John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Guitar Hero: World Store

With analysts predicting Activision Blizzard (ATVID) will generate $1.38 billion in profits during its first financial year, Bobby Kotick, CEO of the new company, can perhaps be forgiven his grandiose proclamations. After all, there’s little doubt that the pure-play online and console game publisher will be the world’s most profitable. That said, it’s hard to believe that Activision Blizzard can launch a “successful competitor” to Apple’s iTunes music service through its Guitar Hero franchise, as Kotick claims. “When you think about the potential for what we will be able to do together, there have not been many viable alternatives to iTunes,” Kotick said, adding that it would be relatively easy to leverage the company’s new relationship with Universal Music Group (V) to develop an online music store tethered to Guitar Hero. “If you’re downloading a song to play on your Guitar Hero, there’s no reason why you can’t download the performance also,” he explained. “When you look at Universal Music Group as having such a big slate of artists and a large catalog and such a well-balanced presence over all the major territories in the world, there are plenty of opportunities.”

Opportunities, yes. Like debuting Metallica’s next album, “Death Magnetic” as a “Guitar Hero III” download. But opportunities large enough to unseat an entrenched rival like iTunes? A rival that has sold more than 4 billion songs and accounts for approximately 70 percent of digital music sold worldwide? A rival that in the next five years, may well account for a staggering 28 percent of all music sold worldwide?

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald