Activision: A game in every genre doesn't mean you're creative

CEO Eric Hirshberg says it's a "false narrative" that the company is risk averse

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has shot down suggestions that the company, which has found massive success with both Call Of Duty and Skylanders, isn't willing to take risks.

"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," he 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. 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."

During the interview he pointed to Skylanders as an example of a massive risk, but one that the media forgets about in favour of Activision's shooters.

"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."

The company is currently working on first person shooter Destiny, and preparing for the launch of Call Of Duty: Ghosts which will be released for PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360 on November 5, and for next-generation consoles at launch.

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Latest comments (8)

Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 4 years ago
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Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA4 years ago
Yeah, ATVI took a shot on Skylanders and it paid off. What they neglect to mention is they had Toys for Bob making miserable movie tie-ins for 10 years before they struck gold. And now because of Skylanders' success we'll never see another Star Control. Yes, I'm bitter.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
"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."
Well there was this one company that took a huge bet on this "U Draw" project but....
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Tat Wei, Yeap Master Degree in Environmental Planning. 4 years ago
Neither is selling your shooting games to younger generation. It sells of course, we all know young kid's obsession with power and guns, because its your neighborhood news, if any of you own gun, keep it away from the very sight of your child. I don't want US government to ban gun, neither do I want kids holding it just because they've used it in COD. Thank you, I digress but so is the article.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Oh... what? My memory as a collector is insulted. Activision USED to have games in (nearly) every genre before they condensed their lineup. Yeesh...
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
But 10 games in the same genre, one per year, re-using 80% of the code, means exactly the opposite.

Or maybe not, who knows.
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Rogier Voet IT Consultant 4 years ago
Hmmm mr Hirshberg does not make a very compelling argument. Activision is trying only to make blockbusters, have killed of many of the franchises they think don't make enough money. (which is an enormous waste of IP). There are so many IP's you could revamp, make HD-remakes but the big A is just not interested if it does not sell 15 million plus copies.

Yes they build a successful Kids-game (which was not hard, because of the lack of competition). And yes I'm looking forward to play Destiny but that has more to do with the studio behind it than the publisher.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Tom Pickard: Well, the idea of a video game/collectible hybrid had been done in Japan with stuff like Barcode Battler and a Dragon Ball card/video game whose title I can't recall and then there this:

Bandai, again... too bad it didn't take off in Japan, as they STARTED with what's now the Swap Force idea of interchangeable parts...
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