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Activision: AAA Titles, Not Social Or Mobile, Still Drive The Industry
Activision: AAA Titles, Not Social Or Mobile, Still Drive The Industry
August 3, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

"The biggest titles in the industry continue to generate a disproportionate percentage of the profits and revenues," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg to investors on Wednesday.

In a Gamasutra-attended conference call, Hirshberg stressed that his company's current strategy of investing in its biggest franchises while all but ignoring the immediate gratification of smartphone and Facebook games will continue to pay off.

"While the hardware install base continues to grow and show strength, gamers continue to spend more and more time and money with the few must-have games," he said. "For these reasons, we feel our strategy continues to be very well aligned with the market opportunity."

Activision's approach to social and mobile gaming stands in surprising contrast to that of its biggest competitors: while its digital business is pulling in higher numbers than ever (representing a massive 37 percent of its total sales for the previous quarter), its presence on mobile platforms and social networks is something of an afterthought for the company.

Instead, those digital sales are almost entirely represented by add-ons for its bigger console games, such as the various add-on packs for its Call of Duty franchise. While iOS sales are a major focus for competitors such as Electronic Arts, Activision has publicly denounced the platform, with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick saying that the company sees no opportunity in that market.

"It is inarguable that more people than ever are choosing immersive, high production value interactive games as their entertainment medium of choice," Hirshberg concluded, saying the company's record results "give us confidence that we're on the right track."

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Enrique Hernandez
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It might be so, but I think that indie games have the ability to bring new ideas.

EA might just be trying new game ideas with the "indie" games, and then the good ones can be converted into AAA games.

Kind of like... portal, it was a new idea, but they valve didn't waste too many resources on it (I'm guessing, compared to other games). But now portal 2 is a full $60 game with decent sales.

So in the future EA might have new AAA games, and Activision just the same old IP's.

* I realize indie and casual games are not the same thing, I mean it in the "let's try something new and quickly to see if it's a good idea" way.

E Zachary Knight
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Yes because High-Cost/High-Risk strategies are completely fool proof.

I think the companies that will have the longest staying power in the future will be those who have large portfolios of cheaper games for a variety of platforms. The risks are distributed over a large area and if one game fails it won't be detrimental to the company.

Yes there is still room for large games, but I think their influence on the industry will shrink as time moves forward.

Eric Geer
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This reminds me of local business vs big business---now that local business seems to be dying...all you end up with is big stores with no character--ie your Target/Walmart/Chain Restaurants/Drug store empires--traveling through the US is like traveling through a deja vu nightmare---

I would expect the same to happen(it is happening) to the gaming landscape as well.