Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg talks about the state that the billion dollar Call of Duty franchise currently finds itself in, and what the future holds for the series.
Hirshberg made head of Activision Publishing in 2010 and has, since then, overseen a consistent billion dollar launch from the Call of Duty series annually, a streak which began in 2009 when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 hit that mark.
“So far I think we’ve found a very nice cadence with our Call of Duty community and the demand and the supply of new content is in a pretty good balance, Hirshberg stated. “The games have gotten increasingly long tails and people have shown a year-round appetite to keep playing multiplayer and for the new content that we release with DLC packs to enhance those experiences.”
We’ve been able to have success with new games as long as they have big new innovations that have a big appeal to our fans. We’ve found the right cadence.”
“Big new innovations” and “big appeal” seem to be the two key factors behind the franchise’s success, something many hardcore fans of the series might argue is too difficult to balance with a yearly release schedule (two year development cycle between studios). With such a seemingly short amount of time to work with, creative juices must flow in order to keep things fresh.
Hirshberg commented on the amount of involvement Activision has in Call of Duty’s development, saying, “we certainly have a great track record of giving our developers tremendous amounts of creative freedom to make the games they want to make.”
He added that “there’s a lot of cross-pollination between people who work at a developer like Mark Lamia, who’s the head of Treyarch. He started in our production management group at Activision. And our current head of worldwide studios is a former head of Treyarch, so there’s a lot of musical chairs in terms of the talent that contributes to our games and it’s a very good, healthy creative collaboration.”
When it comes to expanding the Call of Duty name into the Hollywood scene, Hirshberg mentioned, “we have dabbled in it, but I think that we work at it from the standpoint that is this going to make the overall franchise stronger, is this going to add creative ideas that the games can’t. Our primary business is making great games and we want to make sure that we stay close on that and don’t mess anything up in the pursuit of making movies. If we do that, it’s going to be with the right partners, and at the right time, and for the right reason.”
So, don’t expect a Call of Duty movie any time too soon.
Do you agree that “big new innovations” and “big appeal” is what keeps Call of Duty on top? Does the series have what it takes to remain successful? Sound off in the comments below!