Vast development empire overseen by Activision Blizzard touted as key advantage over rivals

Activision: Our independent studio system is ‘long-term competitive model’

Despite its frank admission that key projects and studios formerly owned by Vivendi will be ditched as part of the Activision Blizzard merger, the firm’s publishing boss Mike Griffiths has said that the company’s independent studio model is to fending off other big publishers.

Last week, Griffiths confirmed that Vivendi’s European studios Swordfish and Massive would be ‘divested’ or sold off, as would the Sierra Online and Vivendi Mobile businesses. Rights to externally developed games such as Brutal Legend and Ghostbusters are also being sold off as well.

Sierra studios High Moon and Radical, however, would be kept and ‘realigned’ into the new portfolio of studios that includes Blizzard, Infinity Ward, Bizarre Creations, Treyarch, Neversoft and others owned by Activision.

Speaking in the firm’s latest earnings call, Griffiths said that Activision’s now huge independent studio model – which grants the teams a level of decentralised autonomy – was key to putting competitive pressure on its publishing rivals.

He said: "In terms of studios, our key strategy is to drive our independent model as a long-term competitive model and, as announced, we are adding two Vivendi Games studios to our model: High Moon, the studio behind the Bourne game; and Radical, the developers of Crash Bandicoot and Prototype.

"With respect to all other Vivendi Games’ products and operations, there are some very talented people at these units and we are currently evaluating various options, but we have determined that these units will not play a strategic role in Activision Publishing’s future portfolio."

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