'We've Shown Some Appetite For Risk'
Activision has a bit of a reputation for playing things safe, but Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg wants to set the record straight, arguing that they take more creative risks than any number of their competitors.
"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," Hirshberg told CVG. "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."
Much of Activision's reputation stems from their annualised Call Of Duty iteration. Hirshberg argues that the likes of Bungie's Destiny proves that they're willing to innovate within the genre. "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," he said.
"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."
Hirshberg also pointed at trans-media phenomenon Skylanders as an example of genuine innovation. "It's a new IP, a new genre, a new play-pattern, untested in an area of the business that was shrinking," he concluded. "I feel like people breeze past that when they ask me about diversity. I don't know anyone that's taken a bigger bet on a less proven franchise based on their gut-instinct than we did with Skylanders."
There's no denying that Activision relies on a handful key franchises and movie tie-ins for the bulk of their income, but do you agree with Hirshberg's point?