Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claims that the company will always release Call of Duty Games, though the platforms on which they’re played may change.
The Call of Duty series is one of the most popular video game franchises in history, but recently the first person shooter has been criticized for over-saturating the market with a new game every year. Many feel that this “game-a-year” release strategy forces the developers to innovate the games in extreme and sometimes unpopular ways just to distinguish themselves from the previous years' titles.
These new innovations rubbing fans the wrong way was perhaps most explicitly seen with the release of the trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare earlier this year. The game’s science fiction setting did not go over well with some gamers, making the trailer one of the most disliked videos on YouTube.
Even so, it seems that the recent bad press hasn’t discouraged Activision’s faith in the franchise. In an interview with Marketplace, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claims that there will always be Call of Duty games.
"We've had Call of Duty games played on virtually every console for the last 14 years," said Kotick. "So the idea of having a game that centers around armed conflict through history...you never run out of ideas for Call of Duty games. There will always be Call of Duty games. And they'll be played on a variety of devices."
Kotick’s mention of “a variety of devices” was in response to a question about how games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft will adapt to the rising popularity of mobile and smartphone gaming. The CEO went on to say that the Call of Duty franchise can exist on a variety of platforms and that Activision plans to release games wherever the fans are.
Activision is the world’s largest video game publisher, but according to Kotick this doesn’t mean the company can rest on its laurels when it comes to competition. "I look over my shoulder every day," Kotick said. "There is a level of insecurity you have about being a leader in a business and without that insecurity, I think you get complacency."
Kotick is probably looking over his shoulder a little more frequently this year, since EA’s Battlefield 1 releases just two weeks before Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. In contrast to Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1 is set in World War 1 and has received almost universal praise from the video game community, with the reveal trailer racking up over 1 million “likes” within days of its release.
While EA has maintained that rivalry between the two games is “fun competition” one has to wonder if Kotick is enjoying himself.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare releases November 4, 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.