Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is calling for reduced prices on videogame consoles, saying the high cost of hardware is becoming “prohibitive.”
Speaking in an interview with the Times Online, Kotick said the industry risks pricing itself out of its dominant position in competition with other forms of entertainment, particularly during times of economic downturn. While some analysts have referred to the videogame industry as “recession-proof,” citing strong performance in 2007 and 2008 despite an overall negative economic climate, Kotick suggested that trend may not last forever.
“It used to be the case that we did well during slowdowns because if you couldn’t afford to go to the movies or to travel to a theme park, you stayed home and played a computer game,” he said. “But now I think that the hardware manufacturers are going to have to think about reducing their prices because the cost of purchasing some of this stuff is prohibitive.”
Kotick said the industry is changing and growing, noting a “demographic expansion” driven by the increasingly cinematic nature of the gaming experience. “There’s now going to be a rivalry between feature films and computer games. We are not there yet, but it will happen – there will be a narrative,” he said. “The physical appearance of the game has changed, which is attracting new people, and there is a real sense of a social game. With the internet, people on different sides of the world can play against each other. People who had never before played a videogame are picking one up now.”
He also predicted that despite the increasing numbers of women taking up the hobby, so-called “male-oriented” games would remain predominant in the market. “I don’t think you need to have gratuitously violent products,” he said. “But no company can afford to turn its back on a $45 billion section of the market. They are as important to the business as R-rated movies are to films.”