Gaming just got a little more serious with the upcoming merger between video game publishers Activision Inc. and Vivendi Games. The merger will bring landmark titles “Guitar Hero”, “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” under one lucrative roof, creating Activision Blizzard. While this deal is a very good move for shareholders, what about the consumer – the mercurial gamer? Will game quality be affected, and if so how?
One would hope that the combined creative might of these two successful companies will produce an ever-growing stable of innovative blockbuster games. However, too often gamers have had to suffer through the “laurel syndrome” of large gaming companies. Publishers that are content to release the same licensed titles year after year with just enough tweaks, bells, and whistles to qualify them as new games (I’m looking at you EA!).
With the average cost of producing a video game rivaling the cost of creating a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s in the gaming companies’ interest to stick to consumer-tested, critic-approved properties that are guaranteed sales, rather than risk it all on an unproven idea. However without taking the occasional gamble, gaming would be a stale medium doomed to go the way of 8-bit graphics.
As the gaming industry continues to capture the imagination of shareholders with the promise of big profit returns, gamers of the world can only hope the industry will continue to do the same for them with great storylines, innovative game play, and awesome game mechanics.SLS