Success brings with it an inevitable problem – envy.
And in these days of the internet and social media, this can manifest in a hostility that can at times be pretty unrelenting for the biggest companies in gaming.
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg understands this, but also argues that it’s unfair on a publisher that has brought a lot of pleasure to millions of people.
“The fact is that sometimes it’s fun to root against the biggest – both as Activision and with Call Of Duty – and a lot of companies in this industry have experienced that at one point or another,” he told Edge.
“This is a company of passionate people who make games and love making games. I’m certainly aware of all of the reputational perceptions out there but I think they’re incorrect and this is a company that has consistently made some of the most well liked and most played gaming experiences and that hasn’t happened by accident.”
Hirshberg also put up a spirited defence of boss Bobby Kotick.
“Bobby’s the guy who bought Activision out of bankruptcy because he believed in the potential and the power of interactive entertainment,” he added.
“And he’s built it into this incredibly successful company by making great games over a long period of time – I know there’s this other narrative but it doesn’t link up with the reality of the person I work with every day. There’s no greater champion of making great experiences that people really appreciate.”
Elsewhere in the interview Hirshberg praises the growing indie scene and argues that while Activision is not directly involved – big blockbusters are, he happily admits, its primary business – the publisher is sometimes unfairly labelled as risk averse.
“We’re taking some of the biggest risks in new genres and new business models and new IPs than anybody,” he 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.”