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Surely it's Axl solely being a cock here? Some of these people are overtly protective of their own work that they can't tell when they're keeping it away from their own fans, or potential new fans. Led Zep seem to be the same with music games. All Activision did was lie while their heads were up their own arses so we (or those that bought it) had a better product (Welcome to the Jungle, probably the best song on GHIII).

I have no sympathy for those making these kinds of cases because it's only us that lose.

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Bizarre are pretty much fucked.

Activision has recommended that its Bizarre Creations subsidiary be closed, after no buyer came forward for the Liverpool-based studio behind Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone.

Back in November, Activision announced it was looking to offload the struggling developer, saying it was "exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business."

Coddy Johnson, Activision Worldwide Studios' chief operating officer today told Develop, "I want to be clear, our first choice was to try and keep this group together and find a buyer for the studio."

Johnson insisted that it had, "explored a lot of leads – pretty much anyone you can imagine in the industry. But unfortunately, so far we've not been able to find any interested parties. So we've made as a last resort, a recommendation to the team for closure."

Apparently staff at Bizarre have indicated that they will accept the recommendation.

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Activision have now done away with Freestyle games and confirmed there is no more Guitar Hero or True Crime. Freestyle are responsible for DJ hero but no word on wether that has gone as well.

Kotaku article

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Record profits, job losses, and franchise drops. Damn you evil Activision!!! Who's next to be the nasty big developer? EA? Valve?

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No surprise there. What with every pc gamer playing WOW again after the last add-on. (That doesn't include me, though. I have never played WOW.)

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doesn't Sly play WoW? ;)

I am actually slightly surprised they've completely canned Guitar Hero. I know the last one sold nothing, but it's such a well known franchise I'd have thought they'd keep it around in some form or other

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doesn't Sly play WoW? ;)

That I do. I've done a hell of a lot better than many of the other people that said they wouldn't line Activisions pockets, the last 3 games being GHIII (wank), CoD4 (online wank) and Geometry Wars (Fucking awesomes). Only problem with WoW is that it's owned by Activision, and I despise myself for giving cash to them. At least Blizzard see some of that cash though. Credit where credit's due, they have built an amazing game.

I am actually slightly surprised they've completely canned Guitar Hero. I know the last one sold nothing, but it's such a well known franchise I'd have thought they'd keep it around in some form or other

I can see why they have done it though. A few years back you couldn't get any of the guitars or drums due to people snapping them up as soon as they hit the shelves. I've been in the local big department stores and all of them have piles of unsold stuff for both RB and GH. There's only so many plastic instruments people can buy before they can't move for them and depite being a lot better games than the ones that kick started the craze they have not really evolved beyond that point. I'm not saying other genres have leaped and bounded ahead, because some genres are equally as stale, but for music action games there is no way for them to deviate how the games are played. No matter what they do you'll be pressing buttons in time to icons raining down the screen and for the core audience that buys these games it's obviously starting to wear thin.

It should be interesting to see how it pans out for the people involved in making these music games. What will they do next? Harmonix got kicked out on their arse and went on to make RB, but that was when the going was good. How would something from one of these studios be taken now given the climate to music games?

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DJ Hero has been canned too, due to a decline in sales for peripheral based games.

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And Tony Hawk has gone for this year.

Plus yet another studio is doing Call of Duty stuff.

Overnight Activision announced the formation of a new studio with a single aim: to create "exclusive content" for the Call of Duty community.

But what does this mean for gamers?

Here's what Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg said during the company's fourth quarter 2010:

"Today, we're pleased to announce our new wholly-owned development studio, Beachhead, which will lead the creation of our all-new digital platform for the Call of Duty franchise.

"Beachhead will create a best-in-class online community, exclusive content and a suite of services for our Call of Duty fans to supercharge the online gaming experience like never before.

"The platform will support in-game integration and bring online experiences and console play together for the first time. The platform has been in development for over a year, and we're very excited about the increased value we can bring to the community. We look forward to sharing more specifics on this exciting new endeavour with you in the near future."

