Activision CEO Writes Off Negative ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Reviews & Lower Sales

Dec 4, 2013 by  

Call of Duty Ghosts soldiers

Some moderately worrying news for AAA publishers came earlier this year when Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4 all launched to significantly lower sales than their previous franchise counterparts. Luckily, there was a fairly simple explanation for the sluggish sales upon launch: many fans were simply waiting for the next-gen consoles to arrive, and the chance to play next-gen versions of them.

Call of Duty: Ghosts can now boast of being the best-selling next-gen game of the year, but the critical response was somewhat mixed, to say the least. With an average Metacritic score of 74, Call of Duty: Ghosts was blasted for sticking too rigidly to the formula set by the nine previous console entries, and lacking fresh ideas.

Despite these criticisms, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg has labelled Call of Duty: Ghosts a success. When asked in an interview with VideoGamer whether or not the two-year development cycle and annual release of each CoD title was leading to franchise fatigue, Hirshberg responded by saying that numbers speak louder than words:

“Obviously I don’t agree with the critics there. I know that Call of Duty’s a polarising franchise with some of the critics, and it’s clear to me that not all the critics like our strategy of making a game every year, but thankfully our fans do.

“It’s also clear to me that the critical response doesn’t always mirror the fans’ appreciation of a game. We actually do read the critics’ comments and take them into consideration during our creative process, but we just can’t measure ourselves by that yardstick alone.

Call of Duty Ghosts Live Action Trailer

“Our most important audience is our fans, so we try to stay laser-focused on making games that they love. If you look at the fact that [Ghosts is] the most pre-ordered game of the year, it’s the most pre-ordered next-gen game of the year, it’s already the number one most played on Xbox Live, and that we’re seeing longer average playtimes than ever before, we’re confident that we’re doing well by the criteria that matter most.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Call of Duty: Ghosts will manage to beat out Black Ops II, which has already sold over 24 million units. If it doesn’t, there are indications that Activision will chalk it up to the console market being shaken up by the arrival of the Xbox One and PS4; Hirshberg also stated his belief that, “It would be a mistake to conflate the challenges of the console transition year with any indications about the health of the franchise.”

It shouldn’t come as news that a games publisher cares more about sales than reviews, and generally cares about reviews only insomuch as they impact upon said sales. Amidst claims that the Call of Duty franchise is review-proof, it’s easy to accept that fans of the franchise will continue to come back for more every year, regardless of what the critics say. If they’re having fun playing the games, then more power to them.

However, the best way to keep a franchise fresh is to take into account criticisms (especially nagging ones) and trying to improve on them in the next installment, and while still impressive, the lower sales numbers for Call of Duty: Ghosts shouldn’t be written off entirely.

A series’ past success is no guarantee of its continued excellence, and with the release of two new major consoles the time is ripe to shake things up a little in the Call of Duty franchise. If nothing else, take the criticism not as meaningless, but motivation to make a game that no one can accuse of being recycled.


Call of Duty: Ghosts is available now for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4.

Source: VideoGamer


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  1. I hate ghosts very disappointed I bought the digital copy I wish I had not done that cause I’d already took it back and traded it in for battlefield 4 but I’m stuck with it now fml…. Lol

    • Like you I did the same thing but I just deleted off my system as we speak I hate that damn game

  2. 80% of the deaths in Ghosts is because of the spawns. Campaign was way to easy, even on veteran. Battlefield 4 is way better, and as for Call of Duty Ghosts, This game sucks!!

  3. One last thing. If you guys want to agree with me. Leave the Call of Duty games to Treyarch.

  4. And nobody is going to give GTAV credit here? I haven’t touched cod since mw2, but I actually like ghosts, extinction is easily better than stupid ass zombies. But my point being every franchise listed seems to want to ignore rockstars masterpiece of a game.

  5. The best way to get your point across is to stop buying these games, people! Ghosts is an utter disappointment that looks and performs worse than many games in the same realm. On PC the game performs ever more worse. Ghosts, even though they spent gazillions on it, got a very poor PC port. Details look horrible. Frame rate drops are everywhere on a high-end gaming rig.

    Instead of preordering these COD copies, RENT IT INSTEAD. If you like it, then buy it. Don’t be one of those people that says “waste of $60!” Say, “a rental waste of $2!” instead! If it sucks you save $58!

    I bet the next COD will be just as bad, but I could be wrong. As sales decrease, Activision may eventually pull its head out of its own egotistical ass.

    Activision’s CEO is blind as a bat… I’m not surprised, though. Because he’s swimming in money. I would ignore the complaints too if I were rich!

  6. Nobody listens anyway, they never have, and they never will.

  7. I agree, this game is junk.
    Maps are big with the worst spawns, graphics(xbox360 and xbox1) are washed out and burn my eyes, guns are bad, new gametyes suck and the old classics are missing. Kills streaks are lame lame lame. Dog is way Op. Like 40 perks and only ten are worth using and/or necessary to compete when you die so fast. The community plays like bitches, no dedicated servers like promised, dlc is comical. Michael Myers, really infinity ward.
    The whole xbox1 was a scam.

  8. why can you not when playing multiplier that when people on your team leave and the teams don’t get re balances. I think that there should be an updata that should let that happen. Please can you think about it and maybe put it in place.

  9. Cod went downhill after MW2 but ghosts is bringing back the old competetive feel i personally like it. But i hate how in cods a riotshield can be carried stupid and op. It should be taken out or made a killstreak or possibly make it weak so bullets can penitrate it after some shots. IMO they are heading in the right direction again.

  10. How can he say “we listen to the fans” i have had every single call of duty game, and they dont care about the cheats, every game on the PC is riddled with them, the only game that didnt have cheats was black ops 1, as the servers allowed people to manage their own servers and kick anyone out who was cheating, THAT WORKED.

    Yes like mugs we pre order it, because we are always promised it will be better, and everytime it isnt. You take away games types that we like, you dictate what we can choose to play, and when, COD is dead, killed by a 12 year old with an aimbot.

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