ActiBlizz – Part 3

The internet is a funny place. There’s next to nothing that is fully isolated, most things are dependent on other things. That thing you treasure, odds are it’s dependent on a pile of other products to function. You hate Steam? Well how else are you going to buy that cool PC game? Want to boycott a car company? There are 300 different companies providing parts to it. Imagine for a second if YouTube shut down tomorrow, or Facebook? How many “influencers” would be out of a “job”?

ActiBlizz is no different. There are thousands of people that have tertiary relationships to the company and make a “living” from it. MMO-Champion and WoWhead would stop to exist without WoW. BlizzardWatch if the company went away.

Preach, Bellular, Evi+Tali, Asmongold all made a decent buck on the WoW wagon. Two of them have decided to move on, and certainly are going to bring a crowd with them. Where does Dark Legacy Comics go?

Overwatch League brings in a fair chunk of cash to the coffers. T-Mobile has pulled their ads and others are looking to do the same. Kellogg’s is out. That increases the risk that OWL as an e-sport is at risk of not being able to move forward – just like HotS went through. When HotS did close, there were a lot of people that needed to find new income streams – most outside of the ActiBlizz umbrella. It’s a hell of a choice to change your livelyhood, compared to a player changing what icon they are going to click.

This blends into the discussion of boycotting, where the impacts are oddly messed up into the idea of “winning”. Like if all the “good” people quit WoW, then the “bad” people have won. In what world does your monthly sub and in-game chat have an impact on the paycheck of a CEO? Does anyone think that the WoW direction is a positive one based on player feedback? The MAU certainly say otherwise. Do people think there’s any positive to come out of the LoL community? Nah, we just end up with tertiary actors mad at other tertiary actors.

If you’re paying any attention, ActiBlizz only makes decisions based on money. Their shares went up on the Q2 reports. As long as they are making money, and not risking losing money, they have no reason to make meaningful change. You paying them and expecting them to change is insanity. Why would they? They’ve got what they need from you.

You ever try to negotiate a bill or service with your internet provider? Ever have any success without threatening to cancel your subscription? They don’t care about you as a person, at all. They just want to ensure that you pay your bills on time. Big companies are the same.

If you want something to change, stop rewarding the negative behaviour and instead, reward the good behaviour.

5 thoughts on “ActiBlizz – Part 3

  1. It’s very interesting. I’ve said for years that anyone that has based their entire livelihood on WoW lasting forever was setting themselves up for a fall at some point in the future. Outside sources like Blizzardwatch had the wake up call prior to them forming when WoWInsider was Shut down, their revenue stream comes from advertisers and crowd funding. If they lose a few top advertisers and if a few of the top tier donations dry up, they won’t be able to pay the bills to keep servers up to supply content, and they will be gone in short order. Those full time employees have years of experience doing other things, so probably would be ok. They few top folks at WoWhead? They have been their so long, they might be able to find work in similar fields of database work. Streamers will just move to the new game. The ones that would suffer the most are those employees at Blizzard that are protesting and demanding changes be made, better pay, etc. when we hit the Q3 earnings report in 3 months, they better have an ironclad agreement with the employees, that isn’t going to cost the company more from their profits, or the shareholders are going to call for resignations, or to shut down departments. My bet would be on them shutting down the Warcraft department, letting go any that aren’t willing to move to other departments, and those calling for managers to get axed? I don’t see a bright future.

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    • Just did some napkin math, if 5,000 employees got a $100 a week raise, that will cost the company $26 million a year, not taking into account any costs like unemployment insurance that are based on salary.

      I don’t see Activision offering any noticeable pay increases.

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  2. I thought the idea of a job for life vanished into the history books sometime around the turn of the millennium. Doesn’t everyone expect to have a portfolio career nowadays, moving not only from employer to employer but from profession to profession, constantly retraining and reinventing themselves as they go? Why would Blizzard employees want to stay on at a company that operates as we’ve been hearing and which didn’t – radically – change for the better? If the demands aren’t met, why wouldn’t the majority of those people, certainly the ones who aren’t the core of the problem, move on to other companies or other lines of work altogether?

    There seems to be some kind of idea that because this is video gaming and/or Blizzard, it’s some kind of vocation or irreplaceable opportunity. If the people working there have the creative talent we ceredit them with, there are countless other ways to express it besides writing quests or animating monster in World of Warcraft. Of course, because of the peculiar allure of the industry there probably won’t be a shortage of replacements for those who do leave but this time at least the incomers ought to know what to expect. If they sign on knowing nothing much has changed…

    Customer power is interesting, too. Boycotts don’t often work but bad publicity can be fatal, especially coupled with a percieved drop in product quality. WoW is in danger on both fronts. Of course, they can always take the game free to play. That should bring the MAUs back up.

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    • If corporations are people, and people like to say they can change abusive people from within, then ipso facto I suppose. I don’t fully understand it, truthfully.

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