Activision: "We're taking some of the biggest risks"

Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg says misconception exists that Call of Duty company is risk-averse.


Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has spoken out to attempt to dispel the notion that the Call of Duty company does not take risks with its portfolio of products.

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"Our strategy is to do a few things and do them exceptionally well," Hirshberg told Edge in a new interview. "I think that sometimes people misperceive that as somehow being risk-averse, and yet we're taking some of the biggest risks in new genres and new business models and new IPs than anybody."

"So the fact that we only do it a handful of times doesn't lessen the fact there’s a lot of risk and complexity baked into anything new you try," he added.

Hirshberg pointed to Skylanders as an example, saying the toys-to-life brand did not exist eighteen months ago. "People forget that already because it's been so successful. It was not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven," he said.

The Skylanders franchises has generated $1.5 billion since launch.

Also in the interview, Hirshberg addressed a question regarding Activision's perception as a "big, heartless corporation." He said he is aware of such criticisms, but labelled them "incorrect."

"Look, this is a company of passionate people who make games and love making games. I'm certainly aware of all of the reputational perceptions out there but I think they're incorrect," Hirshberg said. "And this is a company that has consistently made some of the most well-liked and most-played gaming experiences and that hasn't happened by accident."

Hirshberg admitted that for some, it's sometimes fun to root against the biggest company or the biggest brands, but said the perception of Activision is "starting to change."

"As a company whose fortunes and success rises and fall with great quality, it's something that takes a lot of passion and a lot of energy," Hirshberg said. "I want to make the perception match the reality. The reality is that this is a group of people that lives, eats, breathes games. And it has done a pretty great job of creating franchises that a lot of people seem to love and appreciate."

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