It’s no secret that there has been a constant back and forth between Call of Duty publisher Activision and Battlefield 3 publisher Electronic Arts over which has the better 2011 release — each has made their thoughts about the other very public. While both have had choice words for the other, one of the parties involved wishes to stop this name-calling and call a truce.
At his Gamescom keynote yesterday, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg knew he had to address the elephant in the room, and did so by asking his colleagues to focus on delivering great games, not on bad mouthing each other in the press.
According to Hirshberg, the existence of titles like Battlefield 3 should push Activision to do better, to keep the gamers, who are ultimately the judge and jury, happy. But when two or more developers get involved in a war of words they aren’t trying to do anything but prove, through words, that the other is the lesser of the two options, not saying they are the better.
Of course Hirshberg doesn’t think that EA’s denouncement of Call of Duty is appropriate — comparing it to the idea of film studios bashing each other — but if the games can speak for themselves why not let them?
“Competition is of course a good thing. It keeps us all on our toes and ultimately makes the games better. It’s healthy. But it’s one thing to want your game to succeed and another thing to actively, publicly say you want other games to fail.”
I tend to agree with Hirshberg in that competition amongst publishers does breed evolution, but oftentimes a little “mudslinging” can’t hurt. Whether or not Electronic Arts or Activison have gone too far is up to the individual, but saying they want to see Call of Duty “rot from the core” isn’t necessarily criticizing a flaw about the game, just wishing ill.
“Recently a competitor of ours was quoted as saying that he wants to see Call of Duty ‘rot from the core’. I’ve been asked countless times to respond to this comment and I’ve generally chosen not to. My job is to help our incredibly talented, passionate teams to make the best games they can, not to throw insults around at others. But I actually feel this kind of rhetoric is bad for our industry.”
If EA had gone with a valid criticism, perhaps looking at Modern Warfare 3 using the same engine iteration-to-iteration, then that would have pushed Infinity Ward, Activision, and Treyarch to work harder, not call for a truce.
Still, there’s a big war to be had on the first person shooter front this fall, and one title will come out on top and the other will…well it will probably be very popular too (or at least analyst Michael Pachter seems to think so). Pick one, pick both of them, or pick none of them — it all comes down to the consumer in this equation not who is better than who, or who said this about the other company.
Do you agree with Hirshberg’s sentiments? Has the back-and-forth between Activision and Electronic Arts affected your feelings towards either game?
Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.