Activision CEO wants to break console 'walled garden'
Publisher head laments lack of income from online console games such as Modern Warfare 2; will strongly support new PC-based hardware designed to connect straight to TVs.
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Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick is certainly not afraid to speak his mind. Last year, the executive made blunt threats to drop support for the PlayStation 3 and the PSP unless Sony made cuts to the hardware's price. He also earned the ire of many gamers after stating at a conference in 2009 that he wanted to "take all the fun out of making video games." Kotick also predicted a future independent of game consoles, a statement he reiterated over the weekend in an interview with business news organisation The Financial Times.
In the FT interview, Kotick lamented the fact that despite the strong sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the publisher saw no additional revenue from the game's continuing popularity on console online environments like Xbox Live. "We've heard that 60 percent of [Microsoft's] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty," Kotick told FT. "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 Activision CEO said the company would "very aggressively" support new gaming hardware being planned by the likes of HP and Dell to better integrate PCs with TVs, saying this would break the Xbox 360 and PS3's "walled gardens with new gamer-friendly PCs, designed to be plugged into the television. 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," Kotick said. "[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."