The Goon Docks; or, Activision Blizzard’s sparkly future in the palm of the housekeeper’s hands

The last two nights I’ve been pondering the interesting news involving my favorite gaming company Blizzard.

Late Thursday night, it was announced that Blizzard’s holding company, Activision Blizzard, was officially separating from parent company, Vivendi Universal, a giant conglomerate recently known for it’s desperate attempts to offload dying telecoms. The separation was price-tagged for a total of $8.2 billion between two separate transactions that will leave Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly in charge of a born-again independent.

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Dramatic Reenactment:
The Blizzies

Goonies2Activision: Damn, leech alert. 
SC2: Dey jus’ want our dollah’bills to pay off their debt and fatten their wallets.
WC: Well, at least I can still afford ice cream. I want ice cream. And pie.
CoD: Let them get near me, I’ll blow the f***in’ noobs’ heads off with my bazooka.
Blizzard: Won’t kill ’em.
CoD: Why not?
Blizzard: They mod.
CoD: …

Goonies1Vivendi: Evening boys, we came to arrange our monthly stipend. Now that we can bleed you dry of all your profits, we renewed our golf club membership so we can congratulate each other on our awesomeness with cognac and cigars.

Desperate to break away from the company determined to rob them of their hard-earned cash, the gang set out on a quest for a magical solution that would give them enough money to buy a mythical set of pliers that were rumored to have a grip so strong it could remove the stick from ANY suit’s ass. Leaving only behind fat little WoW to warn the authorities (while taking on the side quest of finding more ice cream), they searched high and low, delved deep into caves, and wandered the underbelly structures of their enemies.

It’s only too bad WoW got caught by evil Vivendi agents before making its escape.

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Vivendi: You might have lost some more subscribers, but your chunky ass will give us the most return on our investments. 
WC: We’re just fantasy nerds, dood. We don’t want no trouble…just to emote dirrty things on Moon Guard and raid a couple nights a week for purplez…And cake. 

Meanwhile, the others were about to sell out when Blizzard’s idealism smacked everyone’s soft little heads back to the pavement knocking ideations of independence back into their hearts, of Activision especially.

Goonies5Blizzard: They may take our games, they may take our profit, but they’ll never take…OUR FREEDOM to sell overpriced helms in our virtual stores!

Goonies4Vivendi Agent: Look, he’s played the game so much his neck looks like an overstuffed sausage.
WC: Sausage?…with like, sour krout? And yellow mustard?
Vivendi Agent: Heh, I like this guy.
WC: I eat when I’m nervous.
Vivendi Agent: Probably get nervous a lot then?
WC: Well, you haven’t raided Lei Shen on LFR.
Vivendi Boss: Enuff! Give us all uR monies!

The gang, basking in their profits, derive a plan to keep the evil Vivendi crew from meddling in their bottomline.

Goonies6Blizzard: We lure them into a cave with a trail of stock options and Cuban cigars while we wait in another.
SC2: And then we trap them there with Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. 

Alas, as they derived this plan, they were caught by the evil Vivendi agents who began to corral them all together to assess what their payout would be. But just before the ink dried on the contracts, an unexpected hero arose from the conference room:

Bobby Kotick!

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“EH YOU GAIZ!!!!!”

He managed to distract the Vivendi agents long enough to give the others an opportunity to escape. But even on the beaches of Southern California, they couldn’t escape the stiffs who clearly don’t know how to dress when visiting a beach.

Goonies8Vivendi: Look, we’re reasonable guys. You make the money, and we’ll give you a few free items in the Blizzard store. I hear they have new hats. Lovely hats.

But Bobby’s housekeeper made a brilliant discovery: enough money to buy those pliers and rather then remove the stick from the suits’ asses, they simply pushed them in further, flipped a bird, and told them not to choke on their frog legs.

Goonies9Diablo: ¡Mierda! Chicos, no hay suficiente dinero para comprar estos cabrones hombres franceses de descuento! Ahora bien, relajarse y hacer temblar de Harlem. [Because I still find those videos funny, sue me].

 

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After telling the big bad French company to va te faire foutre [because cursing is allowed if it’s in another language ;)], the newly independent Activision Blizzard folk breathe a little easier and rest assured knowing that tomorrow is another day…with fresh doughnuts in the conference room.

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I love happy endings, don’t you?

Part of me would like to think that the reason Blizzard was amping up expansion and content patches for World of Warcraft, specifically, was because Activision was preparing for the day it would finally escape Vivendi’s death grip. The money AB was set to start paying Vivendi was about $3 billion to start with no guarantee that it wouldn’t gank the money again in the future (you know, like that deadbeat uncle that visits once a year asking for money for a “big investment opportunity” only to squander the money on chicks and booze in Vegas). The money would be used to pay off Vivendi’s somewhat high debt, some $17 billion.

The buyback for AB means it becomes its own boss. And with more than $3-4 billion in reserves, the company and its holdings won’t even blink in terms of production.

I suspect the delays in that “next-gen MMO” for Blizzard were likely because AB was positioning itself for that final payoff once the deadline for Vivendi to keep its hands out of the cookie jar had transpired, thus making the seemingly evil guy people thought Kotick to be more of AB’s unsung hero. Not only did he lead both divisions to financial success, but he brokered the deal that severed AB from Vivendi and kept money from both holdings from going overseas beyond this one time payoff.

And anything that keeps ‘Murican dollars in ‘Murica is a good thing. Blizzard will be able to keep more of its money and move forward with current and future franchise development (I’m being annoyingly optimistic, I know). Though the good thing is I don’t suspect production to slow any time soon. And EVERYONE can be happy about that. Even Grumpy Cat.

moarwarcrafs

Ok, so Grumpy Cat’s a bastard. We still love him.

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