Fresh from his speech at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg sat down with Venturebeat to look back at his first year with the company. The year has brought the company the biggest game launch of all time in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, along with the new Skylanders franchise, and thecommunity built up around the Call of Duty franchise in the COD Elite network and COD XP convention. Hirshberg points to the transformation of gaming into specific brands as being a turning point for the industry, comparing consumers' dedication to games to following a sports team.
"Games are different, because they're not disposable, they're not one-time. They really are relationships. The way you interact with a game has much more in common with the way you interact with a sport that you love, or a hobby that you love, that's ongoing and long-lasting, than with how you watch a movie. Which you do for two hours and then you move on. So I think all we're trying to do is look at that behavior and change the way we talk to people about games."
Hirshberg sees tapping that level of interaction as Activision's key to marketing new games to customers, and the social elements the company is introducing are designed to foster this relationship. He also touches on the role of creative minds in leading the industry (he trained as an artist before beginning his career in advertising), using Steve Jobs as a prime example of how a creative mind can make a technology company great. Hirshberg showed this creativity last year as he spun an early leak on Modern Warfare 3 into a promotional tool rather than a crisis, but he's left himself a lot to live up to over the next 12 months.