LOS ANGELES â Activision Blizzard, a gaming company that this week disclosed plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment for $ 5.9 billion, said it already has a next step in mind: The creation of an internal film and television studio.
On Friday, Activision Blizzard said a newly formed studios unit would develop and produce movies and TV shows based on about 1,000 titles in its company library. Those include the Call of Duty and Skylanders games, as well as Candy Crush, which is among the titles acquired with King.
The new unit will be led by Nick van Dyk, who was previously a senior vice president of corporate strategy for the Walt Disney Company, Activision Blizzard said. The first production planned from the studio will be an animated âSkylanders Academyâ television series, while a first film is likely to be based on Call of Duty.
âEverything we do is in the service of our players,â Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzardâs chief executive, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Kotick said the new studio would let Activision Blizzard trade on the storytelling potential of its games, while tapping a field of users that he put at about 500 million, including the King Digital players.
Speaking jointly, Mr. Kotick and Mr. van Dyk said there was no firm limit to what the company might invest in any particular film or television property. The new shows or films, they said, might be distributed in theaters by existing movie studios, shown on television by conventional networks, or sold directly to Activision Blizzard customers, who already get access to games through digital connections.
âWarcraft,â a film based on a Blizzard game, has been working through Hollywoodâs development mill for years and is set for release by Universal Pictures in association with Legendary Entertainment and others next June.
Mr. Kotick said Legendary had been a âgood partnerâ in making âWarcraft.â But, he said, the new studio would give Activision Blizzard far more creative control over future movies and shows based on its properties.
Mr. van Dyk said the studio would be less interested in volume than in serving the companyâs fan base with a small number of films and shows that match their expectations.
âThe hours of engagement are orders of magnitude greater than you might see in film and television,â Mr. Kotick added.