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Pump and Dump in Vivendi action
August 8th 2002, 01:44 CEST by Matt Davis

Vivendi has announced it may sell off it's computer games business.

The companies included are of course Sierra and Blizzard, with brands such as Tribes, Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Half-life under the business, they're looking at perhaps selling it for just under $2bn.

Obviously all the other publishing companies will be interested in taking a look, especially Microsoft and Sega as the article states, but what about some other companies? perhaps IBM is looking at branching out? after all computer games is one of the few tech sectors that continues to see growning sales and profits even in these tough times, with this christmas looking set to beat all previous sales. Would it be wise for vivendi to sell some brands/IP from it's games list that are under performing thanks to a lack of vision? would sierra be swallowed into the main company never to be seen again?

How would this effect the average consumer? if an existing publishing company took over, is further consolidation a good thing in this market? Also if a company like microsoft did buy it, whats the chances that all games it produces will be Xbox exclusives? at least for the first 6 months of a product.
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#1 by The_Joker
2002-08-08 01:46:35
http://www.jackinworld.com
First!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
"I fart in THX." - Sgt_Hulka
#2 by The_Joker
2002-08-08 01:46:51
http://www.jackinworld.com
oh my god, I oh SO rule!!!!

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
"I fart in THX." - Sgt_Hulka
#3 by Desiato
2002-08-08 01:48:38
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
Take both hands off of the wang....

Okay.

Now clean your keyboard.
#4 by Ergo
2002-08-08 01:49:16
Is Sierra even a company anymore? What was their last game, Tribes 2? Sad.

"Brian, there's a message in my Alpha Bits! It says 'OOOOOOO'!"
"Peter, those are Cheerios."
-The Family Guy
#5 by Matthew Gallant
2002-08-08 02:04:21
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
First of all, how does a company get $19 billion in debt? Shouldn't you stop and re-evaluate a little before that?

Second, if the properties are for sale, no doubt that Microsoft will buy them.

"Hey, uh, hey ladies. My name is John McGuirk. I am a, uh, professional soccer coach at the, uh, elementary school level, and I, uh, own a nice car. Though I do not currently have legal access to it. Uh, as you can see, I used to be in good shape, and uh, in the last two years I have successfully completed four out of five rehab programs. The kind of woman I'm interested in is the one, uh, I guess, who's still watching this video."
#6 by EricFate
2002-08-08 02:06:02
It's Vivendi.  I imagine they spent it all on dinners.
#7 by Creole Ned
2002-08-08 02:13:24
Sega is a-shoppin', too. There's probably a few companies out there that would like to grab the Blizzard cash cow.

Sierra doesn't develop much in-house anymore, but they still publish a lot of titles: Tribes 2, Empire Earth, Fox titles (AvP2, NOLF), the SWAT series, Arcanum, Homeworld, blah blah blah.

I'd think the people at Sierra would be relieved to NOT be run by an incompetent French conglomerate for once. This ain't the first time for them. As to the effect to the average consumer, I would say roughly zero. A new company might kill a few projects down the road, but even that seems unlikely.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#8 by Charles
2002-08-08 02:13:44
www.bluh.org
Microsoft buying Blizzard would be funny.

"World of Warcraft is now an XBox exclusive"

Hilarity ensues.

We're not "Whinny," either,  "Looser".
  -MCorleone
#9 by crash
2002-08-08 02:14:11
isn't this the company that, not too long ago, was begging for respect in the gaming sector as a viable publisher? or am i misremembering?

"Everyone knows the best way to live life is to troll messageboards." --Warren Marshall
#10 by Charles
2002-08-08 02:14:39
www.bluh.org
And I don't see why people say sega might buy it... sega tends to stick only to consoles, with the exception of some budget ports that few people even realize exist.  Why would they buy a couple of PC-centric companies?  Somehow, I think branching in to new markets isn't something sega's ready to do so soon.

We're not "Whinny," either,  "Looser".
  -MCorleone
#11 by Creole Ned
2002-08-08 02:20:33
Who would have thought five years ago that Sega would be a software-only company making titles for Sony hardware? Things change.

That said, Microsoft is a more likely buyer.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#12 by Charles
2002-08-08 02:24:23
www.bluh.org
Yes, but 5 years ago sega hadn't just bailed from a huge market due to having it's own ass handed to itself on a silver platter.

We're not "Whinny," either,  "Looser".
  -MCorleone
#13 by Creole Ned
2002-08-08 02:26:58
True dat!

