Last month, EA bought casual gaming studio PopCap for $750 million, and immediately there was speculation as to whether or not Activision should buy Zynga. While many gaming companies continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on social gaming, Activision isn't one of them.
At the 13th Annual Pacific Crest Global Technology Leadership Forum, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg made it quite clear that casual gaming is not going to hurt his company anytime soon. He pointed out that a title like Call of Duty is still much more popular than any game on Facebook.
"Call of Duty has more players who pay-to-play online than any Facebook game and our players pay more per player on average than any Facebook game," Hirshberg said according to Gamasutra. "They're also more engaged – the percentage of Call of Duty's monthly unique players that play the game every day is higher than that of the top three Facebook games."
Activision has refused to embrace the Facebook gaming market, instead focusing on triple-A console game development, downloadable content, and online businesses that are not necessarily centered around the social network. Hirshberg also outlined where he saw the gaming industry today: "Despite all the hand-wringing in our industry right now, people aren't gaming less," he said. "In fact, they're gaming more than ever. They're just doing it with fewer games, and they're spending more time playing those games than ever before."
While it's not a good idea to ignore a new and quickly growing market in your industry, Activision is probably making a smart move in not trying to do everything at once. Its competitors are likely to make a pretty penny from casual gaming and social gaming, but that doesn't mean Activision can't make money by just focusing on hardcore gaming.
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