Activision CEO: We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Reputation

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Activision CEO: We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Reputation

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Eric Hirshberg, the newly-appointed CEO of Activision Publishing, thinks that it may be an uphill battle to correct his company's reputation in the eyes of hardcore gamers, but it's one worth fighting.

Back in April, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith - not to be confused with Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick - stepped down. His recently-appointed replacement is "dedicated gamer" Eric Hirshberg, reported Gamasutra, whose prior work as an advertiser may be more well-known to gamers than we think: He was previously the CEO and chief creative officer at the firm behind the genius Kevin Butler campaign for Sony.

Hirshberg has certainly scored a win with the Butler character, but there's a problem bigger than Sony's previously-incomprehensible advertising ahead of him now - Activision's reputation amongst the "hardcore gaming blogosphere." Speaking with Gamasutra, Hirshberg admitted that there were problems. "You sort of can't escape that there's some perceptual problems and an air of controversy, certainly right now."

"I don't think that's anything that's widely-held in the consumer community," said Hirshberg, and he's probably correct in that most of the millions of people buying Call of Duty: The Next One have no idea who Bobby Kotick is. "[But] I definitely think it's something that we need to correct. A company that has so many of the world's most beloved games should have the reputational momentum to match, amongst gamers."

One of the ways Hirshberg could tackle the matter would be to use gamers' sense of humor, as he did with the Kevin Butler character. As it stands, he thinks that videogame marketing feels a bit too serious. "I think that video games are fun, they're entertainment, and advertising should take on that tonality," said Hirshberg, who says that his favorite games include Call of Duty and LittleBigPlanet.

It'll be a hard battle for sure, and it's not a task I envy him for. So here's a free tip, Eric: Teach Bobby Kotick that gamers don't hear the same meaning behind "exploit" as investors do. Or rather, how about you just teach him to think about who's listening before he says things? That might help a little bit.

(Gamasutra)

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Does this means they finally listen to the gamer community? I hope so, but something tells me they won't.

He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

Looks like a nice guys. But looks can be deceiving.

GamesB2:
He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

My thoughts exactly.

"We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Asshole Reputation"

Fixed that. Acitivsion's problem isn't it's target audience, it's the way it presents itself as a company. Kotick isn't a well liked public figure. In fact, quite the opposite, and match that with the Infinity Ward bullshit and the DLC pricing for MW2 and presto, you've got your universally hated company.

Yep thats right Eric your now incharge of putting out a 20 story building fire with a glass of water. Congrats!

Enjoy and remember, the secret is not just to make it seem like you're not trying to get easy money, but actually make an original game and not just milk it for years.

Also, Bobby Kotick... something about him, I forget.
Why am I holding a pipebomb?

Kevlar Eater:

GamesB2:
He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

My thoughts exactly.

Amen.

Frequen-Z:
"We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Asshole Reputation"

Fixed that. Acitivsion's problem isn't it's target audience, it's the way it presents itself as a company. Kotick isn't a well liked public figure. In fact, quite the opposite, and match that with the Infinity Ward bullshit and the DLC pricing for MW2 and presto, you've got your universally hated company.

QFT. Couldn't said it better.

In all honesty, EA has redeemed themselves sorta and are actually out of the evil spotlight. Activision certainly didn't do better charging 30 bucks for both mappacks in total, asking more money for garbage, I have seen them publishing a game on the iPhone Appstore, it's content and gameplay isn't better than those who are worth 99 cents, instead, they charge a embarresing 3,99 for it. Need for Shift from EA is like 5,99 and has ALOT more content, graphics and the entire package.

This occured today. Screw Activision until the end of time. Still boycotting them.

Didn't Activision lose all credibility as a 'hardcore' developer back when Call of Duty 3 came out and they decided they'd go for the whole 7 year old 'Zomg quickscope, call my self XxXx OpTiiCzzzz xXxX' audience. Then charge 65 for a horribly inbalanced game, 12 for 2 maps, 2 old ones from the last game they made and then say they want to charge people monthly fees and that they think not having dedicated servers is a fun idea and that gamers REALLY want an average ping of about 200ms and a host with godlike abilities to not frigging die.

See Bobby, it doesn't take much. Just admit that you were a total prick and gamers might start to not use your name for a euphemism for dog eggs.

Eric's already got it. And that headline alone has bought you back a point above certain other manufacturers.

Friday's Headline better not be "Bobby Kotick calls Gamers a 'Resource To Be Tapped'" though...

But... Activision doesn't make hardcore games. And stopped having a hardcore reputation some time after CoD 2.

He can start with "FREE GAMES FOR EVERYONE!" Like Oprah "You get a game... you get a game.."

I hope this guy is a step in the right direction, i'd like to see them make a new franchise but I can't help but think that won't happen.

I still don't think i'll be buying any activision games soon though, not with the way they act.

This title made me spray tea laughing so hard. Activision is about as "hardcore" as a marshmallow, if they get any more casual they'll start making shovel-ware and family games.

Incidentally, I wonder how many guys in PR lost their job for allowing Kotick to ever communicate with the gaming public?