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick also weighed in on Beachhead.

"Today, we have multiple teams and studios fully dedicated to online development and service operations," he said.

"Our leadership in online entertainment technologies continues to grow, as illustrated by our announcement today of our studio called Beachhead, which is focused solely on the development of an innovative new digital platform and special services for our Call of Duty community.

"And we believe we are best positioned to take advantage of retail and digital distribution channels that can collectively deliver content to more players in more places and with better economics than ever before.

"We've always said that the big are getting bigger but not only are the big getting bigger in retail, as players gravitate to the best experiences and we push the limits on our best-in-class execution, we have also leveraged our internal platforms to offer audiences choice and convenience through the provision of direct distribution of Blizzard games.

"We expect to enhance the Call of Duty experience in similar ways with our new digital platform from Beachhead."

Following the announcement, speculation mounted that Activision planned to charge Call of Duty players for elements of its online component.

But Activision, Treyarch and Infinity Ward have all been vocal in their insistence that they will "never, ever charge for Call of Duty multiplayer". Surely they can't go back on their promise?

As some have suggested, Beachhead may be preparing to launch an application that apes Microsoft's Halo Waypoint, which gamers use to track their Halo careers through the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Or it could be a Call of Duty version of Blizzard's Battle.net, which links World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo players in one online space.

For Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who has consistently called on Activision to charge gamers to play Call of Duty online, the Beachhead announcement can mean only one thing.

He told Eurogamer: "It's pretty clear that the 'value-added, exclusive premium content' can only be 'exclusive' if somebody is asked to pay for it."

Last month Wedbush predicted the launch of a "second tier" of online Call of Duty multiplayer – and that gamers would be charged for it.

"Activision remains a top pick, primarily due to the company's potential to create and monetize a second tier of multiplayer online gaming for its Call of Duty franchise," Wedbush reported.

"We expect this to occur during the first quarter of 2011."

Bobby Kotick has of course expressed a desire to make more money from the online portion of his crown jewel. Last year he said that if he could do one thing, he would make Call of Duty "an online subscription service" as soon as tomorrow.

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That is quite sad. I wonder if they would've gone under anyway had they not been bought by Activision.

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Guitar Hero isn't dead.


Guitar Hero went on hiatus in February of this year when publisher Activision announced that its successful, but, as of late, oversaturated music series wouldn't see a release in 2011. The same "time out" was given to the company's annual Tony Hawk games, which have been releasing every year since 1999.

Guitar Hero will have an encore, however, according to a Forbes interview with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. The man behind the world's largest video game company also gave some interesting insight into why the Guitar Hero franchise became stale after being scooped up following the purchase of license-holder RedOctane.

"It was the double whammy of DJ Hero was unsuccessful, and then Guitar Hero became unsuccessful because it didn’t have any nourishment and care." Kotick explains in the four-page interview. "So we made what I think was exactly the right decision last year. We said you know what, we need to regain our audience interest, and we really need to deliver inspired innovation. So we’re going to take the products out of the market, and we’re not going to tell anybody what we’re doing for awhile, but we’re going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether."

Kotick didn't reveal any gameplay details regarding the inspired innovation to come, but he did recognize that new developers were going to be part of the series' re-imagining. "And then we’re going to go back to the studios and we’re going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero. And so that’s what we’re doing with it now."

In just five years, there were 24 Guitar Hero games and spin-offs if you count the iPhone and Android entries and include the two DJ Hero titles. When the series came crashing down in February, former RedOctane CEO Kelly Sumner claimed that Activision “tried to get too much out of the franchise too quickly. They abused it.”

Sumner also suggested that “there’s no reason why Guitar Hero cannot continue. It’s a great product." It looks like that will be happening if not this console generation, then the next.

I seriously hope that the music game makers just make 'hub games' where you buy DLC for future iterations, I can't really see them evolving any further to warrant sequel upon sequel.

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And so the playground spat between two of the biggest publishers in the business rumbles on.

