Activision’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, is always counting the dollar signs popping up in the gaming market, looking for ways to further grow their own userbase for both fledgling franchises and established brands.
IGN is reporting that Kotick praised Epic Games’ for Fortnite‘s success, mentioning during a conference call that he admired them for attracting gamers of all ages and genders, saying…
“[…] when we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation.
“When we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those.”
This isn’t true at all.
Activision is largely about mirroring success with the least amount of innovation as possible. Let’s not forget that their attempt to lure in female gamers was adding black female Nazis to Call of Duty WW2.
If you chart out the features present in most Call of Duty games it’ll look similar to the annual WWE 2K games, where there are some new modes added (mostly just old modes that were removed in previous iterations), and some new weapons/skins/maps, but it’s largely the same thing over and over again. The only time Activision branched out with something standout was with the space flying segments in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and maybe the four-player co-op in Black Ops 3. Otherwise, they really don’t care about pushing the genre forward in any meaningful or innovative way that hasn’t already been done a thousand times before.
When you look at the rest of Activision’s portfolio outside of their first-person shooter games, what sort of innovation is there? Their main publishing line consists of annual Call of Duty games, the absolutely boring and uninspired Destiny series, and what else? Skylanders has been put on a shelf after they ran it into the ground, just like they did the Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk franchises. The last Crash Bandicoot game they made was just a remake of the original trilogy.
Heck, even Blizzard – the arm that’s supposed to be innovative – is cashing in on old-tropes and tired genres. Overwatch is Team Fortress 2 with waifus designed to keep R34 websites racking in ad revenue for at least a decade. Heroes of the Storm is just cashing in on the MOBA genre that League of Legends and DOTA popularized. And World of Warcraft hasn’t innovated in ages.
Obviously, Kotick was talking to people who don’t keep track of or know anything about the gaming industry, which is probably why they all nodded along in agreement. But more to the point, Kotick’s vision of “inspiration” and “innovation” simply means that you can expect Battle Royale modes as a standard in their new action titles, and more cosmetic microtransactions to keep the billions rolling and the innovation about as stifled as Kayne West’s willingness to construct coherent, sensible statements.