BlizzCon 2015 The Future of StarCraft II Panel Transcript

Tim: Hello BlizzCon! Who is excited about Nova Covert Ops, Did you guys catch that announcement? Yeah? Excellent. Well, we are here today to tell you guys about the Future of StarCraft II. My name is Tim Morton. I’m the lead producer on StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, and I’m going to introduce you guys to my fellow panelists up here.

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StarCraft, Diablo, Warcraft TV animated Series Closer to Reality than Ever

While BlizzCon stole the thunder and attention of everyone, something was lost in the background.

Hard to phrase. Awesome, exciting, thrilling, breath-taking, jaw-dropping, and a plethora of other heart-attack leading emotional words. Did anyone take the plates of that bull-smashing truck? THAT BIG an announcement!

Activision Blizzard has announced the launch of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division — fully focused on producing original Film and TV content.

Nick van Dyk is the co-president of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Disney and played a key role in the Pixar/Marvel/Lucasfilm acquisition years ago.

The important part of this news is the potential for StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo TV animated series. Unthinkable!? Far-fetched!? How about you read very slowly the press release? The first production to be tackled by Activision Blizzard Studios is Skylanders Academy (an animated TV series) already in production.

Flashbacks bring me to words spoken by Duncan Jones, Chris Metzen and Rob Pardo during the BlizzCon 2013 Warcraft Movie Panel that totally make you [right now] thrill as if planets have aligned at the right time.

BlizzCon 2013 Flashback

Do you plan to make the film into a trilogy?

Duncan: Into a trilogy? I think for us right now it is absolutely about getting this first film right and making sure that we tell the story that we want to tell; but let’s be honest, if we are going to do this right and it works out, I think we would all be excited and enthusiastic about continuing the story.

Activision Blizzard Studios to Create Original Film and TV Content

I was wondering why you decided to make a movie instead of possibly a TV Series — and you have such a big story that is beautiful that you could put into a TV Series.

Metzen: I would say — unofficially — it is nothing official at all. I’m just riffing here — like “I want one of those too.”

Pardo: If Duncan does the job I know he is going to do, then maybe more studios will be knocking our doors to do TV shows.

Duncan: It goes back to that point where the number of stories that you guys have available to work with. We get this right, and we are going to do everything to make sure it turns out well that you can go anywhere with this. You can start going anywhere.

The launch of this new Activision Blizzard Studios division clearly makes production of Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft TV Animated Series and Film content a thought closer to reality than ever. Smaller productions similar to Netflix Daredevil (13-episodes) are also possible under the new division.

Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.” said Van Dyk.

activision-blizzard-logoActivision Blizzard Launches Activision Blizzard Studios to Create Original Film and TV Content Based on Iconic, Globally-Recognized Franchises

Initial Productions to Include Skylanders™ TV Series and Call of Duty™ Film Series Disney Veteran Nick van Dyk Named Studio Co-President

SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , a new film and television studio devoted to creating original content based on the company’s extensive library of iconic and globally-recognized intellectual properties. Activision Blizzard’s owned content includes some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty®, Skylanders®, Diablo ®, Hearthstone® and StarCraft®. Former Disney executive Nick van Dyk has been tapped to co-head the division, along with a senior creative executive who will be announced soon.

Activision Blizzard Studios’ first production will be “Skylanders™ Academy,” an animated TV series based on the award-winning Skylanders® game. Currently in production under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers (“Futurama”), “Skylanders™ Academy” will feature the voices of Justin Long (“Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Ask Me Anything”) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (“Phineas and Ferb,” “High School Musical”) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) as Eruptor and Norm Macdonald (“Saturday Night Live”) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz . The award-winning, $3 billion Skylanders® franchise has sold through more than 250 million toys since pioneering the toys-to-life category in 2011i.

Another near-term initiative for Activision Blizzard Studios will be the development of a robust cinematic universe based on the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare remains the number one-selling title on next-generation consolesii and today marks the launch of the highly-anticipated new Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. Activision Blizzard Studios envisions a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations.

“Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we’re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well. I’m excited that Nick and his team will be leading this important new growth opportunity for Activision Blizzard.”

Kotick added, “We intend to approach film and television development with the same unwavering commitment to excellence we are known for in game development.”

Nick van Dyk , formerly a long-time Walt Disney Company senior executive, will serve as Activision Blizzard Studios’ Co-President, alongside a top creative executive who will be announced soon. Van Dyk will have responsibility for distribution, physical production, strategy, finance and operations and will co-manage all aspects of the studio. Before joining Activision Blizzard last year, van Dyk spent nine years at Disney where, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, he helped drive Disney’s focus on franchise intellectual property and played a significant role in the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm . Prior to that, van Dyk was part of Artisan Entertainment’s senior management team.

“Activision Blizzard Studios has the unique advantage of starting with a library of world-class intellectual property that includes some of the largest franchises which have not yet been developed in film and television,” said van Dyk. “Our library spans more than 30 years of global entertainment culture and, in the last 12 months alone, fans of Activision Blizzard properties have played and watched our games online for more than 13 billion hours. This gives us a huge, passionate and deeply-engaged audience that is hungry for more great content built from the universes they already know and love—and which are extremely broad in their appeal.”

Van Dyk added, “Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.”

Activision Blizzard Studios is another important step in the company’s strategy of expanding the platforms through which it offers its compelling intellectual property to existing fans and new audiences around the world.

The founding of Activision Blizzard Studios follows the company’s announcement on Oct. 22 of a new esports division headed by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Major League Gaming co-founder and president Mike Sepso. The esports division will build on the company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Activision Blizzard’s other divisions are Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment . On Nov. 2 , the company announced its plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the creators of the Candy Crush®, Farm Heroes®, Pet Rescue® and Bubble Witch® franchises, which will make it a new global leader in mobile gaming.

 

Activision Blizzard Launches New Division Devoted to eSports

Activision Blizzard has decided to open a new eSports division appointing former ESPN & NFL CEO Steve Bornstein as its Chairman, as well as MLG co-founder/president Mike Sepso as Senior VP.

This strategic move coincides with a recent annoncement that Activision Blizzard plans to host an Investor’s Day straight from the BlizzCon showfloor on November 6th.

activision-blizzard-logoSANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced a new division that will build on the Company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein will serve as the division’s Chairman and Mike Sepso, who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.

“Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and commitment is the essence of our esports initiatives,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the development of esports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our deep history and experience in esports, and now two additional industry leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard.”

Kotick added, “There are no better leaders for this new initiative than Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike’s entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘esports’ a household word and he is uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level.”

“Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours,” said Steve Bornstein , Chairman of the new division and former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network. “I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports.”

“As a member of the esports community for over 12 years, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of the sport. I am confident that the company’s industry-leading content will capture the many opportunities we have to entertain and celebrate our players,” said Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President for Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want, and I’m excited to help support this community in a way that honors its history.”

Activision Blizzard has a rich history in esports:

  • Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® was the early pioneer in large-scale mainstream, televised esports, since the 1990s.

  • Blizzard Entertainment has many of the world’s biggest and most beloved esports competitions. This year’s BlizzCon® event will take place November 6-7 in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the global finals for StarCraft® II, World of Warcraft®, Heroes of the Storm™ and Hearthstone®. Players have been competing for more than $4 million in prizes across Road to BlizzCon tournaments.

  • Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment launched Heroes of the Dorm™, the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2. More than 6,000 collegiate players, representing 460-plus schools, competed in the tournament with the winning team from UC Berkeley securing the grand prize of fully-paid tuition for each of its members.

  • Activision Publishing hosts the annual Call of Duty Championship. Call of Duty® is the top console esports franchise in the world.

  • On September 24, 2015 , Activision Publishing announced the creation of the Call of Duty® World League , which provides a $3 million prize pool to professional and amateur players.

  • Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on Twitch.