Activision will make Sierra its "indie" label
Activision announced the resurrection of the storied Sierra label last week, bringing it back into action with a new Geometry Wars and a reboot of the old King's Quest series. It was an unexpected move, given the publisher's historic focus on the bottom line and the tiny impact on it that old Sierra adventures are likely to have, but not entirely unpredictable in hindsight. After all, there's gold in them there indie hills.
The very definition of "indie" is hazy, especially these days, but whatever it is, Activision wants a piece of it. "The indie movement is happening," MacLean Marshall of Activision/Sierra told MCV. "And for Activision not to be involved in that... it has the big brands, sure, but I think it would be a miss if we didn’t look at the indie movement as well. For us, it is about finding the right devs with the right ideas—whether that is bringing back an old Sierra IP or something entirely new."
There is money to be made, as evidenced by the success of niche publishers—Devolver Digital leaps immediately to mind—and games like Valiant Hearts: The Great War, which practically screams "indie" despite being a Ubisoft release. But what finally convinced Activision to take the plunge, according to Senior Director of External Development Bob Loya, was the advent of digital distribution.
"With digitally distributed games becoming bigger every year, we were able to make a compelling business argument that we could be financially successful doing this, while working with really cool indie talent on great IP," he said.
Bobby Kotick as the next Fork Parker? Probably not, but given the reach and resources of its parent, Sierra could end up making a very big splash in the indie game game.