Earlier this week, Activision exec Eric Hirshberg finally broke his silence on EA's constant ribbing about how much better Battlefield 3 is than Modern Warfare 3, claiming its mudslinging was "bad for the industry".

Rather than see the error of its ways and offer to kiss and make up, EA has duly chimed in with another proverbial hair-pull.

Corporate communications man Jeff Brown had the following choice words to impart to Hirshberg and co. today, via IndustryGamers:

"Welcome to the big leagues Eric - I know you're new in the job but someone should have told you this is a competitive industry.

"You've got every reason to be nervous. Last year Activision had a 90 share in the shooter category. This year, Battlefield 3 is going to take you down to 60 or 70. At that rate, you'll be out of the category in two to three years.

"If you don't believe me, go to the store and try to buy a copy of Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk."

Stop being a dick EA.

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Here's quite a lengthy interview with Eric Hirshberg.


They say it's lonely at the top and that's certainly true of whatever publisher happens to be top dog within the games industry - and at the moment that's Activision. GameCentral recently got a chance to talk with Activision Publishing's chief executive officer Eric Hirshberg, to get a rare insight into how the games industry looks from the point of view of the biggest third party publisher in the world.

A self-proclaimed gamer, the day before we spoke to him Hirshberg had given a headline-making keynote speech at Gamescom, in which he criticised arch rival Electronic Arts for its increasingly vicious attacks on Call Of Duty.

We were also able to speak to him about his earliest experiences of gaming, the lessons learnt from the fall of Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk's, and the difficulties of launching original games in the modern games industry. All that and his thoughts on the eternal question of summer games droughts and Christmas rushes…

GC: Can you start by talking us through your history with games, your history with them and perhaps some favourite non-Activision titles?

EH: Did you happen to see my keynote speech last night?

GC: We didn't unfortunately, no.

EH: Well, at the beginning I spoke about how I have been playing games all my life. Most console known to man I've owned: Atari 2600, Intellivision, Nintendo 64, Sega Mega Drive… I've probably spent more hours than I'd care to admit playing those. My relationship with Activision started with Pitfall, which was a great game. One of my fondest memories of childhood was that I had actually had my father hooked on video games. And we sorted bonded over that.

We had this very bad sot of habit where every time my mom would ask my dad to go to the corner shop and get milk he'd give me the, 'Let's go' and we'd go to the back corner - I don't know if they have it here in Europe but in America they have the 7-Eleven and in the corner there's the ATM and two or three arcade games and we used to play Defender, Asteroids, Tempest, Space Invaders… for a long time. And I don't think my mother ever understand why it took us two hours to go and get milk. But she knew we were having fun, so obviously that's okay.

GC: And so you continued to play…?

EH: I continued to play games all the way through college, all the way through my adult life. I had the usual dip in gameplay that comes with young fatherhood. And I sort of degraded my status down to maybe only sports games only for a couple of years, as I had two little guys in diapers. But now that they are five and seven I'm actually gaming with them. And they've been on the user tester circuit for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures. And they are just in heaven, every day they come home and they say, 'Dad, did you bring a new guy! Did you bring a new Skylander home.' So they're having a blast with that.

Favourite games… obviously at the moment I'm playing all the builds of Modern Warfare 3 and I think that game's coming together incredibly well and the multiplayer in Spec Ops that we've sort of revealed the least of this far I think is going to be the best in class.

So obviously that's self-serving, but I also think LittleBigPlanet is a fantastic game, very creative game. I love the use of user generated content; I like the same with ModNation Racers, I thought they were very good games.

GC: Do you play those with your kids?

EH: I do play both of those with the kids, yeah. Let me see, what else do I play… I'm a big sports game fan, I think the last NBA 2K was terrific. I'm a big Madden fan. I loved Uncharted 2, I thought that was a great game, a lot of fun.

GC: So that seems a very sensible, healthy gaming diet - Madden of course is an EA game - but what do you think of that company's approach to the promotion of Battlefield 3, the constant trash talking against Call Of Duty?

