There's been a ton of press about Vivendi's plan to gain a controlling stake in Activision, which should nicely marry the former's online gaming prowess (World of Warcraft) with the latter's mainly offline hits (Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, Spiderman, Call of Duty et al), creating a games giant that will push long-time market leader EA into second place (question: who's EA going to do a deal with? Microsoft? Watch this space.) Easily the best piece, however, is Fortune's interview with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. Here's a snip:
"I've been petrified for about two years now," he says ... even though it has been succeeding with games for the three new consoles that emerged recently - Xbox 360, Playstation3, and the Nintendo Wii - something important was going on elsewhere. "We started analyzing the online experience and realized that World of Warcraft was like nothing we'd ever seen," Kotick says. "It's not even just a business. It's a social network with this incredible entertainment component to it."
"People in our industry have tried and tried to build successful online games, with Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of things, but most of them failed," he continues. "We realized that to do something ourselves that would be big enough to affect our margins would cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. But even if we tried, we'd probably get it wrong."
Read the full interview here.