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Hirshberg: Games Are 'Not Disposable', More Like Sports Than Films

Matt Gardner
Activision, Call Of Duty, Call of Duty Elite, Eric Hirshberg, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

Hirshberg: Games Are 'Not Disposable', More Like Sports Than Films

Activision's Eric Hirshberg has suggested that games have developed to the extent that it's far more fitting to compare games with sports and hobbies, and with regard to the interactive nature of the relationship people have with games, than with films.

"Games are different, because they’re not disposable, they’re not one-time. They really are relationships. The way you interact with a game has much more in common with the way you interact with a sport that you love, or a hobby that you love, that’s ongoing and long-lasting, than with how you watch a movie. Which you do for two hours and then you move on. So I think all we’re trying to do is look at that behavior and change the way we talk to people about games."

Hirshberg also responded to claims that Activision only goes after the hottest brands, using Skylanders as an example of the company pouring money into a genre- children's games - that other publishers were rapidly trying to exit. Why? Well, because he says that Activision felt they had something special and unique on their hands.

"I got a lot of questions in the run-up to Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure about why we were choosing to enter the kids category when others were exiting it," he continued." When the strength of the Wii sales were slowing down. There were a lot of reasons that, if you just looked at them on a spreadsheet, you would think that might not be a great idea. But the magic of the idea doesn’t fit on a spreadsheet."

In Hirshberg's eyes, it helps to have a multi-faceted approach - to be able to play to strengths whatever they are whether its brand strength, fan support, developer reputation or an incredibly exciting new idea, as with Skylanders.

"Where Activision has chosen to make the big investments and take the big risks are the places where we feel that we have something special to contribute and something that sets our game apart. In the case of Call of Duty, I think it’s the strength of the brand itself, and the strength of the developers behind it. In the case of Skylanders it was the idea of toys coming to life. In the case of Bungie, it’s the strength of that developer. In the case of Call of Duty Elite, it was the behavior of our gamers — the fact that they were sticking around all year and buying up every piece of downloadable content (DLC) we could release. We had the resources to make a really big investment, to try something new. So we definitely have a strategy not to just compete in every category, just because we don’t compete there, but to only compete where we feel like we have something special to bring to the party." [VentureBeat]

Add a comment 1 comment
DivideByZero  Feb. 14, 2012 at 09:19

I would say that all depeneds on the game. Some games play like a film and you only play them once or twice. Stuff like BF3 or other popular FPS multiplayer online games are definitely like a sport. It's fun to do and you need to practice a lot to get good. You dont just play it once or twice, but over and over.

Given that fact, Activision have got us running on a very old and broken track at the moment, haven't they Eric? We have paid good money so expect a new and improved track next time (as we did not get it this time) or we will go elsewhere.


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