Activision Blizzard is under the gun once again, this time for possible securities fraud ahead of Bungie’s announcement to fly the coop.
It’s not a good time to be at Activision Blizzard. Where once EA was the most reviled company in gaming, that title may soon be bequeathed to Activision for doing all the things that we all hated about EA.
To start, multiple reports say that Activision’s influence has corrupted Blizzard perhaps beyond the point of repair. Ever since the company’s merger back in 2008, Activision’s influence has slowly crept in, pushing Blizzard to cut costs and increase profits. When Diablo III wasn’t as profitable as they would’ve liked, Activision Blizzard execs canceled all planned expansions and instead focused their efforts on the more lucrative mobile market with Diablo Immortal.
When Blizzard unveiled Immortal at BlizzCon, it was to a crowd stunned silent.
The same could be said for Bungie, who signed a 10-year publishing contract with Activision in 2010. Activision pushed Bungie to release games with ever increased profit margins to the point where it influenced Destiny 2 in the form of microtransactions and reduced loot drops from raid bosses.
To avoid the same fate as Blizzard, Bungie announced they would cancel that 10-year contract and re-acquire the rights to Destiny on January 10th. The day after, Activision’s stock tanked from $51.35 the night before to less than $47. As of the time of this writing, Activision’s stock sits at $46.84.
Activision’s investors are naturally ticked-off that they lost 10% of their stock value in a single day. This has caused the law firm Poomerants LLC to launch a class action suit on behalf of Activision investors to determine of company execs committed securities fraud.
“Following [Bungie's] announcement, Activision's stock price fell sharply during intraday trading on January 11, 2019,” the law firm’s press release reads. “The investigation concerns whether Activision and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.”
Poomerants seems to be in the fact-finding stages as no suit has been filed. But there are certainly enough angry investors that all it takes would be one whistle-blower at Activision to single out some insider trading and blow this case wide open.
In the meantime, here’s hoping Bungie can get Destiny back on track after its terrible time under Activision. That franchise is one of the good ones.