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Analyst: Sales May Suffer From Infinity Ward Shakeup

sjohnson
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Posted March 2, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson

Infinity WardI'm sure you're aware of the recently reported shake-up at Infinity Ward, but to give you some context, and an idea of the impact the news might have on Activision and video gaming in general, I spoke to video game industry analyst Jesse Divnich from EEDAR.

"[In an SEC filing] Activision called it 'insubordination' which could mean anything – it could mean they weren’t listening to or following policy or not listening to management," Divnich said. "In my opinion, I think it stems from the current contract between Infinity Ward and Activision -- what there is currently in development. It probably has a lot to do with what Jason and Vince’s plans are for the future of their Infinity Ward projects. They might not line up with what Activision envisions. It could be that they were looking  to start a new studio, or somehow break Infinity Ward off to work with another publisher. There are certainly a lot different scenarios."

As for how the reported changes at Infinity Ward are likely to affect Infinity Ward going forward, Divnich noted, "I don’t necessarily believe Jason and Vince’s departures will affect the overall quality of the games Infinity Ward is going to produce. As anyone knows, there’s more that goes into a game than just two people."

The final quality might not be affected, but the changes at Infinity Ward could lead to lower sales for IF games. "We could see some backlash from the community in the form of bad reviews-- in the form of an overall weakening of Activision’s image toward the 'core' community--and that translates to fewer sales, and that translates to a lower stock price." Divnich said.

"So it comes down to: Are Activision games, or specifically Infinity Ward games, going to be as commercially successful as if Jason or  Vince didn’t leave? The bottom line is: It does impact, a little bit, the potential commercial success of an Infinity Ward title going forward. "

Analyst: Sales May Suffer From Infinity Ward Shakeup
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