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Activision Says EA’s Mudslinging Isn’t a New Tactic for a Challenger Brand

August 31, 2011 Written by Josh Lewis

Electronic Arts seems to have their targets set on claiming the crown for premiere first-person shooter this holiday season. EA’s Jeff Brown has already gone on record stating that the Call of Duty franchise will be dead in 2-3 years. The attacks on Call of Duty are more than likely being used as a tactic to attract attention to the upcoming release of Battlefield 3, one that Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg claims isn’t really that surprising.

Speaking in regards to EA’s tactics, Hirshberg told Gameindustry.biz:

It’s not a new strategy for challenger brands to try to get themselves mentioned in the same breath as leader brands. Coke didn’t do the Coke challenge, Pepsi did the Pepsi challenge. It’s a tried and true strategy to try and get yourself mentioned as much as possible in the same breath as the leaders so people start thinking of you in that context.

Hirshberg also shared his opinion on what is the best way to approach the market:

What about creating market share? I feel like [EA's commentary] comes from a place that assumes that there’s a finite number of gamers in the world. If we as an industry act like there’s a finite number of gamers in the world, and just beat each other up to get access to them, I think that will come true.

He continued:

On the other hand, if we act like we can constantly pull people into this passion, which is what has happened – the industry has grown exponentially – then I think that we can bake a bigger pie instead of fighting over a bigger slice of the existing one.

It is interesting that a publisher like Activision, one that is perceived by many to milk their franchises, is taking the moral high ground. Then again, public perception is a big part of marketing. Perhaps, Bobby Kotick just left a board meeting where he was told that if Activision made such statements it could potentially lead to more Modern Warfare 3 sales.