Former VP at Activision Blizzard Inc
- Trends affecting Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) and its operating environment, highlighting macroeconomic pressures’ impact on development and consumer spending
- Assessment of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) lawsuit to block Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) acquisition, noting likely outcomes
- Impacts of either a successful and unsuccessful Microsoft acquisition on Activision Blizzard's positioning and the broader competitive landscape
- 6-18-month outlook, noting rise of VR and Activision’s potential performance in mobile gaming
Could you highlight the key trends impacting Activision Blizzard today or that might soon impact it?
What behaviour changes do you see going into 2023 from consumers? Might there be changes in engagement, in amount of time playing different games or changes in spending? If we view the pandemic as peak spending from the consumer side, what percentage change down from that peak do you think spending will be in 2023, given the broader macro environment and accompanying pressures?
What are the specific trends affecting title development? You noted how consumers will be affected, but how are current macroeconomic pressures affecting the development side? Do you anticipate a slowdown in development of new titles across the industry in 2023?
As the demand for more higher-quality titles from consumers increases, does the risk of more unsuccessful title releases also climb? How does Activision stand on that front as development timelines expand and development costs increase? What is the company’s ability to maintain that level of execution going into 2023?
What are your thoughts on the potential impact of Meta and Apple’s VR headsets being developed and released in the market for video game publishers and studios? How do you think studios and publishers are preparing for this shift in an increase of VR headset gaming?
What’s your view on market growth by platform over the next three years across consoles, mobile, PC or others?
How are major AAA studios addressing emerging markets such as Southeast Asia or LATAM?
What makes or breaks a publisher’s success in mobile? What’s most important when it comes to penetrating that mobile market? You mentioned discoverability being a big component of success in mobile.
Why do you think Activision has not been as strong on the non-casual mobile gaming side and needed the help of TiMi and NetEase? As that relationship is set to expire, do you think the company can move forward without them?
What are your thoughts on cloud gaming adoption over the next 3-5 years? Do you think we’re going to see significant cloud gaming adoption, and if so, what will be the drivers of that? How do you think increased cloud gaming would affect major players such as Activision, EA or Take-Two, and their business models?
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s plans to acquire Activision? What was your initial reaction to hearing that news?
You mentioned a lot of the titles and content that Activision will bring over from Microsoft. What opportunities, synergies or value do you think Microsoft would bring to the company and the way it operates if this deal is successful?
How would a combined Microsoft-Activision Blizzard entity affect the competitive landscape for other publishers such as EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft or anyone else that could be affected?
If regulatory agencies insist on structural rather than behavioural remedies, would it make sense for Microsoft to agree to sell parts of Activision Blizzard? If so, which parts do you think will likely be sold, and why?
Google and Nvidia are arguing that the merger could give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the rising cloud subscription and mobile gaming market. Do you think Microsoft would have an unfair advantage in any of those areas with Activision Blizzard in the fold?
How much of a threat could Microsoft gaining a stronger position in the mobile gaming space be to Google’s position in mobile gaming?
What do you think is Microsoft’s limit for regulatory concessions? Where might it draw that line? It is doing a lot of to try and push this deal through and offering a lot of concessions.
You mentioned that you thought this merger was expensive. Considering the likelihood of Microsoft walking away or even going back to the table for a renegotiation, what do you think a new deal could look like?
Do you see this deal going through or not? A specialist in a recent Forum Interview [see Activision Blizzard – Impact of Industry Trends & Mid-term Outlook – 4 August 2022] estimated a 50/50 chance of a deal being allowed to go through by the courts. Do you agree with that, or do you have a different estimate?
If this deal fails, how are you assessing Activision Blizzard’s positioning going forward? Are you optimistic or pessimistic on the strategic direction if the deal fails?
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