Activision CEO on Call of Duty: Ghosts reviews: 'Obviously I don't agree with the critics'
Call of Duty: Ghosts, by standards set forth by its own predecessors, hasn't received the best of scores. For a franchise that normally receives nearly perfect review scores on an annual basis, the current 70-ish average on Metacritic isn't sitting well with Activision's CEO Eric Hirshberg. Whether it was gamer fatigue, the console transition, or maybe the generic plot, reviewers found much to criticize with Ghosts, and Hirshberg doesn't agree.
When asked by Game Informer if the CEO was concerned that annualizing a franchise has the potential to damage the brand, Hirshberg responded, "Well no, obviously not -" while adding "and obviously I don't agree with the critics there."
"I know that Call of Duty's a polarizing franchise with some of the critics, and it's clear to me that not all the critics like our strategy of making a game every year," he said, "but thankfully our fans do.
"It's also clear to me that the critical response doesn't always mirror the fans' appreciation of the game," he added. Activision hasn't been quite as open with Ghosts' sales numbers as it has been with past Call of Duty titles, but the publisher did reveal that the game sold $1 billion into retail after just one day. Keep in mind, that's not the number sold to actual consumers, though. Activision has also noted, on several occasions, that Call of Duty: Ghosts has been the most-pre-ordered game on next-gen consoles.
"We actually do read the critics' comments and take them into consideration during our creative process, but we just can't measure ourselves by that yardstick alone," Hirshberg explained. "Our most important audience is our fans, so we try to stay laser-focused on making games that they love.
"If you look at the fact that it's the most pre-ordered game of the year, it's the most pre-ordered next-gen game of the year, it's already the number one most played on Xbox Live, and that we're seeing longer average playtimes than ever before, we're confident that we're doing well by the criteria that matter most," the CEO concluded.
We've yet to see specific sales numbers, but it's believed that Ghosts' sales have failed to surpass last year's Black Ops 2. Regardless, as long as Call of Duty remains on top every year, I don't see the formula changing drastically in the future.
Were you impressed with Call of Duty: Ghosts?