Eric Hirshberg, Activision Publishing CEO, gave a keynote address during gamescom in Cologne, Germany. In it, the head of one of the worlds largest publishing companies reacted to the mudslinging coming from Electronic Arts towards Call of Duty on behalf of Battlefield 3.
Hirshberg noted when John Riccietello, EA head, said that he'd like to see Call of Duty "rot from the core." The Activision CEO indicated that he's been asked many times to respond to the quote, but has chosen not to simply because it's not his job to field that type of dialect. It seems, however, that a keynote address during the next biggest gaming event since the "rot from the core" quote was the perfect place to respond.
Here's some of what Hirshberg offered up during his address:
"As someone who runs one of the biggest publishers in this business I can tell you that I want as many games as possible to succeed, whether we created them or not…because I want this industry to keep growing and bringing in new people.
…I believe that as many great games as this industry can make, that's how many people will buy. I say that not only as the CEO of Activision but also as a gamer.
This isn't politics. In order for one to win, the other doesn't have to lose. This is an entertainment industry, it's an innovation industry and, at best, it's an art form. But we're still a young art form. If we were the movie industry the movies wouldn't even be talking yet."
This, quite honestly, is where I completely agree with Hirshberg. While it may benefit EA to ride the train of hate towards Activision in order to garner the love and adoration of the core gamer, genuinely wishing for the failure of any competition is bad news for consumers. Without the competition, there'd be no need for innovation.
Games are young, as a medium, and the more successful they are, the bigger the industry will grow.
"We shouldn't be tearing each other apart fighting for a bigger piece of the pie – we should all be focused on trying to grow a bigger pie. If we as an industry act like there's a finite number of games in the world, then there will be."
Sounds like someone speaking from the top of the heap, doesn't it? If the roles were flipped, I do think Hirshberg would be working a much different angle with his address. Would he be publicly wishing for the death of Battlefield? That I don't know, but I doubt he'd be saying there's space enough for everyone to be #1.