Many people have questioned Activision's decision to largely focus on the Call of Duty franchise. They ask if Call of Duty won't end up just like Guitar Hero has, going from huge success
to being shelved
for the time being. You can now count Activision itself among those asking the question.
has obtained an internal memo the company circulated in February where Activision publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg answered that very question. It directly asks, "Isn't Call of Duty today just like Guitar Hero was a few years back?" Hirshberg responded, "This is a great question and one we have thought about a lot. But there are several key differences between the two franchises worth considering. Guitar Hero quickly reached incredible heights, but then began a steady decline. Call of Duty, on the other hand, has steadily grown every single year of its seven-year existence."
He also cites the consistent popularity of first-person shooters, which stands in stark contrast to the sudden surge that music games like Guitar Hero saw several years ago. "Plus, Call of Duty has inspired a massive, persistent, online community of players, making it perhaps the 'stickiest' game of all time," he added.
"If you really step back and dispassionately look at any measurement -- sales, player engagement, hours of online play, performance of DLC -- you can absolutely conclude that the potential for this franchise has never been greater," he continued. "In order to achieve this potential, we need to focus: on making games that constantly raise the quality bar; on staying ahead of the innovation curve; on surrounding the brand with a suite of services and an online community that makes our fans never want to leave. Entertainment franchises with staying power are rare. But Call of Duty shows all of the signs of being able to be one of them. It's up to us."
Activision -- while not putting all
of its proverbial eggs in the basket of Call of Duty -- is certainly banking on the series to continue to sell big. Between the usual annual releases (including one later this year), its Beachhead
digital platform that still hasn't been detailed, Sledgehammer's new CoD game
, and a microtransaction-based game intended for China, there's a lot coming from the franchise right now. As far as non-Call of Duty content goes, it's also got Bungie's unannounced project
, Spyro's new game
with accompanying real-life toys, and Blizzard's slate of titles to rely on.