Blizzard Wins $7 Million In Bot Company Lawsuit (Gamespot.com)

Every regular, paying MMORPGer can’t stand bots. They destroy economies, ruin questing hub hunting grounds, get in your way, out-level and out-gather you, and generally wreak havoc on a game world. It’s nice to see at least one botting company having to pay back some of the cash they’ve earned doing most anything illegal in a game.


California Court orders World of Warcraft bot company to pay $7 million in damages to Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard Entertainment has won a lawsuit against a World of Warcraft bot company for $7 million.

According to a report on GamesIndustry, the suit was originally filed by Blizzard Entertainment against Ceiling Fan Software in December 2011. Ceiling Fan Software was allegedly behind a number of World of Warcraft bots, including Shadow Bot and Pocket Gnome.

California Court has ordered Ceiling Fan Software to cease operations and pay Blizzard Entertainment $7 million in damages. A statement posted on the Ceiling Fan Software website cites “two years of legal battles” by the organisation to “both pursue our right to operate and our customer’s right to play WoW as they choose”.

Ceiling Fan Software is accepting donations to assist with “outstanding legal fees”.

Parent company Activision Blizzard revealed a drop in World of Warcraft subscribers earlier this year. Despite dipping to 7.7 million active players, the publisher revealed that the game remains the most popular subscription-based MMO in the world.

Subscribers for World of Warcraft peaked at over 12 million in October 2010. The original World of Warcraft game was released in 2004, and was followed by four expansion packs:Burning CrusadeWrath of the Lich KingCataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria.

A film adaptation of the Warcraft universe is scheduled to begin filming in 2014.

Activision Pays $8.2 Billion to Say Good-Bye to Vivendi (ArsTechnica.com)

It must be frustrating for Activision Blizzard to see their profits gobbled up by parent corp Vivendi. This should return billions to Activision Blizzard annually and give them substantially more capitol to invest into upcoming projects (Titan, anyone?). Now, if only Bioware would do this to EA.

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Move is more likely about capturing profits than regaining independence.

Independence in the game industry isn’t just for tiny developers looking to break free of their corporate taskmasters. Even mega-publisher Activision Blizzard wants to assert its independence, so much so that late last night it announced an $8.17 billion buyback of most of the shares in the company owned by French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi.

Activision Blizzard is buying about 429 million shares in itself from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, and an investor group led by CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly is buying 172 million more shares for $2.34 billion. Kotick and Kelly are responsible for $100 million of that purchase, showing their continued personal investment in the future of the company. Vivendi will still retain a 12 percent share of Activision going forward, down from its current 61 percent stake.

Activision merged with Vivendi back in late 2007 in an $18.8 billion deal that all but eliminated the previously vibrant Vivendi Games as a distinct entity. The merger also reportedly caused some collateral damage for the once-proud Sierra Games sub-brand.

Why move to get out from under Vivendi’s shadow now? It’s possible that Activision was feeling stifled by its parent’s corporate machinations and wants to strike out in a bold new direction without being beholden to the bottom-line of a mega-corporation. But that seems a bit unlikely since Activision is still an investor-driven mega-corporation in its own right.

More likely, Kotick and other investors were tired of seeing Activision’s consistently strong earnings being gobbled up by a parent company that bought them out just before a big surge. When Vivendi first merged with Activision, the recently released Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was just a surprisingly successful holiday release and not yet a global phenomenon franchise that would bring Activision largely unexpected billions. Vivendi also swooped in just in time to reap a lot of the profits Activision was able to squeeze from its newly acquired Guitar Hero franchise before the bottom fell out from the rhythm gaming market.

Activision Blizzard expects to bring in $4.31 billion in revenue this fiscal year, which actually makes today’s $8.2 billion buyback seem like a deal. Obviously, Kotick and company expect those revenue numbers to continue to climb even higher in coming years, and they want to recapture a significant stake in the company before it becomes even more expensive to do so.

Original ArsTechnica Article

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