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Activision merges Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment

Activision owned Vicarious Visions will now be part of Blizzard Entertainment division.

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Activision has announced that one of their wholly owned studios, Vicarious Visions, will no longer be part of the Activision Publishing division.

The company has revealed that Vicarious Visions will be fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment division of the company effective immediately.

Vicarious Visions has worked on many titles and projects for Activision, including Skylanders, Destiny franchise, supported development of select Call of Duty games, and more. Most recently, the studio developed and released remasters of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2. The studio was listed as a support developer of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

In a statement to GamesIndustry, Blizzard says the studio becomes a “natural fit” after working on several Blizzard projects behind the scenes for the last several years.

“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative explained to us.

It’s not truly clear how long Vicarious has been supporting Blizzard projects.

Vicarious Visions’ studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to be Executive VP of Development at Blizzard Entertainment as part of the merger. She will report directly to Blizzard President J. Allen Barrack. All 200 Vicarious Vision employees will be part of Blizzard and work on Blizzard projects.

Her role is being replaced by Simon Ebejer, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the studio. It’s not clear what projects within Blizzard they are working on. Blizzard has multiple projects in the works, including Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and more.

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Activision files lawsuit against notable cheat provider EngineOwning

Activision has filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of Warzone’s most prolific cheat and hack distributors.

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Warzone player running and a judge's gavel

Activision have made a new attempt to stamp out cheat providers, filing a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prolific distributors of hacks.

Cheating is a major issue in Warzone and despite the introduction of the RICOCHET anti-cheat system, hacking is still running wild on Caldera. In fact, these cheaters are so brazen, they’ve started to actively mock developers Raven with their in-game names.

It should come as no surprise that Activision are trying to shut down these cheaters for good, and the publishers of Call of Duty have once again filed a lawsuit against a site that distributes these hacks.

Warzone Pacific Sniper Rifle

In a suit filed in the State of California on January 4, Activision took aim at EngineOwning, claiming that their cheats have caused “millions of dollars” in damages, and that they are “developing new cheating software” for another of their titles in Overwatch.

Activision is seeking “to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair advantages.”

“These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the CoD player community,” it continues. “This Court must put a stop to [the] defendants’ misconduct, and Activision is entitled to monetary damages, injuctive and other equitable relief, and punitive damages.”

Operators fighting in Warzone Pacific

EngineOwning is one of the largest cheat providers for Call of Duty right now, with the cheat provider continuously attempting to circumvent Activision’s anti-cheat efforts. EngineOwning’s next steps are unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the operation, which is allegedly maintained by an individual in Germany, is shut down.

Activision has made efforts as of December to stop hackers in Call of Duty with the launch of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat software, including a PC kernel-level driver for Warzone.

This system has had successes, with 48,000 cheaters banned in December, leaving hackers begging Activision for a second chance.

Image Credits: Activision / Raven Software / Ekaterina Bolovtsova: Pexels

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Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule

A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.

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A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.

It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.

2019 saw the release of IW’s Modern Warfare reboot, 2020 was Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, and this year has seen the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard.

It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.

player sniping in modern warfare 2019

Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.

The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.

A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”

As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.

With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.


For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.

Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games

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Activision Blizzard shareholders group call on CEO to resign

Shareholders are now calling for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to resign and be replaced as turmoil continues.

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A group of Activision Blizzard shareholders have sent a letter to Activision Blizzard executives asking for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign immediately.

The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent by a group of shareholders that own stock share in Activision Blizzard.

“In contrast to past company statements, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of many incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination at Activision Blizzard, but failed either to ensure that the executives and managers responsible were terminated or to recognize and address the systematic nature of the company’s hostile workplace culture,” the shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group stated in their letter.

The news comes as the Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb-shell report on Activision Blizzard on November 17, detailing how CEO Bobby Kotick knew about the company’s harassment issues and failed to properly address the situation accordingly over the years.

The WSJ also reported that Bobby Kotick allegedly called a former female assistance and threatened her.

The letter from the group is also asking for Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado, two of the longest-serving board members on the Activision Blizzard board of directors to retire by December 31, 2021, and allow new board members to further shape the future of the company.

“After the new revelations, it’s clear that the current leadership repeatedly failed to uphold a safe workplace — a basic function of their job,” SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger said to The Washington Post. “Activision Blizzard needs a new CEO, board chair, and lead independent director with the expertise, skill set and conviction to truly change the company’s culture. We need to really have a reset button on the board.”

Activision Blizzard has declined to comment on the shareholder letter at this point.

The company issued a statement on November 16 stating that the WSJ report was “misleading” and “failed” to report on the changes CEO Kotick has made since the initial lawsuit dropped in July.

In addition, the company’s board of directors issued their own statement on November 16 stating they remain “confident” in Bobby Kotick as CEO. Activision Blizzard’s stock has taken a drop since the news surfaced.

Activision Blizzard employee group, A Better ABK, issued their own demand calling for Bobby Kotick to be replaced and staged a walkout on November 16.

We’ll continue to update as this situation unfolds.

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