Activision’s CEO wants Xbox to revive Guitar Hero and Skylanders
Bobby Kotick says Microsoft has the manufacturing capabilities Activision doesn’t
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said he’d like to see Microsoft bringing back some currently ‘retired’ series once its acquisition deal has been completed.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Kotick cited Guitar Hero and Skylanders as two franchises that were extremely popular for Activision in the past but were eventually shelved for numerous reasons.
One of these reasons was the need for a separate manufacturing team, something Kotick says he wasn’t prepared to set up but that he feels Microsoft should be equipped for.
He also hopes Microsoft will use its social integration tools to make the Candy Crush series a more engaging multiplayer experience.
“[Xbox CEO] Phil [Spencer] and I started riffing on things for the future,” Kotick said. “I’ll give you three that are really compelling. I wanted to make a new Guitar Hero for a while, but I don’t want to add teams to do manufacturing and supply chain and QA for manufacturing. And the chip shortages are enormous.
“We didn’t really have the ability to do that. I had a really cool vision for what the next Guitar Hero would be, and realised we don’t have the resources to do that.
“And Skylanders too. One of the great disappointments of my career is that other people came in and they came out with crappy alternatives. And they dumped all of these crappy alternatives in the market, and basically destroyed the market for what was a really cool future opportunity.
“If you look at Skylanders, with its hardware and manufacturing and supply chain, there are the same kinds of things that we can’t do but Microsoft can.
“And in these conversations I was sharing my frustration about not having enough social capability in Candy Crush. I really want to be able to have a Candy Crush experience where players can play games against each other. And they can socialise. And they can have voice over IP and video over IP.
“That’s a more social game, but it’s rooted in being able to play the game against another person or other people. There is nothing but opportunity for the kinds of things that we can’t do on our own, and the resources that they have for us to just make a difference.”
The Guitar Hero series sold more than 25 million copies over the course of its life, with Guitar Hero III in particular being the first video game to exceed $1 billion in sales, according to Activision at the time.
The toys-to-life Skylanders series was even more popular, with over $3 billion in sales and more than 300 million toys sold, but the series ended with Skylanders: Imaginators in 2016.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Kotick will continue to serve as the CEO of Activision Blizzard throughout the acquisition process, which is expected to close during Microsoft’s fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023.
But according to Wall Street Journal sources said to be familiar with the plans, Kotick is expected to leave Activision Blizzard once Microsoft’s acquisition of the publisher is complete.