Shadow of Activision Blizzard

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Welcome to Hadouken. This blog’s focus is gaming and the industry that feeds our “hobby.” Sometimes we hate it and other times we are vindicated in our love for games. So come back next week, and every week thereafter, for more commentary and news. Delivering a blue fireball to the gaming jugular.

Activision and Vivendi Games merged to form Activision Blizzard and gamers are going to be left out in the cold.

Now, the big companies will say that there is a benefit to having massive amounts of money behind game development. But how many big budget titles flop upon release (True Crime: New York City, I’m looking at you).

These hulking behemoths are going to attract all the programming talent in ways that smaller game developers can not. The worst part is that these companies are rarely driven by a sense of artistic merit or of responsibility to their consumers; they are driven by profit, which means that the company will stick to the same old formulas that net them cash. This trend has to stop before we have three big companies developing all the games.

As a gamer, I play the big developer titles and some of the smaller company titles and while I do enjoy playing both, I utterly despise visiting the same damn dungeon I visited in the last game in any series (i.e. every Zelda game ever made).

News of this merger has taken the hope I had for new, innovative games out back and pumped it full of buckshot.

Innovation is what’s driven the gaming industry, and it should be setting off alarms in gamers’ heads when the situation is looking more and more like what’s going on in every other entertainment business.

But we’ll keep buying and they’ll keep selling. They have us in this vice grip and as long as we fill their coffers with money, they will be unwilling to let go.

I’m not advocating some sort of revolution (Ok, maybe I am), I’m saying that we should really be thinking hard about what’s going on in a business that was jettisoned into the mainstream and is being quickly overrun with bland, repetitive games.

"By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences," said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to Gamespot.

I don’t know about you but to me that quote screams world domination.

Now, this merger doesn’t herald the end of gaming, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we are soon playing the same game we played years ago with just slightly better graphics. I can at least take comfort in the fact that Tetris will survive in the wasteland that is the future of video games. --Elvis Ramirez

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