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#14 by LPMiller
2002-08-08 02:35:55
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Because sega has large cash reserve thanks to dumping the hardware, and wants to grow their software market with established properties. They've said this; right around the same day rumours started to fly that Vivendi was thinking of selling off the games.  Whether or not Sega goes for it remains to be seen.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#15 by bago
2002-08-08 02:55:12
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
or, in other words, the future is going to be fun.

iamelectro
#16 by Charles
2002-08-08 03:02:38
www.bluh.org
The fun starts in september!

We're not "Whinny," either,  "Looser".
  -MCorleone
#17 by Your Friend
2002-08-08 03:25:59

And I don't see why people say sega might buy it... sega tends to stick only to consoles, with the exception of some budget ports that few people even realize exist.  Why would they buy a couple of PC-centric companies?  Somehow, I think branching in to new markets isn't something sega's ready to do so soon.


Who would have thought Bungie would be a console developer? I know the scales are different (Bungie is much smaller than Sega) by quite a bit, and I agree that its a fairly unlikely move, but you never know.  In any case, if it did happen, I'd expect it to be more about moving Sierra/Blizzard/whoever's titles to consoles more than Sega getting into PCs..
#18 by Cliff
2002-08-08 03:26:33
cps46@rcn.com
But that's when the anniversary attacks go down.

#19 by Bailey
2002-08-08 03:34:56
I don't think even Bungie thought they were going to be a console developer until Microsoft told them to be one.

crash

Yeah, there was some thread about the french gaming mafia I think?

Hey, I made a cool game! It's called: "I poisoned half the food in the house, so if you eat you might die"! On an unrelated note, have a taco.
#20 by Hugin
2002-08-08 03:57:07
lmccain@nber.org
I think Apple should buy them.  They have the cash reserves to pull it off, and it would instantly give them a place to establish a beachhead for Mac gaming.
#21 by BobJustBob
2002-08-08 04:02:17
The fun starts in 18 Days, 02:55:04.

So there.
#22 by jafd
2002-08-08 04:13:27
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
How about a wine cooler?

#23 by Bailey
2002-08-08 06:14:19
You're a horrible monster who deserves death, Hugin.

Hey, I made a cool game! It's called: "I poisoned half the food in the house, so if you eat you might die"! On an unrelated note, have a taco.
#24 by Datafox
2002-08-08 08:49:12
http://jove.prohosting.com/~datafox/
Yep say no to Apple and I doubt they have much cash too. I think MS is the most likly buyer if they choose to sell it as one large chunk and not in pieces if it is going in pieces EA, Sega and MS would all probably buyers.

Punishing the good, and bugging the evil.
#25 by LesJarvis
2002-08-08 09:21:13
EA would just be buying themselves a self-competition headache with so many competing brands under the same roof.  Sega just doesn't *feel* right as the buyer.  Microsoft would love to, no doubt, although I tend to question whether that would actually happen.  My money is on Infogrames!!!

Don't, for heavens sake, be afraid of talking nonsense!  But you must pay attention to your nonsense.
#26 by Sister Love
2002-08-08 10:02:58
corporate_misconduct@yahoo.com http://www.3drealms.com
Well, according to that 8/5/02 FatBabie Rumor, Infogrames has no money and is on the auction block themselves.

I am all the love you'll ever need.. SUCKA!
#27 by Lucifer
2002-08-08 10:05:35
ap@krawall.de not yet
Will be interesting to see, what becomes of Blizzard after the buyout. They've always been pretty much left alone by Vivendi / Sierra. If MS buys the whole lot - well, they have the tendency to swallow things whole, brands and all. Can't imagine they'll kill the Blizzard brand? Same thing people said about Origin...till EA came along. Same goes for EA and Infogrames of course. Also, whoever 0wnz0rz Blizzard needs a long breath to support their, let's say "above average" development cycles. Last but not least, I agree that "World of Warcraft" has "Xbox Exklusive" painted all over it, especially with the "Xbox Live" stuff emerging from Bills Caves. The other stuff like Half-Life and Tribes also fits all so nicely with Microsoft. Just feels like another big fish in the nets of our favorite megacorp, IMO.

Luc
#28 by JMCDaveL
2002-08-08 10:26:32
And we all know how accurate FatBabies is.

--jmc
ICQ-121684 AIM-jmcdavel U=FAG0T
#29 by Matt Davis
2002-08-08 10:34:57
http://looroll.com
Lucifer, I stopped reading your post just as I saw "0wnz0rz".

Now,

I'd like to take this moment to thank all my 'yes' voters, getting two topics out of two up is an excellent record and one I intend to improve on, signed autographs in the post.

With regards to Apple, they do have the money, lots of it, incredible amounts, but buying a publshing company is not what Apples about, they're not interested, really.

