Activison Blizzard’s innovative plan to go mobile
Activison Blizzard, the multibillion dollar games developer behind a whole host of successful games including the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero series, World of Warcraft, the Marvel series and many more has finally announced that its looking to enter the rapid growing mobile gaming market. Although still much smaller than the Consol gaming market, which was worth $25 billion in 2011 (source: IT Candor); in recent years mobile gaming played on a cell phone, smartphone or a tablet has grown substantially and according to Business Degree Resources was worth more than $12 billion in 2011 and is set to double in size by 2016. Activision Blizzard’s plans involve opening a new studio in Britain devoted exclusively to developing mobile games and an innovative partnership scheme.
Together with mobile analytics and advertising services company Flurry; Activision Blizzard is looking to “identify and assist third-party developers in the development, publishing, distribution and promotion of independent titles on iOS and Android platforms” according to their CEO Eric Hirshberg in a press release announcing the new scheme. Under the scheme developers will retain ownership of their intellectual property rights and receive technological, financial and marketing assistance and also get to see their game published under the Activision Mobile label; which should significantly boost the game’s chances for success in the crowded gaming market. In return Activision Blizzard and Flurry will take a cut of sales revenue and although Flurry Chief Executive Simon Khalaf declined to say how much that would be although he did emphasise that developers would keep “the lion’s share.”
From an independent perspective this sounds like a great scheme for both independent developers and Activision Blizzard. Every developer dreams of their game achieving 1 billion downloads like Angry Birds has just done, but the cold reality is that for every game that becomes a success there are thousands that fail to generate any significant revenue. In most cases this is due to lacking the necessary technological, financial and marketing support to bring their game to public awareness – the same support developers will receive from this scheme.
The benefits for Activision Blizzard and Flurry are also very clear to see. Having a bestselling game can radically transform a company; which happened for Rovio with Angry Birds, Sega with Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo with Super Mario Brothers. Assisting a third party developer with a great game to become a success is a small price to pay and as an outsider I’m amazed no other company, like EA Games for example, thought of doing it before.