Eric Hirshberg, the newly-appointed CEO of Activision Publishing, has admitted the company needs to work on regaining the trust of the hardcore.
Speaking with Gamasutra, Hirshberg said with Activision shifting its focus on the mass market, the hardcore demographic is still important and the company needs to regain its reputation among the group.
“I think there’s certainly a reality to [a bad reputation] in the hardcore gaming blogosphere,” he said. “You sort of can’t escape that there’s some perceptual problems and an air of controversy, certainly right now.
“I don’t think that’s anything that’s widely-held in the consumer community, but I definitely think it’s something that we need to correct. A company that has so many of the world’s most beloved games should have the reputational momentum to match, amongst gamers.”
Hirshberg said the videogame market also has a tendency to take itself too seriously, thus Deutsch L.A. – his current firm – bringing to life the lovable Kevin Butler for Sony, and Activision hiring him, a marketing exec, to gain a fresh perspective.
“On the whole, on average, I think that video games are fun, they’re entertainment, and advertising should take on that tonality,” he said.
“As far as how the gaming industry communicates [with consumers], I think there’s some excellent work, and I think there’s some not-so-excellent work in the industry. I think one of the struggles and one of the constant debates will be the value of consistency from a single brand versus the value of diversity and the ability to communicate a specific title.
“I think any industry has the tendency to be insular, inward-looking and self-referential, and looking to other disciplines is always a way to get fresh ideas and fresh takes on things.There are those formulas and habits to unlearn.”
Hirshberg’s appointment was announced earlier in the week, and he takes over the position left vacant from Mike Griffith in September.