EA would never be able to get co-ordinated enough to make a good offer, they'd only be interested in bits, like blizzard to replace westwood who are allegedly flagging now (has the C&C MMORPG been announced yet?).

Microsoft, the most likely buyer, it instantly gives them the power to control a large share of games to both of thier platforms (windows & xbox) and this can help them build a strategy to help dominate a sector and build on getting some amazing tier one games for xbox 2 launch, you have to remember that by the time a deal is done (lawyers, anti-monopoly commision in US and Europe) and games are being made, the xbox will almost be at end-of-life.

Sega, I can seriously see them wanting everything, the brands/games in the vivendi package take them head to head with EA on pretty much every front, sega has the quality control to do something pretty special as well.

Now I speculated IBM, but other companies I can see who would be interested are:

Sony, they've got the money, and it gives them something to stop Microsoft getting it and pushes Sony further into the PC market with games other than MMOG's and again it would help them with getting more Tier one games for the PS3 launch.

Activision, They'd be interested in some parts of the company, but not all, do they have $2bn?

Take Two, Any other company paying $2bn means that Take Two (TTWO) would have to pay double that because the brands were obviously valued badly, pump and dump my friends.

Ellen Feiss is my stoned goddess
#30 by Lucifer
2002-08-08 10:56:01
ap@krawall.de not yet
Matt, you shouldn't judge a post by its 0wnz0rs ;)
#31 by LesJarvis
2002-08-08 11:55:53
oops, forgot <sarcasm> tags.

Don't, for heavens sake, be afraid of talking nonsense!  But you must pay attention to your nonsense.
#32 by Darkseid-D
2002-08-08 13:19:07
rogerboal@hotmail.com
In a previous thread, I called MS to pickup Blizzard & Sierra for their new broadband xbox schtick.  I also intimated that this would be beyond a smart move because Sierra would give give them more of a handle on Valve which in turn means... Well it means that come Christmas, MS have a new `killer` game for the Xbox, Half Life 2.

Wishful thinking?  Perhaps.

We know Valve has CS2 and TF2 well underway and their new engine is up and working at least from whats not said as much as what is said. There have been a great deal of rumours about HL2 and its ultimate arrival time, Christmas 02 isnt so inconcievable. The Valve owners/senior team are ex microsoft management and have proven themselves shrewd enough to keep a quite old game in the limelight for several years. Theyve microsofted, uhm, embraced and extended the mod community, bringing the `best` into their fold (Team fortress, Counter strike, Day of Defeat), and sold their software/branding/ip/name on the backs of those mods. Half Life is still the goalpost game that other FPS`s must strive to out do, theyve continued to update and improve their software, allegedly for testing out new features and code but also to answer to what the community wants.

Now pick all of that up and move it sideways a few feet. Microsoft is launching a broadband connection for the XBox, they need games to play on that, whats the biggest `game` played online, yep the MMPOGs (Ill come back to that in a second). The biggest first person game is Half Life and its mods by a ludicrous margin, Counter Strike reigns supreme in that regard with Day of Defeat putting in a good showing. Both mods boast more people playing than UT  & q3 combined, despite them being `newer`. Throw in making games `spectator` based, which is easier to watch, a 17" monitor on a desk, or that big ass TV you have in the living room. Valve put in spectatorcam technology into their games and by golly, it works nicely too. So, you have a vacancy for great games that show off the Xbox, are `must haves` for a huge section of pc gamer, a company thats delivered in the past and has made several savvy choices and above all, metric assloads of money. A smartmove? No, it would be a bloody brilliant move for MS to make.  

Pick up blizzard and you get the Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft ips, the recent WC3 controls are formatted in such a way that the game is playable with a gamepad. They have an MMPOG already well into development and have been running the Battle.Net server for quite some time. Microsoft is working on .NET, humour aside BattleNet.NET anyone? So Microsoft could pick up a huge installed gamerbase, solid ips, existing technology that could be made to also serve the Xbox (hell its a 2k kernel why not) and the experience that comes with running distributed servers.  Even Diablo could be ported to the Xbox without too many issues I believe, and Im sure an awful lot of people would love StarCraft 2 (or hell World of starcraft).

Microsoft picking up either company would be a hugely smart move, buying both could very well be the act that makes Microsoft -the- gaming force to be reckoned with and elevate the XBox immensely.

Of course, I may also be absolutely wrong about this, c`est la vie.


Ds

Never argue with an idiot, theyll drag you down onto their level, then beat you with experience.
#33 by Wheelie
2002-08-08 13:19:28
#29
has the C&C MMORPG been announced yet?

