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First, let me be clear. I am not a fan of any publisher/developer, including Activision. I simply do not care. If a game is good, then I will support it. I don’t engage in pointless debates about how Treyarch is inferior to Infinity Ward (or vice versa). However, every once in a while, something happens that enrages me to the point that I will brave the trolls and address the idiot gamers out there. Recently, Activision made some important decisions that impacted the lives and employment of 500 people. At this point a lot of you gamers will spew forth an anti-Activision tirade born of monumental ignorance and immaturity. Let me give you two pieces of advice. One, don’t do that. And two, your life is going to suck until the day you die if you don’t stop playing the victim.
Activision announced that development of Guitar Hero would cease. Many gamers accuse Activision of draining the veins dry of any successful IP it owns, and often cite the Guitar Hero franchise as evidence. This opinion is completely void of common sense and knowledge of business strategy. First off, no product is capable of an infinite life span, which means it will see diminishing profits. Oversaturating the market can decrease any game’s lifespan, but I would argue that Activision knew the music-genre was fading. In addition to trying to profit as much as it could, it was also supplying work to the Guitar Hero developers. Had Guitar Hero 5 and Warriors of Rock never been released, on top of the franchise dying after GH World Tour, the developers would have suffered an earlier fate. Either way, the idiots out there seem determined to fault Activision regardless of the decisions they make.
In Activision’s Q4 2010 Earning’s Call, they revealed that True Crime Hong Kong would be canceled, the Guitar Hero unit was no more, and due to restructuring, 500 jobs were being dissolved. There was also mention of DLC stuff, but that too was distorted by the Internet fools as being evidence that the company doesn’t care about anything that’s not Call of Duty related. So, as a favor to the masses, let me put the whole situation into the proper perspective for you.
I follow Dan Amrich’s One of Swords website and podcast pretty regularly. In case you are unfamiliar with Dan, he is Activision’s gamer liaison (akin to Microsoft’s Major Nelson). Yes, Activision pays him, but I’ve come to recognize that Dan is really just a good guy who loves games, and remains as objective as possible. He is not a corporate lackey. One of the best ways to summarize the recent Activision lay-offs was put forth by One of Swords co-host, Hugh Sterbakov. He said, “those who are offended by layoffs in the gaming industry simply do not understand the industry, period.” This is true of game development as well as my own industry, web development. Any industry that relies on a single product or service is at risk of short-notice unemployment. When the demand for that product/service runs dry, so do the paychecks. It sucks, and I’ve felt the sting of sudden unemployment, but if I wanted stability I could have chosen a different industry.
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