Activision Blizzard makes a surprising announcement about the company’s plans for E3 this year, as the veteran publisher intends to partner with PlayStation at the event.
Despite the overall success of E3 2015, it appears that Activision Blizzard will bow out of the 2016 version of the event – at least, in the capacity that gamers have come to expect from the company. Activision announced today that it will not have its own booth on the E3 show floor this year, instead opting to exhibit its upcoming titles with the aid of business partners like Sony PlayStation. The announcement came from the official Activision blog, which also revealed today that the next instalment in the Call of Duty series will be showcased at E3 2016.
Although the decision to alter the publisher’s usual E3 presence might strike some as odd or potentially concerning, it’s important to keep in mind that the decision likely wasn’t made based on Activision’s finances. After all, Activision just finalized its purchase of Candy Crush developer King, a deal that was estimated to be for upwards of $5.9 billion. While Candy Crush might not be as profitable as it has been in years past, the move was a clear sign of strength from Activision.
It’s much more likely that Activision’s withdrawal from the usual booth fare that characterizes events like E3 is for reasons similar to those of Electronic Arts. This past January, EA announced that it was giving up its E3 booth space in favor of unveiling a new promotional strategy called the EA Play livestream event, which will be held one day before E3. While Activision doesn’t appear to have the same livestreaming plans, it’s possible that the publisher simply decided there were better ways to promote its upcoming games than the traditional E3 approach.
While the announcement from Activision now marks two major video game publishers choosing to skip E3 2016’s show floor, the opinion of the show among industry veterans still seems to be split. Rockstar Games’ parent company, Take-Two, revealed it would be at E3 in a “big way” recently, leading some to believe a sequel to Red Dead Redemption might be imminent. It was also announced just over a month ago that Bethesda would be present at E3 for what will be its second annual E3 keynote, an event that is expected to center around Dishonored 2 as well as the future of Fallout 4.
Activision says that the publisher is “looking forward to sharing exciting new details about the next great Call of Duty game in partnership…with PlayStation”, and that the company is proud to be participating in E3, which it calls a “premier video game event”. It seems that, for better or worse, Activision is pretty confident about its presence at E3 this year – it will be interesting to see if that confidence is buoyed mostly by the Call of Duty reveal, or if Activision has something else planned that might end up on an updated list of the greatest E3 moments of all time.
What do you think about Activision Blizzard and EA’s decisions to forgo booths at E3 this year? Do you think E3 will eventually be booth-free? Let us know in the comments below.