Activision draws heat over ignoring accessibility requirements as its stock continues tumbling

    
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It’s safe to say that Activision Blizzard took a bit of a drubbing after BlizzCon (you could read all about it on your cell phone, which we’re sure you have), but now it’s sunny times. Wait… no, not sunny times, the opposite of that. Cloudy times. See, the company’s recently released the Spyro Reignited Trilogy without any subtitles for deaf or hearing-impaired players, and then managed to address that omission with a statement that certainly sounds like “we decided there wasn’t enough money in subtitles to make it worth bothering.”

While it might not have been the intent, it’s another black eye for the company as its stocks tumble once again. It’s down 19% since the start of the year, and while stock prices can always swing up or down and it’s not a sign of imminent collapse, it’s not exactly going to make anyone who owns stock – or people who are supposed to keep the company’s stock up – feel happy. (Although they probably are more unhappy about Destiny 2 underperforming and kicking off a steady stream of unhappiness.)

Source: Ars Technica, Motley Fool, NASDAQ; thanks to Serrenity for the tip!
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Nick Martin

It’s possible to be a corporation and build a good product… it’s simply about focus on what you’re trying to do. Is your goal simply to make money for your shareholders (which is what, sadly, most modern corporations are about), or is it to deliver the best product possible to your customers so that they will give you money and you can then deliver that for the shareholders?

The issue is that they want all the money instead of a lot of money. Instead of finding what works well, they instead chase and try to exploit everything, and anything that doesn’t meet those unrealistic targets is a failure. Worse, it drives exceptionally bad behavior that is somehow excused away time and again.

You can see companies that are willing to control their lane instead of try to chase all of them by looking at companies like Apple, Nintendo, and even to an extent, Sony.

Apple could potentially expand into a ton of directions, by opening their platform up, lowering prices and quality, or changing the product development focus for faster turnaround on new devices. And they do occasionally try to go in new directions, sometimes to great success, sometimes to a lot less, but for the most part, they control and refine that to try and keep customers happy, and by turn, their shareholders happy (for the most part).

With their PS4 exclusives, Sony has focused on creating games that people will love, eschewing a lot of things that could have annoyed players in them for the most part. Not saying they haven’t done some annoying things (they still love some DLC packs and a bunch of special editions), but they’ve avoided most of the other pitfalls, and with that “leaving money on the table” but also keeping customers invested and happy. Nintendo has a very similar tact in how they develop 1st party titles, and opted with the Switch to deliver the experience they wanted, rather than cramming in all the hardware, increasing the price, and making it less accessible.

To the original point, Destiny 2 is a prime example of what happens when you burn your customers in the long term for short term gains. They are trying to create what they call the “live service” model to consume player time, keep them in the game, and then load it up with predatory tactics and broken designs to keep the wallets open. Make the game worse, but put an item there that will make it better, so they have to pay for it. It’s inherently self-defeating for the company, because if they get someone into a game, they’re not going to purchase other products, while at the same time, if they don’t keep feeding new stuff into the game, players will get bored and quit.

Companies like Activision and EA are trying to move all of their products to this model, and setting themselves up to keep competing over smaller and smaller slices of pie… often with their own products pitted against each other. And this will get worse before it gets better, I think.

While I can see Activision trying to make some changes, but until their underlying focus changes, and they realize that to keep customers happy and buying things, they have to make products for customers first, it won’t be a lasting change. For the most part, they can’t help themselves, having done stuff like sneak in microtransactions after launch and reviews on the latest Call of Duty, the continued missteps with Destiny 2, and focus on things like mobile over core products… so I won’t hold my breath that things will improve.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

So much idealism in this thread. I understand the sentiment, but dang… You can’t expect corporations to not act like corporations. It’s what they do as an organization. They die when they can’t make enough profit and the board members and CEO move on to join other corporate organizations or go through the government-private sector revolving door.

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Bruno Brito

Eh…to a point. Being corporate doesn’t mean being bad to your customers and employees. There are ways.

You don’t just throw bs and hissy fits at your playerbase/fanbase and they get over it. Sometime, your bs will caught up to you.

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Jack Pipsam

I am loving the Spyro game, but straight away I noticed the lack of subtitles in the options.
It should be a standard no-question-about-it feature in any major game release (or even minor if they can afford/do it).

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Lack of subtitles caused Activision stock to tumble?

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Paragon Lost

Good time to buy Activision/Blizzard stock.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Maybe. Maybe not. Are you giving out investment advice now?

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Roger Melly

For years Activision Blizzard placed short term profit ahead of long term gain they have reaped what they have sown .

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Bruno Brito

19%

HEY BEND, IT’S HAPPENING

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Danny Smith

Its like Bungie somehow passed their curse onto Activision as a whole.

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Nathan Aldana

Activision manages to find a way to even make the generally well-received Spyro rerelease into another reason to not trust them as a company, i see.

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Sana Tan

To read this excuse from a AAA company….
And subtitles also immensely help non native english speakers that still want the original language but might miss some spoken lines.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Absolutely. It’s a global market.

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Robert Mann

Sadly, I expect it MORE from AAA companies. Which says a lot.