Call of Duty Titles Have Year-Round Activity, No “Signs of Slowing” – Eric Hirshberg

Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg, discusses the annual release philosophy as opposed to year round activity that the Call of Duty franchise is seeing.

“There’s a unique behavior for gamers related to that game [Call of Duty]… it has this incredibly long tail and people play it all year round and that has forced, or enabled, the company to change the way we look at it because, to our players, it’s not an annual retail release,” Hirshberg stated in a Games Industry interview.

“It’s a year-round activity. So, if you look at it like an annual retail release, by those standards, it’s easy to get nervous.” Then, he went on to liken the Call of Duty franchise to how the NFL operates. He stated, “but if you look at it through a different lens; if you look at it like, the NFL happens every year and people like it every year and they obsess over it every year and they come back for more every year and I think that it’s an entertainment relationship that’s pretty unique in the gaming space.”

On the subject of whether the franchise is inching closer to its peak, which the latest NPD numbers suggested and Hirshberg refuted, he noted, “let me also say that you can’t find a metric that would indicate that it’s fatiguing or that there are signs of slowing.” He continued, “the concurrency of players is higher than ever and not only that, it’s across several games. I think that the top three most played games on Xbox Live are the last three Call of Duty games.” The latest Call of Duty numbers suggested over 40 million active monthly users across all titles.

“It’s just not reflective of what our gamers clearly want. If you start from that place, of looking at what gamers want and what their behavior would suggest – they want more DLC, they want more new gameplay experiences. And so, we’re starting with that and building it out. We’re not starting with the conventional wisdom of the industry and going in,” Hirshberg added regarding how the industry paints annual releases in negative light.

  • outlawz

    oh great…. 

  • Patrick

    If you listen to angry bloggers and the commenters on some sites you would think no one likes and plays COD anymore. But I always said sales, online activity, and overall presence in the community tell the opposite. Not everyone is going to be a fan of the game, but they don’t have to be. The same goes for all games. Some are tired of the game, but they are not forced to buy it or play it every year. They are more than welcome to play something else. I’m satisfied with the annual releases and other games are just not doing anything to pull me away from it. BUT…they really do need to come up with something new and innovative or the supposed fatigue will become reality.

  • Gamersheep

    Its funny that Activision pays attention to sales numbers rather than the ACTUAL game itself…Typical money hungers.

    • Puckrazy1

      funny because that’s exactly what I got from reading this article. Nothing shocking there though