Activision Blizzard CEO on the "Tremendous Responsibility" of Keeping Call of Duty Exciting

"All you have to do is listen."


Acitivision releases a new Call of Duty ever year. One of the main discussion points around the franchise is what's new and different for each annual installment. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a new interview that much care and consideration goes into every new game in all of its franchises. This is done as part of the company's effort to make sure every new installment feels fresh and exciting, he said.

"Our priority is audience focus--the recognition and appreciation that our audiences invest so much in our franchises and our responsibility to them to continually innovate within those," he told Forbes. "We feel a tremendous responsibility to our audiences to keep our franchises exciting."

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Kotick went on to say, "Great franchises provide great roadmaps for innovation and inspiration." He specifically cited Star Wars and Star Trek as being examples of "sustainable entertainment franchises." Indeed, Star Wars debuted in 1977 and Star Trek in 1966 and both remains hugely popular today.

In terms of all entertainment, Kotick said he sees Call of Duty as "one of the most enduring franchises." Activision recently shifted the Call of Duty series to a three-year, three-studio development cycle; the extra year of development gives studios "freedom to fail" as they try out new ideas, Activision has said.

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Kotick also likened Activision's gaming business to professional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB; they don't come and go, but instead continue every year with new wrinkles and storylines.

Also in the interview, Kotick talked about how a benefit of making new games in an existing franchise is that you already know who your audience is.

"You have an understanding of their expectations. You then take your inspired, creative teams and think about those franchises and what you want to create that is going to delight, surprise, and entertain your fans--all with a lot of knowledge about what actually matters to them and what's important," he said.

"All you have to do is listen. And that doesn't mean they're going to give you the ideas, but they are certainly going to give you their thoughts and opinions," Kotick added. "And if you're respectful of those thoughts and opinions, you're usually going to have a pretty good roadmap for innovation."

You can read the full Forbes interview here.

The next Call of Duty game is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which comes out on November 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Premium versions of the game come with Modern Warfare Remastered, a new version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. If you preordered an Infinite Warfare premium version on PS4, you can play Modern Warfare Remastered's campaign right now.

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