- Speaking to a group of investment analysts today, Activision CEO (and soon to be Activision Blizzard president and CEO) Bobby Kotick
said the company is considering turning its Call of Duty franchise into a massively multiplayer online game.
Kotick briefly touched on the idea in answer to a question at the 2008 Morgan Stanley Technology Conference about how merging Activision with Vivendi Games might open up new opportunities for both companies.
Before closing its deal with Vivendi (which owns Sierra and Blizzard), Kotick said Activision looked at five years of data on U.S. publishers' attempts to break into the MMO market. Most resulted in failure, cancellation or low profit margins.
By teaming up with Blizzard, which has proven its online mettle with World of Warcraft, he said Activision can not only pull in WoW's subscriber base to strengthen its balance sheet but also to learn from the company's veterans how to undertake new projects.
That could include tapping Blizzard talent to figure out how Activision might take Call of Duty in an MMO direction, Kotick said. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, developed by Infinity Ward, was a huge hit for Activision in 2007 and routinely appears at the top of Xbox Live's weekly list of most-played games.
Kotick only touched briefly on the CoD MMO idea and went on to discuss the future direction of the Guitar Hero franchise, which will likely see user-generated content and more tie-ins with Vivendi's Universal Music Group going forward.