EH: You really didn't see my speech last night did you? (laughs)

GC: We swear we had these questions prepared beforehand! But put simply, do you think that kind of talk is good for the industry?

EH: No. I think that competition is great for the industry and competition is great for any industry, it's the lifeblood of any industry. And so vigorous competition is necessary and desirable. To me there's a line where it becomes unhealthy for the industry and that's when it's one thing to want your game to succeed, it's another thing to go into the public square and say you want other's games to fail.

And I think when you do that you start to condition gamers that they need to choose a side and root for it the way they do with a sports team, the way you would with a political party. This isn't politics, this is an art form. And I feel that as many great games as this industry can make that's how many people will buy them. And I think we should not be beating each other up trying to get a larger slice of the pie, I think we should be trying to grow the pie.

So while I want our games to be successful and I want us obviously to keep our top position with Call Of Duty - we're going to defend it with everything we've got, we're bringing everything we've got to the table with a great game and tremendous investment - I want to say, as one of the largest publishers, that I want as many games as possible to succeed.

Because if that happens our industry will grow and more people will be drawn into this passion that we all share, but the whole world doesn't share. So I think the more great games the better and I think that anyone that's doing something innovative and great in this industry deserves all of our support.

GC: What always strikes us is that DICE always seem quite embarrassed by what's going on, they just want to make a good game. And you speak to Rob Bowling, for example, he says he's looking forward to playing Battlefield 3.

EH: Yeah, me too.

GC: But as soon as you get to the executive level it's… have you told people not to get involved in the name calling? Because generally Activision has been pretty good at not returning the insults.

EH: We have taken a very kind of, 'Don't swing back. Take the high road' stance on this stuff. And when you're… I understand the strategy when you're the challenger brand, you try to get your product mentioned in as many of the same sentences as the leader brand as you can. It's why Pepsi does the Pepsi challenge, it's not a new strategy. We have not swung back hardly at all, I've tried to set that tone.

My speech last night was because I felt that there were a couple of comments that needed to be addressed and I felt like I needed to stick up for our guys. And I just wanted to say, 'Let's try and elevate the level of discourse here.' There's nothing wrong with competition but there is something that doesn't seem quite right about saying, 'We want the other guys to fail'. That doesn't feel good for our industry.

GC: Activision does get a lot of stick from gamers, particularly the hardcore, but clearly some of that is simply because they're number one. EA had the same sort of trouble when they were on top and the second they weren't a lot of the complaints went away…

EH: You've said it for me.

GC: But is there any justification to any of their concerns? A lot of the time gamers are just worried about the brands they enjoy. They look particularly at what's happened to Tony Hawk's and Guitar and they think you're going to do the same thing to Call of Duty, that you're going to run it into the ground…

EH: I think that the only time that fans need to worry is if they see us under-investing in a quality gaming experience. We made some great Tony Hawk games. The last game we made, Tony Hawk Shred, with the board peripheral, was extremely innovative, was a huge investment in new technology, it's not like we started harvesting that brand and dumbing down the gameplay. The fact is that that game, along with the rest of the skating genre, has lost a little favour with the gaming community.

The same thing happened with Hero, the world sort of ran out of interest, you know big time interest, in that sort of genre. It happened with Rock Band, it happened with Guitar Hero, it happened with DJ Hero. DJ Hero was a 92 Metacritic rated game with huge innovation, with the ability to mix your own songs… so I think Freestyle did an incredible job with that game, it had huge innovation in it.

I think Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock, while it wasn't as highly rated by Metacritic, was a great game and had a lot of what the core audience for that game loves to see. And you know, when you see multiple high quality games from us meeting with a tepid response in the marketplace and then you see a very high quality competitor, in Rock Band 3, run into similar issues I think people say we 'ran it into the ground' when actually what happened is we put a lot of investment behind it, a lot of innovation behind it.

