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Vivendi Chairman: Treyarch's Black Ops Has Outdone 'Reconstructed' Infinity Ward

Vivendi chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy says Activision is "over" its Infinity Ward challenges, with the studio "reconstructed" -- and that Treyarch's Black Ops has outdone Infinity Ward's work besides.
After something of a turbulent year surrounding the Call of Duty brand, Activision Blizzard now has much to celebrate -- Black Ops' $650 million sales in its first five days is about $100 million more than previous record-holder Modern Warfare 2. It can be viewed as something of a vindication for the publisher, following the explosion at Infinity Ward, the ousting of its studio heads and persistent questions about what would come next for the franchise. "The number of people playing online and the number of hours they are playing demonstrates how online gaming has become a mainstream form of entertainment and certainly validates Activision Blizzard’s leadership role in online entertainment," CEO Bobby Kotick said at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in Barcelona, as reported by the Financial Times [reg required]. Parent company Vivendi's chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy also spoke at the event -- he said the success of Treyarch's Black Ops is evidence Activision has "got over" the Infinity Ward problems. "The Treyarch studio, which made this year’s game, has done better than what Infinity Ward could achieve a year ago," said Levy. Once the studio's co-founders, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, left to found their Respawn Entertainment, a number of Infinity Ward staff was said to have left the studio to join them, leaving many to question Infinity Ward's future prospects. But on that matter Levy is also confident. "We have reconstructed Infinity Ward, we are very happy with the way we have been able to reconstruct it," said Levy. The exec also noted that Sledgehammer Games, the studio formed by former execs of EA's Visceral Games studio, is a key component of Activision's three-studio Call of Duty operations. "We believe this set-up of studios. . . has demonstrated it can do very well, for sure," said Levy.

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