Activision Blizzard Inc. CEO Eric Hirshberg believes this year’s latest “Call of Duty” installment “Advanced Warfare” will outsell 2013’s “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” The latest title was developed by Sledgehammer Games and launched on Tuesday.
"We see purchase intent well above last year and we see engagement with the brand in social media channels all being markedly up, so I'm still optimistic," Hirshberg told Gamesindustry earlier this week. "Preorders are a good barometer for day one, but I don't think they reflect the overall demand for the product," says Hirshberg. "[They] don't represent what they used to - because of the move to digital and all the ways people can buy the game."
“Advanced Warfare,” a shooter starring actor Kevin Spacey set in the future, is the first “Call of Duty” title from Foster City, California-based Sledgehammer Games, the start of a three year cycle.
"Sledgehammer's ride with the company has been a roller coaster," Hirshberg added. "They were brought on to do an offshoot of the series -a third-person game, which is still a game I want to play some day - but they got roped in to ride shotgun on development of ‘Modern Warfare 3.’ And while we never would have designed it this way, it turned out great in hindsight, because it gave them a chance to cut their teeth on the franchise and ... how to deliver a Call of Duty game. Our brief to them was: Go further than you think we want you to go.”
Players who purchase the title on seventh-generation platforms Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will get free upgrades to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 3 are nearing their one-year anniversaries, though Hirshberg couldn’t confirm whether this will be the last “Call of Duty” game on last-gen devices.
"Console transitions are hard to manage for companies like ours," he explained. "But if you have to have a set of problems, I'd rather have those problems be that adoption is going faster than expected and (older) software is dropping faster than expected, because that points to the future."
As the holiday season approaches, time will tell how well “Advanced Warfare” will sell compared to last year’s “Ghosts,” which was developed by Infinity Ward and has sold 19 million copies since February of this year.