March 6, 2007 - Activision and Demonware announced today that Activision would be wholly acquiring the Ireland-based company. Demonware is a developer of online middleware solutions for multiple platforms. We got a chance to talk to Activision CTO, Steve Pearce and Demonware CEO Dylan Collins about the deal.
IGN: Can you briefly introduce yourselves?
Steve Pearce: Hi, I'm Steve Pearce. I am the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Activision.
Dylan Collins: And the lad with the Irish accent here in the background is Dylan Collins. I'm the Demonware CEO.
IGN: Will Demonware's middleware be wholly proprietary? Or will Activision license technology to other companies?
Steve Pearce: In the short term, Activision will honor all contractual obligations that Demonware has with existing customers. In the long term, it would be hard to imagine that we would be supporting technology for competitors' products. We view this as a distinct competitive advantage for the company, and we're looking to leverage Demonware's highly talented engineers exclusively on our products in the long run.
IGN: Does this mean that Activision will be expanding its online plans for upcoming games?
Steve Pearce: Absolutely. You know, we've worked very closely with Demonware for a number of years now. We have a shared vision of some exciting developments we are planning for the coming years. The marriage of Demonware's talented engineers and our game designers is already bearing fruit.
Dylan Collins: We've sort of been kicking around ideas for quite a while now just when we were working for Activision on their various card titles, and we think we've got the opportunity now to really kick off some pretty interesting stuff moving forward.
IGN: With that in mind, are there any upcoming games that you can tell us about that will make use of Demonware's technology?
Steve Pearce: I think we can safely say that Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which has been announced, will be using Demonware technology, and we are busy integrating (and have been for some time) into a number of our other franchises. It's no surprise, I imagine, that Call of Duty will be using Demonware technology. I think I'm going to have to stop there.
IGN: Are you sure? Nothing else you can tell us about?
Steve Pearce: I mean look, this is a technology that we think gives us a distinct competitive advantage, so it would be hard to imagine us not integrating it into all of our major franchises like Tony Hawk, James Bond, and so on.
IGN: Will this acquisition enable the implementation of online functionality in future Wii games published by Activision?
Steve Pearce: We tend to provide online functionality for all console platforms.
Dylan Collins: If you look at our track record, we've always been pretty much the first network guys on any platform coming out.
IGN: So you do have plans to develop online-enabled Wii games in the future?
Steve Pearce: Yup.
Dylan Collins: Yeah, I would say we do.
IGN: Can you briefly tell us some past notable games that have utilized Demonware's middleware solutions, other than Call of Duty 3?
Dylan Collins: Last Christmas, we were in a huge number of big titles, so you would've seen us in Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Rainbow Six Vegas, Smackdown Vs. Raw. Prior to that we were in games like Saints Row, Outrun 2006, and I believe we are also in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. So, we've worked with a hell of a lot of multiplayer games. It's about bringing that kind of experience and technology to Activision. It's going to be pretty cool.
IGN: And lastly, how might this impact Activision's game development philosophy going into the future?
Steve Pearce: It has always been our intention to deliver the most compelling game experiences. I think it's safe to say that we view online as one of the battlegrounds of the future, and one of the rapidly expanding gameplay areas. I think it will be highly positive, and allow us to deliver some highly compelling gameplay experiences within our franchises, a lot of which are ideally suited to, you know, online play.
Dylan Collins: Actually, I might just have one thing, and a slight contradiction actually: I'd say online is the battleground right now, and I think this deal and what Activision has done plays testament to that. Online is here, and people are getting serious about it.
IGN: Do you see the audience for online games growing even more into the coming years?
Dylan Collins: Hell yeah. It's absolutely escalating. It's only going to be more important, so there's a lot of money to be made out there.
IGN: That's all our questions. Thanks for talking with us. Is there anything you want to add at this point?
Dylan Collins: I don't think so. It is a hell of a partnership, though. We will have some really interesting stuff moving forward.