Activision Blizzard's Bobby Kotick has had plenty of bizarre, short-sighted, or just plain greedy ideas as part of his tenure as CEO, but his latest plan to extract cutscenes from games such as StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and sell them separately for $30 manages to go above and beyond his usual levels of craziness. As IGN reports, Kotick wants to create a new secondary market based on the company's products and assumes that fans will line up and break box office records to see bits and pieces of games in a non-interactive format. I especially like this mention that since Activision already has your credit card, they might as well be able to charge it more often:
Speaking today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in California, Kotick said StarCraft II's in-game cinematics are so good that the publisher could edit them into one film and distribute it to fans digitally, a move, he said, is likely to happen sometime in the next five years.
"If we were to take that hour, or hour an a half, and take it out of the game and we were to go to our audiences, who we have their credit card information a direct relationship, and say to them 'Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?'
Kotick continued to say he believes his business model is superior to that of current film studios, saying a StarCraft movie distributed by the publisher would crush any opening weekend box office record ever.
"My guess is unlike film studios that are really stuck with a model that goes through theatrical distribution and takes a signification amount of the profit away, if we were to go to an audience and say 'We have this great hour and a half of linear video that we'd like to make available to you at a $20 or $30 price point,' you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever," he said.
It's boastful statements such as these that make me wonder if Kotick lives on the same planet as the rest of us. I know that he's become the gaming community's favorite punching bag, but sometimes I wonder just how out of touch he is with his customer base. Nobody is going to buy a one-hour "movie" for $30. People don't even like to pay $25 for a two-hour real film as it is. Moreover, gaming cinematics are usually incomplete when taken by themselves. One needs the footage of gameplay to narratively tie them together, and I sincerely doubt anyone would buy a "movie" comprised mostly of gameplay footage. The only way this really works is if the game in question features more cinematics than gameplay time, and if that is the case, then it's already a movie and doesn't need to be sold separately.