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Activision – Sadly Mistaken or Arrogantly Correct?

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There are a few things that I have learned about Activision from a recent pompous and arrogance filled interview between MCV and Activision’s Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg.  These “things” are not directly about their video games, brand, or even where they see themselves in the next five years.  I have learned that Activision has an over inflatuated opinion of themselves and coming from a company who reported a $233 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2010 is never a good thing.

“When you are in the number one position you have a lot of people gunning for you,” – Eric Hirshberg, Activision’s Publishing CEO via

I find that statement reeking of wrongs considering that according to Game Developer Magazine for the year of 2010, Nintendo sits at number one for the top overall publisher position, EA is number two, and Activision finds themselves sitting at number three.  Also according to Software Top 100, Nintendo once again takes the top spot for “The Top 25 Game Companies” while Activision comes in second.  Sure Activision had the best selling game of 2010 with Call of Duty: Black Ops, however when Black Ops released it was nothing but a lag and bug infested multiplayer experience on the PS3 and PC coupled with lax responses from Activision regarding the online issues, fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth.  Hardly how a company in the “number one position” should be acting towards dedicated fans of Activision’s cash cow, Call of Duty.

“Well, I think EA might talk about our games in the press more than we do.  So, the first thing I say to them is ‘Thanks for the assistance in building awareness,” – Eric Hirshberg, Activision’s Publishing CEO via

I seem to remember more than a few interviews done with loose lipped Activision CEO Bobby Kotick where he could not keep his mouth shut about EA like in an interview with Edge Magazine where Kotick said that “great people do not want to work at EA” or how about when Kotick slammed EA’s decisions to buy smaller companies and rename them with EA followed by city in the title and further said that EA is struggling?  Also did Hirshberg forget that Kotick was very vocal about how EA’s marketing campaign to get gamers to buy more games new instead of used games is not in the best interest of gamers?

“But when you think about it, we’ve had tough competition every year for Call of Duty. It’s never been easy. This is one of the most competitive genres in one of the most competitive industries. Last year we had Halo: Reach and Medal of Honor, and it’s not like they weren’t amazing developers gunning for the top of this mountain either. And it’s the same this year – Gears of War is back along with lots of other games,” – Eric Hirshberg, Activision’s Publishing CEO via

Tough competition every year?  Does a Halo game release once a year or how about Gears of War?  Is Epic cranking out those games year after year, forcing gamers to buy a new updated version of the game every fall?  The answer is no.  The only competition that Activision has year after year is themselves, because of the yearly releases of Call of Duty from different developers.

One thing that Activision needs to remember is that their success is based on three franchises and one of which they had absolutely nothing to do with and can thank Blizzard for and that is World of Warcraft.  The second is Guitar Hero and with the Guitar Hero series in the can that only leaves Call of Duty.

There are only so many times that you can release what is essentially the same game yearly just better graphics and changed perk names, add a pay to play mulitplayer experience into the mix, and expect gamers to keep coming back for more and with EA whipping the media into a frenzy over their extremely detailed upcoming FPS, Battlefield 3, it is only a matter of time before fans say “enough”.

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