Interview: Activision Mobile's master plan to scale the App Store

Publisher to use key IP in new smartphone push; Division exec claims: 'Smartphones will soon match Xbox 360 quality'

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Pitfall iOS

So I take it the studio will work on key Activision IP?
We have a rich thirty-year history from the Atari days to the Blizzard merger. We have about 350 different brands and IPs to work with. That's legacy IP, that's triple-A IP and that's licences with other companies.

We want to create mobile games from all of these aspects of the Activision portfolio, and build a variety of experiences.

Obviously there is a discoverability issue on mobile where new IPs are getting lost in the ocean of content, so some argue that's why brands like Activision's could dominate the space.
I would definitely say that one of our competitive advantages is the strength of our brands. The creation of new IP is expensive, and when you consider how much money we spend on marketing our IP, we can apply that halo affect to our mobile properties. That gives us a tremendous advantage.

You are going to continue to see us take advantage of our big marketing campaigns to help our mobile products too.

So it sounds like when you, hypothetically, release Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4, there would also be a mobile version of the game that launches at the same time, and you can bring awareness to both editions through a single marketing campaign.
We definitely have that option. We don't have any specific announcements to make on Call of Duty on mobile, but that definitely sounds like a strategy we are pursuing.

'Activision Leeds' now officially named The Blast Furnace

Is there any IP that you're ruling out?
Not really. Our strategy comes back to the gamer. We are asking ourselves: What will be the most fun, attractive and interesting Activision property for the mobile gamer?

Some IP probably maps better to mobile devices, but mobile allows for all kinds of genres. It's a broad fertile field for game creators, unlike social games. So we're not ruling out any IP.

Key Activision brands like Call of Duty have a certain standard of production values attached to them. Do you think mobile devices allow you to keep to that standard that people will be expecting?
The CPU and GPU capabilities of mobile devices will reach Xbox 360 levels of graphical fidelity and processing power within the next generation.

Activision will be creating a mix of casual and immersive gaming experiences on mobile, but as I say smartphones are more and more allowing for us to create those kinds of experiences. The games that Activision publishes on console, the games it publishes on PC, pretty soon we'll be publishing those kinds of experiences on tablets and smartphones.

Are there any specific genres that you're interested in perusing?
I'm very interested in the strategy space and what we can do there. We have amazing racing IP, but I'm really interested in what we can do in the action space. I think that, on mobiles there has been a lack of great action games due to user-interface issues. I think there's a tremendous opportunity for us to innovate in that space.

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