Activision races ahead for new genres

Ben Parfitt
Activision's global head of publishing and its European boss have revealed to MCV that the company will continue to enter new games genres to boost its performance in Europe following on from its acquisition of UK racing specialist Bizarre Creations last week.

The publisher plans to collaborate with the former independent studio on a brand new racing IP, expected towards the end of 2009 – but it seems that racing isn’t the only category absent from the Activision portfolio that it wants to move into.

Taking cues from both the Bizarre deal and the acquisition of Guitar Hero franchise publisher RedOctane last year, Robin Kaminsky, EVP of publishing for Activision, said the publisher’s “strategy is to enter new genres where we currently do not have a presence, as we did last year when we pioneered the music rhythm genre through our acquisition of RedOctane.”

Activision is now singling out which areas to enter; racing specifically counts for a huge chunk of shelf space, Kaminsky pointed out, saying that the company’s strengthened resources could take advantage of a genre estimated to be ten per cent of the market.

But what genres are still lacking? Activision was tight-lipped on the subject, although watchers have pointed out that sectors such as casual games, pursued heavily of late by rivals such as Ubisoft and EA, could be a key target. The same goes for sports or original IP-based action titles; the company's Spider-Man and Transformers games have been big hits over the summer, but Activision doesn’t own the properties.

Meanwhile, whatever the publisher chooses, European boss Joerg Trouvain explained that the company will be looking to cater to a variety of tastes locally and globally.

“Racing is a universal category, so the games sell around the world, but with a UK studio you can add a European flavour,” he said. Europe specifically was key to the company's plans to widen its portfolio, he added.

“Europe is the part of Activision that is growing the fastest and we want to develop the business further,” he explained. “We'll weigh up any opportunity and see how it fits.”

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