Activision defends yearly Call of Duty releases

Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg says "there's demand and excitement" every year for new game.


Activision has spoken out to defend the yearly release cycle for its popular Call of Duty series. Speaking with Eurogamer, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said one gamer per year is on par with player's demands.

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"The cadence of the releases seems to have found a nice equilibrium with people's appetite," Hirshberg said. "There's demand and excitement each and every time out. Then people are playing throughout the year."

Hirshberg explained that more people are playing Call of Duty today, in 2013, than ever before. This success hasn't blinded Activision, Hrishberg said, noting, "We don't take anything for granted."

Activision is able to release a new Call of Duty game every year by spreading development across two major studios. Infinity Ward, creators of the series, typically release their games in odd-numbered years, while Treyarch ships its games during even-numbered years.

This two-studio approach has helped the Call of Duty series stay fresh, Hirshberg said, as each outfit is attempting to one-up the other every year.

"Having alternating studios is one of the secrets to the franchise's success," Hirshberg said. "You have different creative people who are strong-willed and have minds of their own. Everyone gets what makes a great Call of Duty game. Treyarch and IW are the masters, and have built this thing. So, there's a lot of common DNA from year to year."

"But then people come in and want to top each other," he added. "There's some healthy competition. There's a desire within the creative team to not do the same thing and not be stagnant, the same way there is in the player community."

Hirshberg also spoke to the growing popularity of the Call of Duty series, saying the franchise has now become a "big pop culture event" every November. Gamers just can't stay away, he said.

"A lot of non-hardcore sci-fi fans saw Avatar because it was an even," Hirshberg said. "You felt you had to be a part of it. We've reached the status with Call of Duty of this sort of pop-cultural inevitability, where the game itself, the critical mass of the player base, the marketing tonality and the bigness of the presentation all combine to turn it into an event that I think is unique within the industry."

Call of Duty: Ghosts launches on November 5.

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