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Activision: EA' Mudslinging Is No New Thing For a "Challenger Brand"

| 30 Aug 2011 22:35
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Activision's Eric Hirshberg responds to EA's latest batch of name calling, pointing out that calling your competitors nasty names isn't exactly a new strategy.

It's been an exciting month for fans of frivolous corporate feuding. Earlier in the month, we reported that Activision's Eric Hirshberg took a dim view of EA CEO John Riccitiello's harsh comments about Modern Warfare 3, claiming that mudslinging was "bad for the industry."

EA's response was the corporate relations equivalent of taking a picture of Hirshberg and scribbling a crude penis on his forehead. "Welcome to the big leagues Eric - I know you're new in the job but someone should have told you this is an competitive industry," said EA's Jeff Brown, presumably while making obscene gestures with his free hand. He went on to add, "you've got every reason to be nervous. Last year Activision had a 90 [percent] share in the shooter category," he continued. "This year, Battlefield 3 is going to take you down to 60 or 70. At that rate, you'll be out of the category in 2-3 years."

The gloves are now, apparently, well and truly off. Talking to GameIndustry.biz, Hirshberg shot back with some criticism of his own, pointing out that trash talking and needless comparisons are common advertising strategies for "challenger brands." "It's not a new strategy for challenger brands to try to get themselves mentioned in the same breath as leader brands. Coke didn't do the Coke challenge, Pepsi did the Pepsi challenge," he said, (ouch. Comparing EA to Pepsi is like an eleven on a scale of one to "harsh") "It's a tried and true strategy to try and get yourself mentioned as much as possible in the same breath as the leaders so people start thinking of you in that context."

Hirshberg went on to reiterate his earlier points." I feel like [EA's commentary] comes from a place that assumes that there's a finite number of gamers in the world." He said, "If we as an industry act like there's a finite number of gamers in the world, and just beat each other up to get access to them, I think that will come true."

Then he broke out his adorable "growing cake" metaphor again, this time adding a little more detail. "On the other hand, if we act like we can constantly pull people into this passion, which is what has happened - the industry has grown exponentially - then I think that we can bake a bigger pie instead of fighting over a bigger slice of the existing one," he said. Indeed, in a perfect world the entire game industry would be one giant cake, and you and I, gentle reader, well ... we would be the frosting.

Source: Industry Gamers

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