November 28th 2002

A letter to Activision - Update

You know how sometimes you have a great idea that's got you real excited, and then you decide to take certain steps to help make this great idea happen, and later you realize that it was a total waste of time? Well, my letter to Activision - presented in the previous diary entry - turned out to be just that, in more ways than one.

Ironically, it all happened on the same day: First, I discovered that Activision had just released a new compilation of all their Atari 2600 games on the PS2 (you can see IGN's review of it by clicking here). I figure that after releasing this PS2 compilation, Activision might not be so enclined to release their Atari 2600 games on e-Cards. A pitty that would be...

But then, after I got home from work later that same day, I found a large white envelope in my mailbox. It was from Activision, and it contained the original letter I sent them (yellow envelope included), together with this letter:

November 19, 2002

Dear Mr. Miron:

Activision does not accept outside submissions. I am returning your letter and attachments in its entirety.

Georgia Nadir
Executive Assistant

Whoa, can you feel the chill??? I don't think I've ever received a letter as cold as this one in my entire life! No significant comments, no mention of the PS2 compilation, no product publicity of any kind, nothing. I used to think that getting a form letter was better than nothing, but Activision sure proved me wrong!

I'd bet M. Kotick never even saw the letter... Hey Georgia, did you actually read the letter yourself? If so, can't you see the difference between a "submission" and a "simple consumer suggestion"? And why did you spend good money on that big white envelope anyway? Was my letter so valueless that it wasn't even worthy of being thrown into your little trash can? Did you think there was some Anthrax powder in that yellow envelope or something???

Okay, I feel better now. ;-) At least this will serve as a warning to anyone else who might be tempted to contact Activision. Here's their consumer relations motto: "Bureaucracy is what puts the 'vision' in Activision". I know they must get a lot of mail (and e-mail) from gamers every day, but still, how frustrating...

But at least there is still a glimpse of hope: I did not receive any reply from Brian Kelly, to whom I sent a copy of the letter. Maybe that letter actually reached M. Kelly's eyes, and he saw some value in it and decided to keep it in his records, at least for a while. I know it's a big "maybe", but there's no harm in keeping my hopes up. After all, I'm sure the decision-makers at Activision have already considered porting their classic Atari 2600 games on e-Cards, and they might even already be discussing the technicalities of it with Nintendo. The point of my letter was only to tell them that there are gamers out there who would like to see it happen.

But then there's the matter of the PS2 compilation. After releasing over fourty perfectly emulated Atari 2600 games on a single PS2 disk, with all sorts of extra goodies included, is there really a point to releasing these same games on e-Cards? I think it could work out pretty well, if they just improved the graphics. The sales pitch would then go something like this: "If you want to experience the original games on a TV screen, get the PS2 compilation. If you want to play these games on your GBA with improved graphics, get yourself an e-Reader and buy our e-Cards."

I honestly still believe classic Activision games on e-Cards would sell quite well. After all, if Activision can release a Spider-Man game on multiple gaming platforms, I don't see why they can't release their old classic games on the GBA as well as the PS2...

Also, the PS2 compilation has some Atari 2600 games made by Imagic, a company well known for the quality of their games. There were plans to add other games made by that company, which were supposed to be downloadable via the PS2 online connection, but they abandoned the idea to cut costs. Perhaps these Imagic games (as well as other games from other long-gone publishers) could be ported to e-Cards as well...

So hey, it might still happen, so I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed. :-)