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“Just because you have a game in every genre does not mean you’re creative,” says Activision chief exec

Joe Donnelly September 5, 2013 - 11:35 am

Having published a range of successful series’ over the years, Activision is now best known for its ties to the Call of Duty franchise. CEO Eric Hirshberg has spoken of how his company is not risk averse, and that it continues to show an “appetite for risk,” despite a “false narrative that all Activision wants to do is put out a Call of Duty every year.”

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We’re getting to that time of year now where autumn is afoot, the darker nights are closing in, and the temperature is beginning to drop. Oh, and we’re not a kick in the arse off a new iteration of Call of Duty.

The Call of Duty franchise – although continuing to enjoy a massive support – has become somewhat predictable. Guns? Check. War? Check. Online multiplayer? Check. Largely similar mechanics to the previous annual instalment? Check.  But hate it or love it, it has now well and truly established itself as a console stalwart, and has cemented a status of tradition in the run up to Christmas.

Diversity is not something I personally would generally associate with Activision, at least not in recent years. However, CEO Eric Hirshberg would grossly disagree.

“First-person shooters have been stable for a number of generations now, and I don’t think that just because Destiny and Call of Duty are in the same genre that they are not diverse,” says Hirshberg in an interview with CVG. “I think they couldn’t be more different from one another. One is a deep, mythological sci-fi epic opera in space, the other is a gritty action movie that’s come to life. The games are very different from a pacing and design standpoint too, so I think there is diversity there, you just might not see it at face value.”

One could argue that face value is exactly how the general public are likely to see it. But Hirshberg continued, citing Activision’s involvement with Skylanders as a fine example of its willingness to step out of its comfort zone. He also suggested other publishers who spread themselves out across more genres are taking less risks than his company.

“I think there is a false narrative that all Activision wants to do is put out a Call of Duty every year, when in fact we’ve shown some real innovation and appetite for risk,” says Hirshberg.”I think that publishers which have wider and ‘more diverse’ slates are far less risky than us, are far less creative. Just because you have a game in every genre does not mean you’re creative.

“So, what we do is certainly a strategy that’s not for everyone, and it’s not the only way to make good business, but it works for us. It’s something that pre-dates me, it’s something Activision has done for many years.”

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