The lights are on
We’re genuinely excited for DJ Hero. While there are concerns around the office about the property’s commercial viability thanks to the pricy peripheral, there is no ignoring the influx of talent attached to the title. But our enthusiasm for the project can’t blind us entirely from Activision’s questionable business practices during development, especially as pertains to purchase of developer 7 Studios. Need a refresher? DJ titles are the new hotness, with several currently on the docket. Activision’s DJ Hero is joined by Scratch: The Ultimate DJ, Armin Van Burren: In the Mix and Deep Silver’s recently released DJ Star. With Activision’s pedigree in the music game genre, one would expect them to be positioned at the head of the pack by default. However, unwilling to risk being bested, Activision purchased the development studio behind Ultimate DJ earlier this year in what many saw as a fairly transparent attempt to cut out the competition. Needless to say, some legal battles ensued. Genius Products and Numark Industries, the publisher and peripheral designer for Ultimate DJ respectively, quickly filed a lawsuit against Activision and developer 7 Studios. The pair claimed that Activision made the move in order to gain access to their competitor’s technology and/or delay the release of Ultimate DJ. They demanded that their intellectual property be returned to them at once and were outspoken about alleged past clashes with Activision when they were in legitimate talks about selling the IP.The Los Angeles Superior Court sided with Activision initially, then reversed its decision, leading to a string of counter-suits and legal speak ripe with defamation from both parties. In the end, all the source code from Ultimate DJ was returned to Genius Products, who found a new developer in Bedlam Games/Commotion Interactive.Founded in 1999, 7 Studios once heralded its independent status, being the only independent video game developer selected for Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in the United States. The studio focused heavily on games based on movie properties, having developed Shrek the Third, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Napoleon Dynamite: The Game. Struggling financially at the time of the acquisition, Activision maintains that the purchase was for the best of all involved. So what has 7 Studios been up to since the merger? Now untangled from the DJ web, we’re not sure what has been occupying the studio’s time, aside from the early 2009 release of Space Champ for the Wii and Nintendo DS. But news broke this morning that shed some light on the situation. According to Kotaku, Activision is laying off 30 individuals from 7 Studios as a way to realign its business focus to the music game genre. 7 Studio’s website lists their official headcount at 125, but the number may be dated as the page also boasts about their status as an independent developer. Officially, Activision scooped up 7 Studios to “bolster its development capabilities” and play the role of the white knight in a time of financial toil. Unofficially, it looks like Activision pulled the rug out from under a competitor to further serve itself, resulting in layoffs of those caught in the crossfire. To be fair, job loss may have come without interference from Activision due to the aforementioned financial struggles on 7 Studios’ part. Still, we personally would have rather seen DJ Hero rely on its own merits as a vehicle to success. But in the cutthroat business world, bigwigs aren’t always comfortable leaving performance to chance. Scratch: The Ultimate DJ is slated to release in early 2010. DJ Hero hits retail shelves at the end of this month.
I am pretty sure most people haven't even heard of any of those DJ Game's except for DJ Hero
Ugh. Activision represents everything wrong with the video game industry.
Kotick can suck it.
scratch looks like crap. activision did them a service. the numark peripheral and gameplay just didnt look fun at all. i would rather a game be fun than realistic.
Activision seems to be going on the same road EA went when it was at its greediest. Back when it worked its employees to the ground, buying up as much competition, and releasing poor new IPs. Hopefully Activision will change and become better than that.
Like most people who've commented, I have only heard of DJ Hero and Ultimate DJ. I have a feeling DJ Hero will do extremely well.
Gamers need to be aware of this and I'm glad this article was posted. It's sad how many people commented on articles such as U2 wanting their own music game and Capcom asking for feedback. I just hope more people read this than seems apparent by lack of comments.
Activision is quickly becoming the new Microsoft, which was the new EA, but with the momentum to be much, much worse. First the ridiculous exploitation of the rhythm game fad, then the corrupt comments from their CEO, and this . . . I don't know about anyone else but I've got a new axe to grind. Activision, soon enough it will be time for your humble sandwich and I'll be glad to personally shove it down your throat, Kotick.
Sucky activision sucks.
That's so sad. Good company as far as I know. What r those ppl supposed to do who invested time and money in that company?
I dislike Activision more and more! It just seems like all activision cares about is pumping out game after game of a successful IP, like Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, Call Of Duty, (soon to be) DJ Hero, etc.
WHEN ARE YOU GONNA STOP TRYING TO STEAL EVERYONE ELSES MONEY!?!?