Last night R & B superstar Usher shouted to the thousands packing the Staples Center: "Activision really knows how to do it big."
You'd never guess from game developers' E3 presentations that game software sales dropped 7 percent year-to-date through April.
This is game companies once-a-year opportunity to roll out their schedule and get fans excited, appealing directly to the bloggers and fan sites that chronicle every upcoming game.
This year Activision Blizzard, the world's largest game maker, went bigger than ever before. CEO Bobby Kotick told me yesterdayhe wanted to make the point that Activision isn't just another game company — it provides entertainment experiences. It certainly did last night: renting out the Staples arena for a star-studded extravaganza, replete with laser lights, backup dancers, gigantic video screens and all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a multi-million dollar concert tour.
Unveiling its new DJ Hero 2, star DJs z-trip and DeadMau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") brought up the base so it reverberated the stadium far more than the earthquake that shook Southern California yesterday. Tony Hawk even showed up on his skateboard to promote his new game. Activision's stock is underperforming the market—down over 10 percent over the past 12 months while the Dow is up about twice that much. But the company must expect the millions of dollars it spent on last night's spectacle to pay off with positive publicity and game sales.