Hirshberg: There's a false narrative that Activision is risk-averse

"Just because you have a game in every genre does not mean you're creative," says publishing boss

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has told CVG he believes there's "a false narrative" that the company's risk-averse.

While the publisher has been criticised in some quarters for its reliance on a small number of flagship franchises and for annualising series like Call of Duty, Hirshberg strongly rejects suggestions that the firm's line-up isn't diverse.


"I think there is a false narrative that all Activision wants to do is put out a Call of Duty every year, when in fact we've shown some real innovation and appetite for risk," he said in a newly published interview.

"I think that publishers which have wider and 'more diverse' slates are far less risky than us, are far less creative. Just because you have a game in every genre does not mean you're creative."

Hirshberg added: "First-person shooters have been stable for a number of generations now, and I don't think that just because Destiny and Call of Duty are in the same genre that they are not diverse.

"I think they couldn't be more different from one another. One is a deep, mythological sci-fi epic opera in space, the other is a gritty action movie that's come to life. The games are very different from a pacing and design standpoint too, so I think there is diversity there, you just might not see it at face value."

Hirshberg also pointed to the firm's newest billion dollar franchise, Skylanders.

"It's a new IP, a new genre, a new play-pattern, untested in an area of the business that was shrinking. I feel like people breeze past that when they ask me about diversity. I don't know anyone that's taken a bigger bet on a less proven franchise based on their gut-instinct than we did with Skylanders."