Well, this is… OK, somewhat expected, but still interesting. We now know exactly what Activision is getting up to with Sierra; namely, they’re going to start publishing indie games. On PC!
This being Activision, “indie” has an unusually broad definition. Its first two games will be a new King’s Quest and a new Geometry Wars, from The Odd Gentlemen and Lucid Games, respectively. Tellingly, that press release we linked also states that they’ll be looking for indie developers to take on Sierra’s old games, so that should be interesting, especially if they resort to different genres.
As for why Activision would do this, the short answer is “Kickstarter.” Enough games are being crowdfunded for the PC, and interest in them is high enough, that Activision clearly believes it can step in when the fans have gotten their copy of the game and mine it for way more cash. The focus on Steam all over the press release and announcement is another telling sign; Activision thinks there’s cash to be made. Which is, well, the ideal scenario for many indie developers, but it’s not clear how fans will react to the biggest publisher on the block trying to play with the little guys. We’ll find out as the games start arriving, but expect at least one Kickstarter success to go on this label in short order.