Think they would have their hands full with Earth and Beyond

Wheelie doesn't care about teh funnay. He's a nihilist.
#34 by MCorleone
2002-08-08 14:46:38
There is no way that IBM would be buying a game company.  They're selling their most profitable hardware division, hard drives, to Hitachi.  They're shedding all businesses except service over the next few years.  Look for a major Corp partnership with Dell in the near future.

Hell is a 56k connection to heaven.
#35 by Matt Davis
2002-08-08 15:11:21
http://looroll.com
theres also the fact that IBM will still make money on the hard drives business and they will continue to own massive patents, they're just going to let hitachi do the work, which is pretty smart, theres also the lawsuit against them for the 60gb+ drives and the alleged 13 hours usage a day and no more crap.

Ellen Feiss is my stoned goddess
#36 by Matt Davis
2002-08-08 15:18:29
http://looroll.com
Also, if vivendi was going to sell parts of the business, the bits they'd be mad to sell are the profitable parts, such as Valves publishing agreement, and Blizzard, you'd want to sell the underpeforming parts, none OR all of the business.

Ellen Feiss is my stoned goddess
#37 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-08 15:35:06
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
You know, until Bailey mentioned it so long ago, I never noticed how bad emoticons had gotten on the web.  Some people can't write a simple paragraph without using 2 or 3 of them.  Like this gem:

Emoticon Hell

I count 6 emoticons in a simple blurb about an IRC class.  It's like they've completely removed the need to express ones self with real language.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#38 by Post-It
2002-08-08 15:37:11
keithlee@speakeasy.net
I can't believe I just voted 'yes' to a topic Joker submitted.

Comment Signature
#39 by Wheelie
2002-08-08 15:48:14
Not necesarily true. You sell to get cash in, but also to refine your business. They just might want to be able to focus on their core business, whatever that might be. And they might feel that games, all though profitable, are somewhat of a niche product for them.

Wheelie doesn't care about teh funnay. He's a nihilist.
#40 by Wheelie
2002-08-08 15:49:47
#39 was comment for #36

Wheelie doesn't care about teh funnay. He's a nihilist.
#41 by "Balderama"
2002-08-08 16:01:40
support@real.com www.planetcrap.com
#38 I'm sure he'll be thankful. If i could login I would also vote yes for that topic. Too bad this site requires an email address.
#42 by Matt Davis
2002-08-08 16:05:55
http://looroll.com
#40,

what you're going to sell the profitable parts and leave the crap parts? that makes perfect sense.

Ellen Feiss is my stoned goddess
#43 by HoseWater
2002-08-08 16:13:33
barneyque@hotmail.com
Only 2bln for all of that?  They should get Mr. Miller in there to do the wheeling and dealing.
#44 by Bailey
2002-08-08 16:16:26
Matt

EA would never be able to get co-ordinated enough to make a good offer, they'd only be interested in bits, like blizzard to replace westwood who are allegedly flagging now (has the C&C MMORPG been announced yet?).

No, because that would come into direct competition with UO, which is supporting their horribly bloated carcass. CAN'T RISK... DIVERSIFYING!!!

Warren

Yes, I've got my fingers on the pulse of the internet, and I'm so very wanting to squeeze the artery shut.

Hey, I made a cool game! It's called: "I poisoned half the food in the house, so if you eat you might die"! On an unrelated note, have a taco.
#45 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-08 16:22:00
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
#38 I'm sure he'll be thankful. If i could login I would also vote yes for that topic. Too bad this site requires an email address.

Keeps the riff-raff out.  Well, most of it anyway ...

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#46 by Matt Davis
2002-08-08 16:23:42
http://looroll.com
Or in... depending which way you look at it.

Ellen Feiss is my stoned goddess
#47 by Greg
2002-08-08 16:31:43
Balderama:

I don't think Morn discriminates against free email sites. You may want to look into it.

And, if you have some bias against free email sites, STFU!

Who is driving car?! Oh my god, bear is driving car! How can that be?
#48 by webrunner
2002-08-08 16:48:03
webrunner@adventurers-comic.com http://www.adventurers-comic.com
Blizz and Sierra up for sale?  This isn't the first time this has happened or have we already forgotten?

You know, some people say things about ambiguity.
#49 by jafd
2002-08-08 16:50:56
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
#47, how about if he just shuts the fuck up anyway? It's all about... conservation!

#50 by Charles
2002-08-08 16:56:25
www.bluh.org
CS2 and TF2 well underway and their new engine is up and working at least from whats not said as much as what is said.


That's some good logic.

We're not "Whinny," either,  "Looser".
  -MCorleone
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