For better or for worse mega-publisher Activision loves to make vigorous use of their IPs and CEO Bobby Kotick is certainly not shy about it. But even with that ideal written into the law books at Activision, the company isn’t completely adverse to the idea of new IPs from studios they deem worthy.
Kotick emphasizes the fact that Activision does make new IPs: “In the last year, we’ve taken four or five big bets – Singularity, Prototype, DJ Hero and Blur were completely new. That’s more than we usually would do, but in each case there was a very good reason why the developer chose to do it.”
He went on to explain the process that a studio might go through to get a new IP made, “Our process isn’t that we say, ‘Neversoft, you make a new IP.’ When they wanted to make Gun, they certainly earned the right to make new IP. They came in and said, ‘This is our idea,’ and we provide a lot of the research that will tell them how to think about the product.”
Kotick continued, laying out the process that comes after the pitch, “Then they go off and make the game they want to make, and we try and be supportive. You have to earn the right to do that, so it’s usually the really successful studios that get the right.”
But in an effort to come full circle Kotick went on to explain that most studios in fact like to stick with the same IP, “The really insightful developers realise that the pathway to innovation is greater from a proven property that has an audience… There are so few new IPs that are introduced successfully.”
He then topped the conversation off with notions of ownership and greatness, “Really great developers don’t want to disappoint their audience, so they invest a lot of time and energy into building a game and the little things, such as how you play that game, what the UI is, what the storyline is, who the characters are. Great developers really own that franchise.”