I was hyped when I saw the title, which made me believe that Kotick has been recently kicked. Unfortunately, it is not... Oh well, hope he could make a puppet out of Kotick so that Activision will have a better image. :D

Lolz yeh man just get your Boss to STFU, then your Golden! XD

Wait.
People actually LIKED the Kevin Buttler ad campaign?

Good step in favor of the supposed 'hardcore' community would be fixing Battle.Net 2.0 for SC2. Give back LAN, give chats, give more map making freedom, get rid of region lock, fix custom games browsing and password protection.

Then again, they probably just will stick those politics to shooters *cries*

Tell Kotick to just watch what he says around people. Or at least think about them/clarify. Like stated, there were a lot of things said that sound great to investors, but not to the gaming population.

I suppose it boils down to don't make it look like you're out JUST to make money. Make good games without burning out your franchises, and we gamers will gladly give you our money.

10thDegree:
Wait.
People actually LIKED the Kevin Buttler ad campaign?

His speech at E3 was fucking epic.

The guy may be getting paid to say what he's saying, but he's still a charming guy.

All this guy is just another person who realizes Activision needs to control their propaganda better. There is little he can do to actually improve the way they do business and the impact that has on the games they publish. He is just admiting they have the image of a wolf when what they really want is a wolf in sheep's clothing. :P

Frequen-Z:
"We Need to Fix Our Hardcore Asshole Reputation"

Fixed that. Acitivsion's problem isn't it's target audience, it's the way it presents itself as a company. Kotick isn't a well liked public figure. In fact, quite the opposite, and match that with the Infinity Ward bullshit and the DLC pricing for MW2 and presto, you've got your universally hated company.

And don't forget the bullshit they pulled with Brutal Legend. No amount of public PR is going to fix Activision. They need to change the way they treat their customers and their developers and I highly doubt that's going to happen.

I'm wondering how long it will take before this guy's efforts at PR get royally sabotaged by another one of Kotick's "brilliant ideas" that he reveals to the public.

The only way Activision will be getting any more money from me is if they fire Nobby Kotick, take all of his money away from him and force him to play Totemball with Jack Thompson for the rest of his natural life. And cut off all of his limbs too. Even then I probably wouldn't bother buying anything from them seeing as the only two franchises they will have in the future will be Call of Duty and [total shite] Hero, unless they do indeed merge the two and make twice as many titles per hour as they would have done.

Kevlar Eater:

GamesB2:
He can start by putting a bullet in Bobby Kotick...

My thoughts exactly.

It's just about the only thing that will help.

I feel for this guy. I mean, he's just been given an impossible task. It would be easier to make [GW Bush/ Hitler/ Justin Bieber] seem [Smart / a good guy / a good musician]. Select as appropriate.

I'm going for "make Hitler seem like a good musician".

Here's an idea: stop pandering to hardcores. Sure, there's nothing wrong with a game made for a certain demographic or taste in game, but there's so much pandering to that demographic that you're gonna end up alienating new gamers.

I can give them one place to start with a certain CEO's greedy comments...

They have ALOT of work to do, and, I dont even know if its possible...but, I suppose if Sony can do it...

All I can read from that is "We need to make it look like we're giving in to the idea that hardcore gamers actually exist and aren't just a target market we made up which these dumb fucks who call themselves 'hardcore' are actually buying in to"

Or maybe thats just me.

I feel sorry for this guy for having to clean up Bobby Kotick's mess. But at the same time, I admire him for taking on the challenge.

Let's just hope that Bobby K. doesn't create any more of a mess.

I like this guy, I love his hilarious commercials, and he seems to understand how consumers feel.

Too bad Bobby Kotick is going to probably stonewall him every step of the way.

Keava:
Good step in favor of the supposed 'hardcore' community would be fixing Battle.Net 2.0 for SC2. Give back LAN, give chats, give more map making freedom, get rid of region lock, fix custom games browsing and password protection.

Then again, they probably just will stick those politics to shooters *cries*

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

Well, when the core values of your company are:

1) Annualize all franchises.
2) Exploit our consumers with overpriced games and content.
3) Treat all our employees like shit.

Yeah, I think maybe you need to reevaluate yourself a bit.

John Funk:

You know that we are getting chats and cross-region play after launch, right?

The region locking makes sense when you think about it - what they're doing with the special pricing models for places like Russia/South America, etc. It's already segmented, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was harder to implement normal cross-region play right off the bat with it. But they've said they'll be adding it for sure.

Oh i know, but it's still unknown when exactly. I remember Blizzard was quite keen on Soon(TM) even prior to merge with Activision.

I don't really see how the subscription based model for Russia/S.America would prevent cross-region gameplay tho. If you remember from a brief beta glitch, you had the message saying "Out of play time", so it is an option implemented core in game. I suppose they would be perfectly compatible.

If i recall correctly the reasoning was 1. Lag 2. Building tighter community. While 1st reason can be acceptable, it is still not the kind of protection die hard fans apparently want. Then again, i should be happy, i wont get my ass beaten by Koreans right away. Second is just silly along with other changes, can't build community by splitting it.

And those are just 2 issues out of many that people have with new b.net. I still think they should go back to sc1/wc3 sort of handling it, till they can provide full service.

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