Jeez, it’s been a heck of a week for merged publisher/developer Activision Blizzard. First, the company announced it would be delaying Starcraft II into next year. They tried to ease investor fears by pointing out that the rest of the 2010 schedule is still on track, but it doesn’t seem to have helped. Between the speculation preceding the announcement and the outright panic afterward, Activision Blizzard’s stock has plummeted no less than 14%. Adding insult to injury, they’ve reduced their 2009 profit forecasts by $250M, though that’s not a particularly huge chunk of the remaining $4.05B.
At the same time, the Activision side settled its lawsuit against DoubleFine. Activision had a publishing conflict with the Psychonauts developer over the upcoming Brutal Legend. However, the court tentatively favored DoubleFine, so it looks like Activision decided to cut their losses as best they could.
The news isn’t all bad, though. World of Warcraft is back in business in China, though the government has required some content changes. All the visible skeletons in the game have been removed, from undead character models to talent icons. Furthermore, the color of some monster blood has been changed from red to black. Blizzard has not yet announced if the content changes or the month long furlough have affected the Chinese player population of their popular MMORPG.
All this has happened as the company gears up for BlizzCon, which sold out its 20,000 tickets in just eight minutes last week. At $125 a pop, there’d better be a land of milk and honey just inside the doors. Or at least early builds of Starcraft 2, seeing how we won’t be getting our hands on them in any other form before next year.
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