“The only thing worse than being talked about,” said Oscar Wilde, “is not being talked about.” Maybe that’s why Activision’s Eric Hirshberg took the time to thank Electronic Arts for the company’s “assistance in building awareness” for the Call of Duty brand. And it's true! EA won't shut up about Call of Duty! Maybe that's how Black Ops got to have the single most profitable DLC installment of all time. Okay, it's probably also because Black Ops is pretty killer, but the extra publicity couldn't have hurt.
Jens Uwe Intat, senior VP for EA in Europe, told game-business publication MCV this week that he's “certain” the company's Battlefield can outsell Call of Duty: “The only question is when that day will be. And for me, the sooner the better.” His sentiments echo more direct belligerence from EA head John Riccitiello, who in April told attendants at an Ad Age conference that Battlefield 3 was “designed to take [Call of Duty] down.”
Above: Activision's Hirshberg, left, and EA's Intat, right
This direct confrontation – defining yourself, in effect, by your opposition – is something Activision avoids: “I think EA might talk about our games in the press more than we do,” said Hirshberg in another interview with MCV: “…we are focusing on the finish line, not the competition.” Whether his aloofness is genuine or the kind of position the publisher at the number one spot can afford, the attitude has paid off: a new survey from financial analysts Forecasting and Analyzing Digital Entertainment lists Black Ops' First Strike map pack as the single most profitable DLC ever, with 2.6 million downloads by more than 20% of Black Ops owners. What do you think of the modern war of words between Battlefield and Call of Duty?
Jun 3, 2011
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