Why Activision dumped Sierra's games

They weren't "exploitable enough".

Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick has explained that various Sierra (Vivendi) games were dumped for not exhibiting "potential to be exploited every year across every platform".

Among those dropped during the Vivendi-Activision merger were Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. Fortunately, other publishers are pecking at the remains; Atari looks poised to publish Ghostbusters and THQ will do the honours with 50 Cent.

"Why don't we start with the Vivendi Games businesses: there were a lot of different projects and businesses that we identified as not likely to achieve the profit margin potential that we look for," Kotick told investors in a financial call, painstakingly transcribed on Seeking Alpha.

"With respect to the franchises that don't have the potential to be exploited every year across every platform with clear sequel potential that can meet our objectives of over time becoming USD 100 million plus franchises, that's a strategy that has worked very well for us."

The plan is to work on titles that will still in the public eye 10 years from now. And to achieve this, Activision Blizzard has a whopping 15 properties across 70 SKUs planned for 2009 - 40 per cent more than in 2008.

Kotick said these will include new titles in the Call of Duty and Guitar Hero series, as well as film tie-ins Transformers, Wolverine, Monsters Versus Aliens and Ice Age.

There's a Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 on the way; more James Bond and Tony Hawk outings; and the eventual release of Wolfenstein.

But Kotick also has plans for "three, maybe four exciting new intellectual properties", including Prototype, Singularity and the racing game from PGR brain-box Bizarre Creations.

Guitar Hero will naturally play a key part for Activision, too, and bigwig Mike Griffith is boisterous about the Christmas potential of Guitar Hero World Tour.

"Our retail checks indicate that the Guitar Hero World Tour band kit is outselling its only competitor by a very wide margin," said Griffith.

"The band kit launch quantities are virtually sold out across the channel and even with our manufacturers at full capacity and a continuous flow of supply throughout the quarter, we are likely to not be able to keep up with demand for the band kits this holiday."

Griffith expects rather a lot of money to be made from downloadable songs as well, with more than 25 million tracks gobbled up by fans so far. He also mentioned the possibility of selling these songs "on a subscription basis", but said little more on the matter.

Head over to our Guitar Hero World Tour review to see what all the fuss is about.

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