What we’ve done is organise the divisions to face each of the opportunities in the marketplace. Blizzard Entertainment faces the very fast-growing massively multiplayer online role playing game segment. here’s Sierra Online, which faces the medium and short session casual online segment and there’s Vivendi Games Mobile which faces the mobile segment. And then obviously there’s the specific console and PC marketplace which all of the major publishers play in, and we’re facing that with Sierra.
Each of the four divisions has its own staff, its own marketing, its own relationship with consumers and its own accountability for developing product and serving its consumers.
How will you be pushing ‘traditional’ PC and console games label Sierra?
The revival of the brand comes from product. Over time, as our products becomes more and more established as perennial franchises, the name Sierra will be given stronger life. We had a big success with Scarface under the Sierra label and we have two excellent titles coming up this year: World in Conflict and TimeShift.These products are under the Sierra name and as we move forward and our products get stronger and they are established as franchises, the Sierra name will be strengthened.
Is there any hierarchy when it comes to the four labels?
Blizzard receives our priority in resource allocation. After that, Sierra is where we’ve put a lot of attention on developing franchises. The two smaller divisions, Sierra Online and Vivendi Mobile, are start-ups and we’re investing an appropriate amount of funds there and have had very early success, which is hard to do in the games market.
Sierra Online is the newest element of the business – could you describe what you hope to do with the label?
We set up a division aimed for the medium and short session players. It is a population base that responds to casual gaming and is more female and both older and younger than those that play either Blizzard games or Sierra. In time, as products are launched, Sierra Online will be invigorated with meaning to those casual consumers.
Vivendi seems to be one of the more profitable businesses in the market – how are you looking to improve on this?
In particular the performance is powered by World of Warcraft which is reaching unprecedented heights, but also Sierra had got stronger in ’06 over ’05, and we’re hoping for the same in ’07 over ’06. At Bizzard we launched the WoW expansion pack in January and we’re seeing an increase in the subscriber base. At Sierra we’re noting two important titles for us – World in Conflict and Timeshift – as well as many others. We have a slate of 10-12 games for Vivendi Games Mobile. For Sierra Online we’re launching Freestyle which is a wildy popular game in North America. Also we’re launching between 10-12 Xbox Live Arcade games, some of which will be available on PC and the Sony Network Platform as well.