I'm not saying we hit the ball out of the park with every single game we put out, I think some were better than others, but that genre had a huge spike and an almost immediate long decline. And eventually it got to the point where we couldn't put out the quality level of games we wanted to affordably, profitably. So what we're doing now is we're retrenching, the Guitar Hero brand is a very strong brand.

Despite the marketplace performance people really love the brand, so if we can figure out a way to come back with real innovation and reignite the category that's what we're going to do. What we couldn't do is continue to churn out games in the same basic format profitability.

So I think it's an easy stone to throw to say we ran it into the ground, you could look at it another way and say we came out with a lot of titles when there was a lot of interest in the titles and struck while the iron was hot.

GC: You were making hay while the sun shone?

EH: And people wanted variety in music and variety in instruments. And we provided games that allow us to do those things. I think there is a stark difference though when people compare that to Call Of Duty. I think that Call Of Duty has grown as a franchise, every single year of its seven years. Call Of Duty exists in the first person shooter genre which has stood the test of time for decades, unlike Guitar Hero which essentially helped invent a genre.

GC: But as far as fans are concerned there is an inherent worry about yearly franchises: have they made the latest game because it needed to be made or because the investors wanted it to be made? Is there are a real creative reason for the game to exist or is this the point at which the franchise should have been given a rest for a year or two?

EH: All I can tell you is that the level of investment, talent, passion that we are pouring into this franchise is higher than ever.

GC: Is there anything you've learnt from what's happened to Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk that you're now applying to how you handle Call Of Duty?

EH: I think they're such separate things because one is in a genre that is seemingly evergreen, the first person shooter, and the other two are in genres that I think were very much driven by pop cultural fads. The lesson that we're applying to Call Of Duty is that we need to make the best game we can every year, we can never rest on our laurels we can never rest on the momentum of the franchise.

But here's the thing, even with our annual release cycle we have yet to over-saturate our fans' desire. Each year we sell more than the year we did previously, the downloadable content that we've sold for Black Ops has broken all the records set by Modern Warfare 2, the numbers of hours people are playing online are still increasing. So one could argue that we're simply doing this new release for our shareholders, one could argue that we're doing it because it's appropriate to keep up with the demands of our fans. Both are true.

Like I said, I would only throw a critical sword, and I would be the first one to throw it, both as a gamer and the CEO of the company, if I felt we were under investing in the quality of the games. We are investing more than anyone in the quality of these games, we have some of the best studio talent in the world, giving them the resources and the time they need, to be great and to deliver excellence.

We're delivering real innovation, Call of Duty Elite was a huge entrepreneurial undertaking. We didn't just put a couple of guys off in the corner of the studio to do additional services, we started an entirely new studio, at great expense, to build the best in class digital service. Much of which will be free to all of our fans, and will really amplify the multiplayer experience. So I think with that kind of innovation, that kind of investment, it would be hard to make the case that we are somehow just harvesting…

GC: It is true that there hasn't been any spin-offs from the brand, but that must've been a temptation?

EH: Well, of course.

GC: At this point you could slap the Call Of Duty name onto pretty much anything.

EH: (laughs) We could've called it Call Of Duty: Skylanders. Probably would've… (laughs)

GC: If you had one of those little action figures, yeah fans would buy that.

EH: Yeah, yeah. So we have avoided that temptation and I think there's a reason for that. That's because the Call Of Duty brand is built on what it does, it does better than anyone. And I think there's a particular flavour of first person shooter that Call Of Duty is absolutely the top of the mountain of. And that doesn't mean that there aren't other good first person shooters that I admire, it's just that they're different games.

And what Infinity Ward and Treyarch and Sledgehammer know to do, they know better than anybody else. It's a formula that has really pleased the market. But like I say we're not resting on our laurels, you're going to see… I don't know if you've played the new Spec Ops modes on our booth?

GC: We have.

EH: They're a complete reinvention from where we were with Modern Warfare 2. You'll see multiplayer… hopefully you'll come to a fan event in Los Angeles called COD XP, you'll see the multiplayer modes have a lot of new innovations. And I think the campaign mode is just a thrill. It's a white knuckle ride.

