There's a lot of pressure on developer Treyarch to deliver the goods with this year's Call of Duty: Black Ops
, especially as original Call of Duty
developer Infinity Ward copes with a recent brain drain -- and publisher Activision Blizzard is getting fully behind the title, saying spending for its November launch is setting records at the company.
"It's the biggest investment that we've ever made in the launch of a title," said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in an analyst call following the release of second quarter financial results
Some analysts have speculated that the Call of Duty
series peaked with Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2
, and that the franchise would stop topping itself financially going forward. According to Kotick, however, Activision thinks it will continue expanding Call of Duty
's audience with Black Ops
, which is set in the 1960s and deals with military espionage and secret missions rather than traditional wartime conflicts.
"The product has incredibly broad appeal, but it also has a whole host of functions that are going to be unique to the core consumer," the CEO said. "It's the most appropriate Activision product to put these kinds of resources behind."
It's the seventh main entry in the series, which began in 2003 and grew to become the heaviest hitter in the first-person shooter segment. Kotick acknowledged the increasingly competitive environment -- Electronic Arts hopes to bring its own Medal of Honor
franchise back to the fore this fall -- but expressed his confidence in Treyarch's efforts.
"There's a lot of competition," he said, "and this is something that we think has the potential to break through and appeal to a much broader consumer base than ever before."