Activision has revealed that the company initially wanted to team up with a company for the immensely popular Skylanders series, and they wanted that specific partner to be Nintendo. The company was surprised that Nintendo didn’t want to partner with them as they thought Nintendo would have been the perfect fit for the franchise.
“We had been directed towards thinking about something that would play well with Nintendo,” says Ford. “I think there was some co-marketing money and the Wii was doing well. They had some success with peripherals.”
“They spent a long time looking and looking,” says Reiche. “They were just like ‘we have never seen anything like this before.’ I’ve always wondered about the full meaning of that comment [laughs].” Although there was a limited co-marketing deal, Nintendo did not want to make a full commitment to Skylanders. “We have no idea why,” says Reiche. “Clearly, they have got properties well suited to this world. Why it is that they didn’t rush in here will probably haunt them for the rest of their days.”
“Reiche is still surprised that the entertainment giant which reacted most quickly was Disney, which launched Disney Infinity in 2013 and is looking to expand the franchise. “Nintendo could have kicked Disney’s ass,” says Reiche. “If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this.”
Activision has announced during its quarterly financial report that the incredibly popular Skylanders series has generated more than $2 billion worldwide across all of the platforms it has launched on as of December 31st last year. Activision also revealed that it has sold approximately 175 million Skylanders toys.
Activision has announced during its fourth quarter 2013 report that Call of Duty Ghosts was the best-selling title in terms of dollar sales and units sold across Europe and North America. The company also announced that it had better than expected results for the quarter and full year ending December 2013.
Activision’s head of publishing Eric Hirshberg says that the disappointing critical response of the recently released Call of Duty Ghosts hasn’t diminished fan appreciation. Hirshberg shrugged off the mediocre reviews of the title and basically said that if the fans enjoy it, then that’s all that matters.
“Well no, obviously not – and 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.”
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed during the publisher’s Q3 2013 that a new Call of Duty title and Skylanders title will be coming next year. It’s unknown at this point who is developing the next instalment of the immensely popular Call of Duty franchise. Rumours have been going round that suggest Sledgehammer is working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4.
“Despite short-term uncertainties, as we look forward to 2014, we have a very strong product pipeline. We expect multiple new releases across our major franchises, including the first Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, along with the PS4 version of Diablo III and significant and exciting new content for World of Warcraft. We also expect to launch new Call of Duty and Skylanders titles and a major new potential franchise with Bungie’s Destiny.”
Activision Publishing announced today that the company sold more than $1 billion of Call of Duty: Ghosts into retail stores worldwide as of day one.
“Call of Duty is by far the largest console franchise of this generation,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “More people have played Call of Duty this year than ever before, logging four billion hours of gameplay. And in the last 12 months, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, including its digital content, generated more revenues than any other console game ever has in a single year. Although it is too early to assess sell-through for Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’s launching at a time when the franchise has never been more popular.”
Millions of people are already playing Call of Duty: Ghosts online. Since its release yesterday, Call of Duty: Ghosts has moved to the #1 spot as the most played game on Xbox Live, according to Microsoft. Additionally, Activision confirmed that on the Xbox 360 videogames and entertainment system from Microsoft, average player sessions for Ghosts have been longer than either Black Ops II or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, during the same time period.
Call of Duty: Ghosts launched at 15,000 midnight openings around the world. Fans around the world shared their excitement in social media, with Call of Duty-related terms trending an astounding 20 times globally on Twitter in the last 24 hours.
“Ghosts is an amazing game which ushers in the next generation of Call of Duty. The team at Infinity Ward has delivered yet another epic thrill ride in the campaign, and what I think is our best multiplayer game yet,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “This is the must have launch title for the next generation of consoles, and we expect Call of Duty: Ghosts to be the most successful launch title for the Xbox One and PS4 by a wide margin. In fact, according to GameStop, Call of Duty: Ghosts is their most pre-reserved next gen title.”
Former Infinity Ward artist Justin Thomas, who also worked on Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, has told MCV that the popular first person shooter was originally called Medal of Honour killer. Thomas said that the Call of Duty team were devoted to making a better experience than EA’s Medal of Honour offered to consumers. Clearly it would appear that they surpassed their goal, as Call of Duty is now one of gaming’s biggest franchises.
“The project was actually named ‘MOH killer’ until an official name could be found. We were focused more on fun than success, with the idea that if it was fun, it would be successful. We were just going to make a great game, and do the things better than we did on previous projects. The great thing is that a team learns from previous projects.”