Has Activision lost the James Bond License?

With Skyfall being one of the most successful James Bond movies ever released and making millions at the box office, you’d think that Activision would want to hold onto the license for as long as possible. But interestingly, it seems like this might not be the case.

It’s already been a distinct possibility for a while with 007 Legends being delayed in various regions and Eurocom’s closure, but now it seems more likely than ever with the last three Bond games all being removed from various video game shop/download services in the same way as Donkey Kong Country and Sim City were from the Wii Virtual Console.  Yep, neither Quantum of Solace, Blood Stone or 007 Legends are now available on Steam or Activision’s web store.  They are still on Microsoft’s Windows store at full price, but that could easily be a temporary measure (maybe Activision just forgot it so far).

James Bond Games

Above: Three Bond tie ins, all removed from sale.

But why would all this take place right after the release of the most successful Bond movie in years?  Well to be honest, I suspect a few reasons:

1. Perhaps the last few games just did badly enough in reviews and general reception that the license owners didn’t particularly like the idea of Activision handling any more of them.  That wouldn’t be too surprising when you consider the review score averages of all three titles at Game Rankings and Meta Critic:

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None of the games bar the GoldenEye remake were great, and most generally didn’t score about 70%.  It’s possible someone out there didn’t particularly like this trend.  Wouldn’t be surprising, I recall reading about how some movie/TV show companies were annoyed at the low ratings their adaptations got and tried to push the game developers involved to make sure they’d meet a minimum quality requirement or something similar.

2. Another possibility is that of sales. Did these games sell well?  Not sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the quality of certain titles didn’t help their sales either.  Perhaps the games just didn’t sell well enough to continue with the license.

3. Or maybe Eurocom has something to do with this.  After all, they were one of Activision’s go to studios for Bond tie in games, maybe their closure meant no one was left to make any new titles.  And perhaps Treyarch and the like had enough work with the inevitable biyearly Call of Duty installment they have to make.

It could also all be a bit of a mistake or some random decision meant to just withdraw the likes of 007 Legends from sale, but either way, something interesting is going on with Activision’s ownership of the James Bond license that could spell a big change in how the franchise is handled in future.

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