Activision banks on DJ Hero to crack Europe
New titles expected to grow business in region; manufacturing and logistics can meet demand; publisher is not trying to be a peripheral business, says CEO
Activision is banking on the new DJ Hero game and localised product to help the company expand the business across the European markets.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, CEO and president Mike Griffith said the company wants to make up for focusing the early Guitar Hero franchise on North America, and he's making sure that stock of the game along with the new turntable peripheral will be in plentiful supply for Europe.
"In particular if you look at the Guitar Hero franchise we are significantly under-developed relative to the share of the rest of our company in Europe," said Griffith. "Some of that was driven by early decisions to allocate scarce hardware to North America instead of Europe, which we've now made up for."
"Some of it is due to not enough localised content to really satisfy consumers particularly in parts of Europe like Germany, France and the UK. We've done more of that and if you look at the March quarter consumer sales of Guitar Hero in Europe almost doubled.
"We're starting to hit a inflection point and things like Guitar Hero: Metallica, which will coincide with the band's multi-city tour this summer, DJ Hero that addresses that techno, hiphop and club genre, should help us accelerate that," he said.
Griffith is confident Activision now has a solid hardware manufacturing business, and has the logistics in place to ship DJ Hero to meet demand.
"It started slow and organically and it felt more like an evolution," offered Griffith. "In the early days we had a lot of difficulty manufacturing enough guitars and a lot of difficulty with our logistics systems.
"In the early days of Guitar Hero we added capability and built a lot more support with people on the ground in Asia and logistics in Europe and North America and now we're pretty good of it."
Despite a portfolio that features three titles which rely on peripherals – Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and Tony Hawk: Ride – Griffith stated that the company shouldn't be considered a hardware manufacturing company, and that innovative software remains its focus.
"We're certainly making a lot more hardware than we were in the past but it's a really a reflection of this cycle and the ability to have physical interface and the consumer's acceptance of that interface.
"Our objective is always really about the game and how to make that great and innovative. We're not trying to get into the peripheral business, we're trying to make innovative gaming experiences for the consumer," he added.
The full interview with Griffith, where he discusses the peripherals business further, and why he's not threatened by forthcoming motion technology from Microsoft and Sony, can be read here.