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Kotick: Activision Will 'Very Aggressively' Support PC Gaming On TVs

Kotick: Activision Will 'Very Aggressively' Support PC Gaming On TVs

July 6, 2010 | By Kris Graft

July 6, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the main reason that many Xbox Live subscribers pay $50 a year for the online multiplayer service. For Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, the problem with that is his company isn't partaking of any of that subscription revenue, and he feels like he's missing out.

"We've heard that 60 percent of [Microsoft's] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty," Kotick told the Financial Times. "We don't really participate financially in that income stream. We would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it's not our network."

The report said gamers played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for a total of 1.7 billion hours between the game's November release and April this year. It was the biggest-selling retail game of 2009 and has generated over $1 billion in sales.

Activision is also active in the downloadable content sector with extra song content for the Guitar Hero series, as well as the Modern Warfare 2 map pack, Stimulus Package, which sold over 3.5 million units across Xbox Live and PlayStation Network at $15 each.

But even with that commercial success, Kotick sees limitations to growth due to the walled nature of services like Xbox Live. Now, he wants to "very aggressively" support the open PC platform by backing companies like HP and Dell, which have the capability to release "new gamer-friendly PCs, designed to be plugged into the television."

Kotick said, "PCs have long been used for online play, but PC gaming remains niche when the games industry needs to widen its appeal."

"We have always been platform-agnostic," he added. "[Consoles] do a very good job of supporting the gamer. If we are going to broaden our audiences, we are going to need to have other devices."

Kotick in the past has expressed the intention to monetize the hours gamers spend playing Activision games like Call of Duty by applying a subscription fee. Blizzard's World of Warcraft -- a subscription-based PC game -- is the company's prime moneymaker, and Kotick wants to spread that practice across more video game franchises.

Earlier this month, the executive told the Wall Street Journal that 70 percent of Activision's operating profit "comes from non-console-based video games," despite having the biggest retail release of the year with Modern Warfare 2.


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