GC: It is unusual though to see such a successful company with so few major brands, your portfolio is very narrow nowadays. Are you not looking to expand that and how does that work? You're almost starting from scratch now that Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk have fallen away…

EH: I wouldn't say we're starting from scratch.

GC: That's not even really an Activision question, it's more: 'How do you create a new brand in the industry'?

EH: Watch what we do with Skylanders. That's going to be a big investment for us in a new intellectual property. But first let me respond to an observation about the industry: the top 10 games in this industry generate 100 per cent of the profits… we didn't create that situation. Gamers created that situation. Gamers are telling us as an industry what they want, which is that they want to go deeper into gaming universes and spend more time with fewer, deeper, more robust games.

With that as a marketplace I think responding with a narrower slate of deeper, more connected, more ambitious games is a very sensible point of view. I think if you woke up today from a coma and hadn't looked at the game space in a few years. You would survey the landscape and you wouldn't strive for a wide slate, you would strive for a narrow high quality one. But you would strive to make games that were deeply connected, very rich. Have a lot of continuous content, have a lot of expansion of the universe. And every bet that we're making meets that description.

That's what Call Of Duty is, with Call of Duty Elite that will only get greater. We'll have a bigger stream of downloadable content than ever before with Modern Warfare 3. With Skylanders from day one you'll be able to play the game on all three major consoles, on your iPhone, Android device, on the Web - this is a gaming universe larger on day one than most games have in their entire life cycle. Not to mention the fact that we're manufacturing 32 toys, so what we're doing is we're narrowing our focus to where we feel we have something unique to offer to gamers that we can do better than anyone else.

And what we don't want to do is try to spread our chips around the table and try to compete in every category just because a category exists. We want to make the games we feel we can make better than anyone else, that take competitive advantage of either innovation - like what we have with Skylanders, what with toys coming to life; a brand strength and a developer strength, like what we have with Call Of Duty and with Infinity Ward and Treyarch and Sledgehammer; and also sometimes simply the strength of development partner like we have with Bungie.

But also I think you need to remember that Activision Publishing still makes game like GoldenEye 007 Reloaded and Prototype 2 and Spider-Man and X-Men and we're doing those games properly, most of the industry is not able to make those games for smaller more passionate niche audiences profitably. We're doing so and our licence division is extremely profitable.

And Prototype 2 is another game, Prototype 1 was the best-selling new IP at the time and we're doubling down on it. Now Prototype is obviously a much more niche audience, it's ultra violent, it's a vivid sort of grotesque/beautiful, adventure. And we're trying to give Radical the resources they need to make a great sequel. And we're trying to grow that franchise incrementally, year over year. So it's not that we're not willing to take bets…

GC: So as long as a game is profitable, you're willing to take a risk on it? It's not about genres?

EH: Well, it's different each time. With a game that has a naturally narrower audience we try to make a game that's going to delight that audience. And yeah we try to do everything so that it's profitable, in a situation with a game like Skylanders I think when you're establishing a new intellectual property in this industry that's the hardest thing.

You might need to overinvest going in, in order to get the name out and get some familiarity going. But if we're successful we're going to have an annuity on a franchise that we're going to be able to build on. I mean you can imagine what we can do with toys coming to life… what you're imagining is probably a lot like what we're imagining…

GC: You're probably going to use Skylanders as an example to counter to this but why does Activision seem to be slow to support new formats? The Wii is the most successful console of this generation and yet you've hardly released anything for it, you've announced nothing for the Wii U, you've shown nothing for PSVita…

EH: We have announced Call Of Duty for the PSVita.

GC: Yes, but all we saw was a logo, nothing more. Since you are the number one publisher, should you not be leading the field for new formats? It would've been great if the dual sticks of Vita had been demonstrated with a new Call Of Duty game, we're sure there's something interesting you could've shown for the Wii U. Even things like smartphones and digital downloads, you seem very slow as a company to support them…

EH: Well, we're leading the downloadable conetnt space. That's a fact.

GC: That's true and certainly another publisher, and we're not suggesting this would be a better thing, would've flooded the market with horse armour and other meaningless microtransactions.

EH: That's kind of against the orthodoxy of the game, I think the second we make a weapon downloadable and buyable we've…

GC: So are other companies getting their approach wrong?

EH: I can't comment on other companies, but I can say we're getting it right. And I think it's hard to argue with our marketplace results on Call Of Duty. We don't make things like guns or armour buyable. Those advantages are only earned through gameplay and I think that's part of why it's such a successful game because it's a meritocracy. People have to put in the time to improve their game.

But let me respond to your broader question. I would not mistake careful planning and methodical decision making for being slow to respond. I think we have a terrific track record of performing well in new markets and creating some of our own. We helped create the music genre, there was not too long ago that Activision was criticised for being slow to responds to the massively multiplayer online space and then we merged our company with Blizzard.

So I think Call Of Duty Elite is a great example of using social and mobile to expand our core franchises and our core business. When you say slow I think a lot of companies sometime are too fast. 'Hey, a new category! We must compete!' We try to take our approach of we're not going to try and go compete anywhere until we've figured out a way to uniquely contribute and do so as a leader. So I don't think we're slow to respond. I think we're smart to respond.

GC: And just a last question that we've been asking everyone and which you should have a unique insight into: the summer games drought and Christmas rush. I can't be healthy for the industry can it? Especially when you consider half the games are running scared of Call Of Duty, there'd probably be even more coming out in that period if not for your games.

EH: I can't comment on other company's release schedules. I can only comment on our games…

GC: But you wouldn't release something like Prototype 2 in the middle of the Christmas rush would you? You would want it to have more breathing space to establish itself, surely?

EH: Skylanders makes perfect strategic sense to release in October because we're trying to build an installed base so that people can buy toys for Christmas, for their kids. Call Of Duty has been released in November for years, and we've had a lot of success with that strategy.

Prototype isn't being released in the middle of all that, nor was Wipeout, nor was Spider-Man, so we do what's right for each of our games. I can't comment on why there's such a trend or gravitational pull for the industry, but obviously it has to do with the holidays.

GC: Okay, that's great. We want to thank you for all that, you've been a great sport.

EH: Thanks.

I really don't know where I stand with this guy. With everything he says that wins me over he'll say something that turns me against him. I know this is coming from a BF fanboy, but literately everything that made CoD4:MW was stolen from the BF series, and it hasn't bloody changed for 4 (maybe 5) games. It's not all one way traffic though, the co-op from BF3 looks like the directly ripped it from MW2. I won't have the wool pulled over my eyes, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by me like it has a lot of people. I'm not a fan of letting others come up with ideas and then capitalising on them like Acti did with CoD.

It's admirable that Acti have not been as big dickheads as EA have over the mud throwing, but I just wish that they'd both stfu about it all tbh, If you are directly involved with making the game, fine, you can say it's better than it's competition, but for suits that running the publishing company they really should keep it zipped. It's fucking embarrassing. It wouldn't happen in any other business and it shouldn't be happening here. It is unprofessional.

All in all though, I think Acti have a right to be worried. They might have the biggest names in gaming under their belt, but one by one their degrading in quality and their portfolio is becoming very thin. They as a company need to start investing in new games instead of erlying on the same franchises, their add ons and stuff like CoD Elite service to make them money. As soon as you start putting all your eggs in one basket you risk loosing it all.

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I dunno, only the thing about Tony Hawk I disagree with - "it's not like we started harvesting that brand and dumbing down the gameplay."

The rest I think he was spot on, especially the weird rivalry where only either Battlefield or Call of Duty can exist, one has to destroy the other, it's absurd.

As I put a couple of posts back, it sounds like EA's public face is very scared and knows it won't sell as much as CoD. The only people who should care are shareholders.

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