Activision: a company even worse than EA?

You know, there is a cult agreement amongst folk of the Internet to automatically hate some things. Furries, Bush, and the RIAA; these are among the few where you can find people who will outright denounce these things (I totally understand the furry part–yiff in hell!). For gamers it’s also unanimous amongst each other to whisper upon the lips of the work of the devil himself, Electronic Arts, or better simply known as EA. In fact, EA itself has achieved verbage by being synonymous with other things like, “those without souls” or “the art of douchebaggery.”

In fact, EA’s infamy is well-earned amongst gamers in the industry. Known for one of the first developers to turn publisher and buy up other companies, EA has an established history of destroying the dreams of fans to old series and changing them into bankable whore machines that poop dollar bills. Westwood Studios, original creators of the Command & Conquer series, bought by EA in 1998 and then labeled defunct in 2003; Bullfrog Productions, Peter Molyneux’s first company, whose creations included Populous, Theme Park, and Dungeon Keeper, bought in 1995 and defunct in 2004; Pandemic Studios, the guys behind the Star Wars: Battlefront and Destroy All Humans! games, bought in 2007 and defunct in 2009; Maxis, of Will Wright fame, famous for you know exactly what, bought in 1997, and while not labeled defunct, their logo stopped appearing on their original games ever since The Sims 2 and Will Wright also left the company; these are among the popular few that people remember in their prayers to the Gods of Gaming. Let us not forget the magic of DRM that they brought in full force with Spore, which later backfired and blew up in their face.

At this point one has to wonder how in the world can you top the king of the devils? What company could possibly receive worse PR than they have? More importantly, who could be dumber to even try? Well folks, the answer to that terrible scenario has been answered by Activision. You know Activision, right guys? Their original intellectual properties included Pitfall Harry and…um…well…that’s about it actually. It wasn’t until 1988 that Activision released that their success would be at the hands of becoming a business rather than a development company, and so started their adventures that would not pop up on the radar until their publishing of the first MechWarrior game in 1989.

Activision’s deals of late have included EA tactics of buying up property. But instead of buying development companies outright, they’re mostly buying the intellectual property rights to some games that haven’t seen a new title in over ten years. Namely, in what spurned this article, was the acquisition of the King’s Quest license. Some of you may not remember King’s Quest, but it was a series of games from Sierra Entertainment notable for their forwarding of the adventure platform (Monkey Island/Neverhood/Grim Fandango fans owe allegiance to Sierra for their endeavors). Anyways, the game’s last title was in 1998.

Now, like die-hard fans of any series, there’s always a group of fans, and those group of fans get together and say, “Man, I loved this game back in the day. Don’t you wish we could continue it on in spirit?” And so that’s exactly what they did. Of course, other famous fan-made sequels to long-since-dead series still operate under those pesky copyright laws, and they were still suspect to adhere to them. But here we have a rare moment of a company being a human being for once (in this case, Vivendi) when the people developing the fan-made sequel worked out a non-commercial fan license with the holder’s of the IP at the time in 2005. But things change. And, in this case, Activision recently came to be the proud new owners of the King’s Quest license, absolving the fan’s old contract, and, once again, meaning they were violating those pesky laws that ensure fans cannot profit from a non-profit game on a series that has been dead for twelve years. And despite being a subsidary of Vivendi, Activision was not interested in having a heart, so they ordered them to shut down their work.

Of course, Activision’s douchebaggery is not a new thing. Not by a long shot. In fact, Activision’s long line of behavior has actually taken EA from the limelight of bad calls and bad ideas, so much to the point that Activision’s CEO is making twice as much as EA’s. And while EA may still be banking in more than Activision, it still does not stop to report the fact that EA has slowly been slinking behind the scenes simply because Activision continues to make terrible market and PR moves simply on the premise of making more money. Take it from EA, guys. Selling your soul to the devil for mountains of cash may work, but it won’t earn you any friends.

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About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as flagshipped.com. Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at gameriot.com and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

4 Responses to Activision: a company even worse than EA?

  1. Zanmor says:

    Who needs friends when you have all that money? They could just buy friends if they really wanted them.

    It is quite a shame, though. Corporate bastards without a creative bone in their bodies raping the franchises of old for whatever they can get. And the fans suffer.

    • Agamemnon says:

      Yeah, but bad PR isn’t exactly the public image you want for your company, because soon enough even other professionals in the industry start to avoid working with you. So then you’re stuck with some old intellectual property rights and holding onto the hope that, ten years from now, Call of Duty will still be a bankable product.

  2. LeQuack says:

    Gotta admit, I was actually cheering for ****ing EA when they decided to help with the Brutal Legend game.

    So basically, EA is actually turning away from “Profits at any cost” while Activision is going full speed towards it? Wow.

    • Agamemnon says:

      PappinAce, is it?

      I wouldn’t count EA out. They’re just less slimy about it than Activision is. Plus, did you hear about the whole sexual harassment lawsuit involving Bobby Kotick? Activision just continues to get bad PR as the months go by.

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