Acclaim, Activision and THQ Under SEC Scrutiny

For those of you who don't know, the SEC is a Wall Street watchdog that investigates compaines on the stock market who may be breaking the law. In this case they have requested information from Acclaim, Activision and THQ as part of what looks to be an industry-wide investigation. This doesn't mean the companies have done anything wrong just yet but major publishers and distributors getting in this kind of trouble wouldn't be a good thing. Here's a bit more from Gamespot:

The filing said that the investigation "appears to be focused on certain accounting practices common to the interactive entertainment industry, with specific emphasis on revenue recognition."

Let's hope everyone has their books in order, an industry-wide shakedown wouldn't exactly be healthy. 

Comments

What wouldn't be healthy about it? The second a major publisher gets nailed on this it will not only keep the rest in line, but it would allow new blood to enter the industry. If the old publishers went out of business, someone new would take thier place almost instantly. Change is good, especially when the market is getting as stagnant as it is, the same publishers having been around forever. If there is no wrongdoing then nobody gets hurt, but if they're cooking the books, how much money is kept out of developers hands that way? Or how much of that money could be used to lower the price of the average game?

Very idealistic Pyro but I don't think that's the way things are going. Even if wrong doing is found it's not going to close anyone's doors but it is going to affect how many products that can churn out if they're stuck paying fines and re-organizing. If a publisher like Activision or Acclaim went down I don't think you would see new publishers, instead you would just see EA and Microsoft buy up their IP's and developers.

I would like to see some investigation into collusion with retails to refuse returns on defective products and defraud the public interest in general :).

I didn't think about penalties. However, why would Microsoft or EA buying up the properties be a bad thing? Usually, I really don't like either company, but if they don't cook the books and Acclaim was, why is it a bad thing that they get the properties? Microsoft in particular has been a great game publisher. It's my original point, why let corrupt companies exist simply because they currently produce a product. Anyone else can produce it, EA, Microsoft or a new publisher. Also, they might actually start managing thier money better. Either they do, or someone else will do it for them. Why would keeping these guys around be a good thing?

What wouldn't be healthy about it? The second a major publisher gets nailed on this it will not only keep the rest in line, but it would allow new blood to enter the industry. If the old publishers went out of business, someone new would take thier place almost instantly. Change is good, especially when the market is getting as stagnant as it is, the same publishers having been around forever.

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However, why would Microsoft or EA buying up the properties be a bad thing?

I dare say you answered your own question there, assuming when you say "stagnant market" you mean games and not business practices. Why would MS and EA owning all of the worthwhile properties and publishing 80% of the games released be a bad thing? How could it possibly be a good thing?

Well really, I meant business practices and games, I feel like the two are related. You have a good point, I should probably rephrase it. How is Microsoft and EA buying up 80% of the properties worse than Acclaim, THQ and Activision mishandling them? If MS and EA do a good job with them. I am not sure about EA, but MS seems to do a pretty damn good job with thier properties. And even EA handling them poorly would be better than not having them at all due to mishandling of funds.

While there are some properties I would like a sequel to, in reality there are only so many Army Men/Tomb Raider/HoMM games the market can bear anyway. Most of the really good properties, War/StarCraft, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Half Life, Max Payne and Fallout are independently owned. The notable exceptions I can think of are Deus Ex, Thief and System Shock. What properties do Activison, THQ and Acclaim have that are worth a damn? And this is talking about old properties, any new properties can come out of nowhere, with new publishers even.

I just think a major shakeup would do the industry alot of good, and help get it out of the rut it's found itself in.

I just think a major shakeup would do the industry alot of good, and help get it out of the rut it's found itself in.

I agree to a point, it's awful tempting to sit on the porch and pine for the good old days sometimes

Honestly I don't feel that the industry is in a rut right now but that could be the after-glow of finishing KOTOR talking.

Honestly I don't feel that the industry is in a rut right now but that could be the after-glow of finishing KOTOR talking.

I agree, really KOTOR makes me think this is the Doom era of gaming, I love it so much. However, how many good games have you played lately that are sequels? How many original good games have you played lately that aren't from Japan?

And somewhere, Viacom is cackling their Trek-killing asses off.