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Activision confirms E3 lineup: Call of Duty: Ghosts, Skylanders and Destiny

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Not really a surprise to anyone however Activision has just announced AND officially confirmed which games will be at their E3 booth next week. This is our first E3 so we’re not sure in what capacity the games will be (I.E. playable, video only, etc.). We do have an appointment at the booth at 12:30pm right after E3 opens Tuesday so we’re crossing our fingers we’ll get some hands on time while there..

“This is obviously a big year – not just for Activision, but for the entire industry,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “There’s a console transition coming and naturally, everyone wants to see what new possibilities that will unleash in the games. We remain laser focused on delivering the things we know our gamers care about most: great gameplay, immersive worlds, and cool innovations. And that’s what our amazing lineup at E3 this year will deliver.”

Full Press Release:

ACTIVISION PUBLISHING, INC. USHERS IN THE NEXT-GENERATION OF GAMING AT ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT EXPO 2013

Targeted Line-up Includes Call of Duty®: Ghosts, Destiny™ and
Skylanders SWAP Force™

Santa Monica, CA – June 7, 2013 – Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), is ushering in the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 – 13, 2013 with a blockbuster lineup that features some of the industry’s biggest franchises. On display at Activision’s booth #647 in the South Hall, the company’s slate includes Call of Duty®: Ghosts, Destiny™and Skylanders SWAP Force™.

“This is obviously a big year – not just for Activision, but for the entire industry,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “There’s a console transition coming and naturally, everyone wants to see what new possibilities that will unleash in the games. We remain laser focused on delivering the things we know our gamers care about most: great gameplay, immersive worlds, and cool innovations. And that’s what our amazing lineup at E3 this year will deliver.”

Activision’s E3 Slate Includes:
Call of Duty: Ghosts – Developed by Infinity Ward, the studio that created the original Call of Duty® and the critically-acclaimed Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® series, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the next generation of Call of Duty and a stunning leap forward for the franchise. The game delivers an all-new world, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next-generation engine. For the first time, gamers play as the underdog, fighting as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers gameplay innovations throughout the entire game, including several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game is expected to release on November 5, 2013 for the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows® PC. (Developed for Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox 360, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 system and Windows PC; not yet rated by the ESRB.)

Destiny – Activision in partnership with Bungie, the creators of Halo®, will showcase Destiny, the next evolution in interactive entertainment that brings first-person action gamers together in a shared, persistent online world filled with sweeping adventures. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Able to wield incredible power, gamers must battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. In a story-driven universe, Destiny’s saga unfolds through grand tales and epic adventures by immersing players in a bold new universe filled with cooperative, competitive, public, and social activities, all seamlessly connected. (Developed for the PlayStation 4 system, PlayStation 3 system, Xbox One and Xbox 360; not yet rated by the ESRB.)

Skylanders SWAP Force – Activision’s Skylanders SWAP Force continues to build upon the success of the award-winning franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience with the introduction of an innovative feature – dynamic swapability. Kids and gamers will have unprecedented levels of choice in how they explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 SWAP Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Set in a richly detailed world of next generation visual fidelity, Skylanders SWAP Force takes kids on an all-new adventure with 32 never-before-seen heroic characters that each offer unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities – such as flying, climbing, and teleporting – which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of 100+, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure® and Skylanders Giants™. Skylanders SWAP Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16 and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7; all games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide also will come with a free Skylanders toy. Suggested retail pricing: starter pack, $74.99; individual action figures, $9.99 for core characters, $14.99 for new SWAP Force characters. (Developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4 system, PlayStation 3 system, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U™ system from Nintendo; the Wii™ from Nintendo version is in development by Beenox; the portable Nintendo 3DS™ version is in development by n-Space; not yet rated by the ESRB.)

Call of Duty: Warzone

Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters

Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.

Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.

Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.

Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.

Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”

They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.

To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”

This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”

Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.

In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.

Image Credit: Activision

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Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate

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A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.

DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.

Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.

The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.

We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.

Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.

Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.

Activision has not commented on this information as of now.

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Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout

Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.

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An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.

The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.

Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.

Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.

While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.

Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.

Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.

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