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Hirshberg says Activision has nothing to fear from Facebook

"Call of Duty has more players who pay-to-play online than any Facebook game"

Activision's CEO Eric Hirshberg has told listeners at the Global Technology Leadership Forum that call of Duty has an audience which is more engaged, pays more and plays more regularly than any Facebook title.

Defending his company's attitude to new market models such as Facebook and casual gaming, Hirshberg made clear that there is still profit to be made with AAA core console franchises, Gamasutra reports.

"Call of Duty has more players who pay-to-play online than any Facebook game," said Hirshberg, "and our players pay more per player on average than any Facebook game.

"They're also more engaged - the percentage of Call of Duty's monthly unique players that play the game every day is higher than that of the top three Facebook games."

Activision have been very publicly hesitant about investing in Facebook titles and transmedia franchising, instead focusing on tried and tested large-scale series to generate profit.

Activision has diversified somewhat with the recent announcement of a new Spyro the Dragon game, Skylanders, which ties in to a line of interactive plush toys, handheld and mobile games.

However, industry juggernaut Call of Duty is still the company's flagship product – something which Hirshberg sees as a symptom of a distilled audience with increased brand loyalty.

"Despite all the hand-wringing in our industry right now, people aren't gaming less," the CEO told the Forum. "In fact, they're gaming more than ever. They're just doing it with fewer games, and they're spending more time playing those games than ever before."

"Last year, of the top 10 best-selling games, all 10 of them were based on strong existing franchises, and nine of those 10 were online enabled."

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Dan Pearson