16-01-2014

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Internship Report: Activision Blizzard Benelux

Abstract: 

I did my internship at video game publisher Activision Blizzard Benelux, based in Schiphol-Rijk. Being the worlds largest independent game publisher this provided me with 6 months of hard work, which paid off in various ways, learning to develop business and marketing skills personally as well as professionally. My research focused on the trade marketing positioning of new title Call of Duty: Ghosts, based on an analysis of Call of Duty’s fan culture.

As an avid video game enthusiast, and having written almost exclusively about video game (studies) during the NMDC-programme, I had already decided that I wanted to do my internship in the video game industry. Did I expect to end up at world’s largest video game publisher, Activision Blizzard? Definitely not and it has been quite an experience.
 
After multiple rounds of applying for the internship, I was told to be lucky to join the company at its busiest time of year: Q3 and Q4. This is the period that the large titles are released according to Activision Blizzard’s tight schedule, and I witnessed and worked on the launch of notably Diablo III Console, Skylanders: SWAP Force, and Call of Duty: Ghosts. This offered me a perfect opportunity to be a part of the company in its most educative period for me, while also reaping the benefits that came with the job.
 
I worked in the trade marketing-team, focusing on the trade marketing (collaboration with retail partners) positioning and execution of the aforementioned titles. In this team I worked together with all parts of the marketing and sales department: account-, brand-, and sales managers. In an hectic, informal work environment it took me a few weeks to get used to all the different procedures, strategies, and politics. At Activision Blizzard, each day can be completely different from the next. While there are of course long term plans and deadlines to be aware of, the fast-changing nature of the video game industry means that you might have to drop everything that you were doing, and start working on a high priority task that will provide useful information for the team and their decision-making.
 
At the company I noticed that I was always treated as a full member of the team. This made it possible to fully profile and develop myself within the organization, for which I’m very thankful to my manager and colleagues. They always stimulated me to keep challenging myself, and gave me a lot of responsibility, so I could make the most out of the 6 months that I was there! This was rewarded with useful insights and experiences, such as developing my marketing and analytic (Excel!) skills on a whole different level, working in such a high-intensity work environment, coping with stress, and of course other perks like business trips to video game conferences as Gamescom in Cologne and First Look in Utrecht, various release parties, lunches, dinners, free video games, and goodies.
 
Next to my daily operations I also had to work on my research. I had made the agreement for one weekday (Wednesday) to work on this, which proved sufficient to analyze Call of Duty’s fan culture and do useful recommendations for the trade marketing launch of this title. While it was sometimes quite hard to find a connection between theoretical research (which focuses mostly on long-term innovation) and practical, business tactics (which focuses on short term gains), after presenting it to the entire marketing and sales team my research turned out to be quite an inspiration for them and was greatly appreciated.
 
I had a great time working at Activision Blizzard Benelux and was rewarded with one of the best internships one can do: a combination of hard work in a billion dollar international organization, and doing academic research that in the end is valuable to the company in their long term plans. It has definitely paid off: I’ve learned so much on a professional and personal level. Getting the opportunity and space to develop myself as a valuable part of this company is something I’m very thankful for!