Activision CEO on possible COD MMOG, Guitar Hero's Asian Tour

Bobby Kotick discusses potential direction of shooter franchise; says Guitar Hero the "best-selling game we've ever had" and will expand to China and Korea.

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With the massive Activision Blizzard merger looming, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick held court today at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in Dana Point, California. Whereas many presentations by executives to analysts prove snooze-inducing, Kotick brought up several subjects that perked up the ears of the game industry.

First was the prospect of one of Activision's biggest franchises going the massively multiplayer route. After repeating his claim that it would take at least a half-billion dollars to take on Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, Kotick outlined how Activision will use soon-to-be corporate sibling Blizzard's "institutional expertise" to bring PC editions of Guitar Hero to the "roughly 300,000 game rooms between China and Korea."

Then, Kotick raised the possibility that, one day, there could be an MMOG game based on the award-winning Call of Duty series. Referencing the Blizzard-backed Guitar Hero expansion plans, he said: "When you think about other properties that we own and control like Call of Duty, and what would be the natural evolution of a property like Call of Duty into a massively multiplayer environment... How do you monetize that?"

Kotick went on to praise the Guitar Hero franchise as "the best-selling game that we have ever had"--and to raise some speculation about the franchise's future. Kotick repeatedly used the word "instruments" to refer to Guitar Hero controllers, restoking speculation about a DJ Hero spin-off or Rock Band-like expansion.

"The enthusiasm for the [Guitar Hero] product is there," declared Kotick, before raising the explicit possibility of "product categories that are line extensions." Could said "extensions" include the Guitar Villain and Drum Villain licenses Activision has already trademarked?

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