Video games revenues may surpass that of movies and other traditional forms of entertainment, but that hasn’t stopped the industries from partnering together, as seen with announcement like the upcoming Warcraft movie. So, it probably shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise when Activision Blizzard announced its own TV and movie studio last November, making turning the video game publisher into an all-around multimedia entertainment company.
Activision Blizzard Studios named Stacey Sher as its Co-President today, who has produced films such as The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, Erin Brokovich and more. She will be working alongside former Disney executive Nick van Dyk to bring Activision Blizzard’s library of popular franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, StarCraft and others to television and movies. While opening a movie studio, hot on the heels of acquiring mobile game company King Digital for $5.9 billion, and starting an independently owned eSports league (which led to a buyout of MLG) is very impressive and certainly spectacular, it’s not the first time a publisher has decided to diversify beyond games.
Capcom, famous for its Street Fighter and Resident Evil series, once had a Resident Evil themed restaurant in Japan called the Biohazard Cafe and Grill STARS, and before that, operated a themed bar. The company, which can’t seem to give up its love of Capcom themed food and drink, opened up another themed cafe in November, based on the Monster Hunter series.
However, Capcom’s forays into themed restaurants pale in comparison to how Konami has diversified. Whether or not Konami is still in the video game business is still up for some debate, considering how it canceled the highly anticipated Silent Hills, which was being developed in partnership with director Guillermo del Toro and promised to star The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus. This is in addition to ousting former vice president Hideo Kojima from the company.
Although Konami has no games announced for 2016, last year’s release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a huge success. Even without video games, Konami gains revenue from other sources, particularly in manufacturing. Konami Gaming Inc. makes cabinets for casinos, while its health & fitness branch operates a number health clubs that use machines designed and built by the company.
In the meantime, Hideo Kojima has started his own independent game studio, with the stated goal of producing more than video games in the future. Eventually, the Metal Gear creator hopes to branch into movie making and animated video. His company will follow a route that’s similar to Activision’s by first establishing video game IPs before branching out to other media.
Then there’s Nintendo. In 2014, the late Satoru Iwata announced plans for a non-gaming, non-wearble, Quality of Life (QoL) product that would track a user’s fitness and health. Since Nintendo was originally a playing card company before it started making video games and consoles, it shouldn’t have to resist the need to change and diversify into other industries. Partnering with the US company ResMed, the QoL initiative promised to further expand the trend started by the Wii, which used motion sensing technology and products like the Wii Fit to get gamers up and moving. However, it looks like QoL may have been canceled with Iwata’s passing, since the proposed product was said to launch in March 2016, but there has been no mention of it since it was originally announced.
Instead, Nintendo may be looking to branch out in a completely different direction. Last year, Nintendo announced that it was developing its first mobile game, Miitomo, which is expected to launch in March. The game will feature a strong communication and personal information sharing aspect, which gives it the potential to be a new kind of social network platform. Additionally, Nintendo will launch a service called Nintendo Account, which will connect Nintendo hardware and mobile devices together, allowing friends to communicate with each other cross platform. There are also speculation that Nintendo Account will offer members special discounts or benefits at theme parks, movie theaters and stores.
Under the lead of new president, Tatsumi Kimishima, the company could go in any direction, including one where it grows beyond producing video games.