In the investor call following its financial results
, Activision executives gave their predictions for hardware growth in 2008, gave some direction on where Guitar Hero
was headed, and admitted it was taking big steps to re-work the Tony Hawk
franchise following the emergence of EA's Skate
Activision Publishing president Mike Griffith detailed most of the publisher's outlook for the coming year, including its predictions for console sales across 2008.
He said Activision expects the PS2 base to grow by 2-3 million, the PS3 base to grow by 3-4 million, the Xbox 360 by 4-5 million, the Wii to increase by 6 million, and the total handheld market to grow in excess of 10 million.
A New Future For Tony Hawk
Turning to its competition, Griffith noted that the holiday emergence of EA's Skate
has "split a stable market," and said the publisher has taken the past six months to "re-engineer the Tony Hawk
It's done, he said, a "significant amount of consumer research and testing to find out what consumers want from the brand," and as a result has "confirmed the brand is still very relevant and highly appealing," but admits "we need to step up innovation."
Activision in 2008
Looking forward into its current Q1 quarter, to end in March, the company says it will be releasing its Dreamworks film tie-in Kung Fu Panda
on six platforms, with Griffith saying it had the "potential to be one of our largest Dreamworks properties, potentially eclipsing Shrek."
It also expects to release two new Guitar Hero
offerings, but would offer no further specifics, other than saying 2008 would "continue to see the franchise broadening its platform base," and would see new bands frontlining new disc-based expansions.
Activision stressed the point that 2008 would be a major year for expanding the Guitar Hero
franchise, especially in Europe, where it's still selling well below the company's 30 percent international sales average, and where hardware supply constraints are now being ramped up.
In addition, Griffith says the publisher has a "full slate" for the rest of the year, including its first James Bond release, more Dreamworks tie-ins with Madagascar 2
and Monsters Vs. Aliens
, a new Spiderman
and Marvel Ultimate Alliance Sequel
, and a new Tony Hawk
game for the holidays, which, again, the company didn't detail but said would move the franchise in a "new direction."
PlayStation 3 Challenges
Finally, Griffith also pointed out that the publisher had a "competitive advantage" on the PlayStation 3, adding that while most other publishers were unable to simultaneously develop games on both next-gen platforms, Activision has made strides with proprietary tools from its central technology group that "address the PS3 architecture in efficient ways," and says Call of Duty 4
's number one selling status on the platform was proof of its progress.