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Why Call of Duty (probably) won't convert to the games-as-service model

The CEO of Activision explains why releasing a new game every year is still good business for the Call of Duty franchise.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

August 30, 2017

2 Min Read

"I think that we have tried to find the right solution for each franchise individually, and Call of Duty has really benefitted from that annual innovation moment, that annual reengagement moment where a lot of people, who maybe played for a couple months and had a great experience but moved on to other things, come back and check out the new game."

-- Eric Hisrhberg, CEO of Activision (the Activision-Blizzard subsidiary)

Call of Duty is, by now, one of the few games that still puts out annual releases without many major dips in sales numbers. But while other game companies try to build games-as-service models that can keep players in the same game for many years, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg says Call of Duty still benefits from releasing a unique new game every year. 

In an expansive interview with Game Informer, Hirshberg discusses how Activision is approaching the games-as-service business, and makes some interesting comparisons to the success of Destiny vs the financial future of Call of Duty. For instance, he says that Activision has noticed while Destiny has a stickiness with its core audience, there's difficulty in bringing in new players who might be three years behind their friends in terms of gameplay and rewards. 

Hirshberg says for now, Activision is looking at maintaing content releases for a broader swath of Call of Duty games, rather than just fully supporting one at a time. "You're seeing us now starting to have some success releasing content wherever players are. You just saw us release a big zombie pack in the Black Ops III community, and that game is two-and-a-half years past its launch," Hirshberg says. "I think there’s more we can do to unify the player experience if there are going to be people who move around from game to game."

For more observations from Hirshberg be sure to read the full Q&A over at Game Informer.

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About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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