“They turned down the option to buy…”: GameStop Co-Founder and Former Board Member Gary Kusin Admits That Electronic Arts Missed Out Buying an Activision Blizzard IP That Millions Play Everyday Now (EXCLUSIVE)

There are always wasted opportunities.

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SUMMARY

  • Activision Blizzard almost sold World of Warcraft to EA, but later the company rejected the offer.
  • Gary Kusin, the co-founder of GameStop, confirmed this in a recent interview with FandomWire.
  • Kusin even stated that Blizzard was asking for a complete game buyout.
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After Blockbuster could have bought Netflix, there were always examples of how big companies had opportunities to make very profitable acquisitions that later backfired. In a recent interview with FandomWire, Gary Kusin, the former president of GameStop, discussed how Activision Blizzard had previously offered EA the acquisition of World of Warcraft. 

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Kusin even shared the number that the creators of Diablo were asking for this entire IP, which generates millions of dollars per month. This kind of opportunity is very rare in the industry.

EA Almost Bought World of Warcraft, According to Gary Kusin, the Co-founder of Gamestop

World of Warcraft was almost acquired by EA, according to Gary Kusin, former GameStop president.
World of Warcraft was almost acquired by EA, according to Gary Kusin, former GameStop president.

With companies like Xbox acquiring multiple studios at once, such as Bethesda or, more recently, Activision Blizzard, it is a very common practice for big corporations to offer relatively successful studios the possibility of acquisition. This kind of business move does not always end up being positive for the industry. Microsoft recently shut down four studios after acquiring them less than three years earlier.

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Gary Kusin, former president of GameStop and co-founder of the retailer giant, talked about the current state of the industry in a recent interview with FandomWire. He mentioned how EA had an opportunity to buy World of Warcraft, Kusin said, “Electronic Arts was fully aware of where technology was taking the genre. It was a superb company; their crystal ball was far better than anyone else’s. However, even they miss out sometimes economically.”

Activision Blizzard Asked for a Fair Price for the Acquisition of the IP

Activision Blizzard was asking Electronic Arts $700 million for the IP.
Activision Blizzard was asking Electronic Arts $700 million for the IP.

At the time, World of Warcraft was not that successful, but the franchise already had potential after many great titles. Electronic Arts turned down the offer because the price was too high. Kusin said, “The asking price for WoW at that time was $700 million, which EA felt was too expensive; obviously with the benefit of hindsight that was a steal.” This was a wasted opportunity after seeing that the game makes millions of dollars per month with a subscription.

Kusin reflected on this statement, asserting that Activision made a strategic move by fully acquiring Blizzard, a studio known for producing high-quality games. He closed that question, saying:

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We felt that was an outrageous price however, and a big part of that failure is on us as a board for not being able to evaluate the sheer amount of revenue of $100M per month that the purchase would have led to. Then Activision stepped in and made the purchase, and the rest is history.

The entire video game industry relies on acquisitions, which can be successful in certain cases, but in other titles, they may not resonate with the company’s most dedicated fans. This happened with several giant IPs that, according to fans, have not had the same quality as before. Many smaller studios even rejected this kind of offer to maintain their independence and make their own decisions regarding games.

What are your thoughts about this wasted opportunity? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by Lucas Lapetina

Articles Published: 497

I'm a big fan of movies and videogames in general. I really love Pokémon and Godzilla. One of my favorite games is The Last of Us, Part II. A compelling and well-written story is always welcome.