Man, it must be swell to be Activision. They’ve got a ton of studios underneath them, and Call of Duty is a license to print money. EASY PEASY! Except, the company believes that it has taken far more risks lately, than people know about.
Speaking to Edge, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg Hirchberg said that the developer/publisher is “a very focused company” whose “strategy is to do a few things and do them exceptionally well”, but that doesn’t mean it’s it isn’t up to take a risk or two.
“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,” Hirschberg said.
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.
Skylanders is a brand that didn’t 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.
This risky attitude extends to Destiny, the upcoming game from Bungie that is pretty much biblical in scale at this point, a game that Hirshberg says Activision made a “big investment” in. Hirshberg also explained that Activision would be seeking to innovate on an alternative scale. “It’s great for the creativity of the medium. I think if you look at every other art form there’s room for blockbusters and there’s room for an independent scene in films and in music,” Hirshberg said.
The same has always been true in games but because the process of developing and publishing is so much more complex, generally it has been hard, but one of the things I really appreciate about both the first parties with this next generation is that they’re handing the tools over to independent developers, making it easier for them to publish and get their ideas out there.
Hirshberg makes some good points. This may get me scoffed to the max at, but Activision has taken some big risks. What most people see however, is when Activision makes these risks pay off in the long run, with numerous sequels and extensions of these young franchises.
And with the company poised to be independent soon, there’s a chance that it might be taking a bigger gamble when it comes to developing games.