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Activision report lists World of Warcraft as a 'risk factor'


If there's anything that all the chaos between Activision and Infinity Ward in the past 24 hours has taught us, it's that no one is safe and dry under Bobby Kotick's umbrella. And while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was one of Activision's biggest earners, that hasn't stopped the company from revamping the brand however it sees fit. So what about Activision's other big game, Blizzard's World of Warcraft? The same annual report released to the SEC yesterday that kicked off the Infinity Ward shakeup also mentions that Activision is worried about WoW becoming "obsolete," and that the regulatory issues in China could affect the entire company's bottom line.

So will we hear about Mike Morhaime being frogmarched off of the Blizzard campus? Not likely -- the fears about WoW are all in a section of the report labeled "Risk Factors," in which a company must disclose anything that could possibly go wrong with its financials in the future, just in case. In there, Activision worries about everything from credit card fraud to its ESRB ratings -- WoW is mentioned a lot because it makes up most of the revenue (in fact, one of the worries is that Activision depends on WoW too much), but these are all worst case scenario guesses. The report admits that Blizzard did decrease its net revenues last year, but then credits that to no new releases in 2009 and interrupted licensing fees from China. Assuming Blizzard releases both Starcraft II and Cataclysm as planned in 2010, the odds are low that Activision will raise the axe in that direction.

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