! They're sellouts! MS doesn't care about Bungie or its fans. Bungie can't hope to win against the monolithic entity known as MS!

Fast forward several years later, mega-franchise Halo under their belts, maneuvering out of MS unscathed, promising new IP on the horizon... so what do they do?

Get into bed with Activision?

Folks are really in an uproar over this if you check out HBO's forum and I'm sure others out there. But I'm really having a hard time feeling worried about this. Mainly because I'm aware of the history here and if you have a small-time dev get sucked into the monster that is MS - who then in turn become a AAA dev, keeping their culture intact (which everyone said was nigh impossible within the MS machine), creating a whole new generation of fans, and single-handedly transform a nascent console into the mega platform it is today - I'd have to say Bungie is owed a gimme here and must know what they're getting into.

Yes, Activision has a bad rap (MS had what? Puppies and unicorns?), their troubles with IW is not a good sign, and in general they are seen as predatory greedy fucks that don't give a shit about the customer and just want to milk you of your money.

But if I was a betting man, I'd say Bungie expressly worked out a deal where all of the above is taken into consideration. They done it before, they're probably going to do it again. About the one thing I've learned over these past 10 years or so is that lawyerly-acumen matters a great deal, and whoever Bungie has working for them - if they're from the same arm that helped them draft their deal with MS - has got plenty of smarts. I'll even go a little further and say SOMEONE inside of Activision sees this as a way of righting a meandering ship. So of course they're going to be willing to adopt a new attitude going into this new partnership.

Does this mean I think this is a slam-dunk for Bungie? No, of course not. Nothing is ever a given in the world of capitalism and industry. Activision is a pure gaming company, publicly traded. MS is public as well, but their gaming division is not what most investors look at when assessing the health of the company as a whole. Activision is completely reliant on the health of their gaming endeavors to spur investor confidence. Their ongoing current issues are a bit of an albatross around their neck right now, and hopefully they can work it out and put their best face forward. But if things continue to go sour for them it can make them desperate - and that could mean a bad situation w/ Bungie.

But Activision can also, hopefully, understand exactly what I and others in our little universe understand - DON'T FUCK WITH BUNGIE. Leave them alone to do what they do best - and don't try to squeeze folks of every single $$ - at least no more than what MS has done in the past!

Do all the above and more than likely Activision can win a trifecta: a great title that wins accolades in the press and customers generating great PR, a healthy bottom-line, and a loyal fanbase that sees you backing a winner.

P.S. Take a journey with me BACK IN TIME.

Posted by bs at 4:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack