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Activision seeks to 'do the right thing' for players, says Hirshberg

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Amidst criticisms of Activision being a Call of Duty machine or a "heartless" corporation, the company is striving to "do the right thing" for its players by honing in on and developing strong franchises, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told Edge Online in a recent interview.

"Look, this is a company of passionate people who make games and love making games. I'm certainly aware of all of the reputational perceptions out there but I think they're incorrect and this is a company that has consistently made some of the most well liked and most played gaming experiences and that hasn't happened by accident," he said.

Hirshberg noted that choosing not to invest in many smaller, more off-the-beaten-track games and mobile titles doesn't make the company "risk-averse."

"I think that we've been a little bit more experimental where it comes to mobile games thus far but I also think that we are who we are as a company — and we're a very focused company," he said. "Our strategy is to do a few things and do them exceptionally well. I think that sometimes people misperceive that as somehow being risk-averse, and yet we're taking some of the biggest risks in new genres and new business models and new IPs than anybody. So the fact that we only do it a handful of times doesn't lessen the fact there's a lot of risk and complexity baked into anything new you try.

"Skylanders is a brand that didn't exist eighteen months ago — people forget that already because it's been so successful," he added. "It was not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven."

According to Hirshberg, Activision's relationship with Destiny studio Bungie is in a good place. Hirshberg said it was important to Bungie that the studio stay independent throughout their partnership on Destiny, and there are no plans to bring the developer in-house.

"It's a partnership — obviously they're an independent company and independence is very important to them and were happy to support that with the way we constructed this agreement, being a ten year deal," he said. "It's a partnership that takes both an Activision and a Bungie to bring to life."