Aug 18 / 2011

Question of the Week | Gamescom Edition

By Sledgehammer Games

This was a big week for MW3 and Sledgehammer Games at GamesCom 2011, in Cologne Germany. 250,000+ fans and press visited Europe's largest Interactive Entertainment trade show, and the interest in MW3 was overwhelming. The line for hands on gameplay with Spec Ops Survival exceeded 6 hours. Survival Mode is fantastic and it really is a ton of fun. Even still, my hats off to the fans for enduring the wait. In their honor, I'll answer two QotWs about the show.

"What MW3 announcement were you most excited about at GamesCom?"
Holly R., London UK

There was a lot of MW3 news to be excited about this week. A brand new Spec Ops Survival Map, Paris, was unveiled. We showed Invisible Threat, our newest Spec Ops Mission. MW3 on the Nintendo DS was shown for the first time. The COD Elite integrations with MW3, and the upcoming $1M COD XP tournament and MW3 MP reveal were all hot topics. Also, responding to fans' request, we announced the return of dedicated servers to the PC sku. Specifically, we announced that MW3 will support user hosted dedicated servers on PC for free. Players will be able to set up their own server instance and administer their MW3 dedicated servers with direct control over: game rules, setup, ban lists, and more. Players will be able to browse, filter, add favorites, and join MW3 dedicated servers of their choice. All of these features, and the dedicated servers functionality, will be launching day & date with the MW3 PC on November 8, 2011.

"What question did you most get asked at GamesCom?

Nils G., Utrecht, The Netherlands

Hmm... the most common question? Hard to pick one. There were lots of questions about Spec Ops Survival Mode. Many questions about MP too. (Lots of MP answers coming via COD XP in a couple of weeks.) I was commonly asked who the guy sleeping on the booth floor was, and why he had no shirt on. I had to make a lot of excuses for Schofield this week.

In all seriousness, a lot of people asked my view on MW3 competition within the gaming industry. My answer, in spirit, mirrored that of the sentiments expressed by Eric Hirshberg in his GDC keynote address.

An excerpt is included below:

Competition is of course a good thing. It keeps us all on our toes and ultimately, it makes the

games better. Competition is healthy for this, or any other industry. But it's one thing to want

your game to be successful. It's another to actively want the games of others to fail.

Recently, a competitor of ours was quoted as saying that he wants to see one of our games to

"rot from the core."

I've been asked countless times to respond to this comment and I have generally chosen not to

do so. My job is to help our incredibly talented, passionate, hard working teams make the best

games we can, not throw insults at others. But I actually feel that this type of rhetoric is bad for

our industry. I do.

Can you imagine the head of Dreamworks coming out with a new animated movie and saying

that he wants to see Toy Story "rot from the core"? Or the author of Twilight saying she wants

Harry Potter to "rot from the core"? It's hard to imagine, isn't it?

Seems to me we should all support great content,

even if we didn't create it.

As someone who runs one of the biggest publishers in this business, I can tell you, I want as

many games as possible to succeed, whether we created them or not. Because I want this

industry to grow, and to keep bringing new people into this passion we all share.

I believe that when someone in this industry does something great, whether they work in

California, Sweden, North Carolina or the United Kingdom, it doesn't only benefit their company.

It benefits us all. I believe as many great games as this industry can make, that's how many people will buy.

I say that not only as the CEO of Activision but as a gamer.

This isn't politics. In order for us to win, someone else doesn't have to lose. This is an

entertainment industry, an innovation industry, and at it's best, it is an art form. But we are still

a young art form. If we were the movie industry, the movies wouldn't even be talking yet.

So we are still solidifying our position in the pop cultural landscape. We still need to stand the

test of time. We need to show that we can withstand the kind of disruptive change and new

competition we are facing now.

The only way do that is to make great games.

We shouldn't be tearing each other apart fighting for a larger slice of the pie, we should be

trying to grow a bigger pie. If we as an industry act like there are a finite number of gamers in

the world, then there will be. But I believe we're just getting started as to what gaming can be.

Making great games is hard... and it's rare. And anyone who can do it deserves all of our


So I can tell you what we at Activision will be doing in the months and years ahead. We'll be

working to make the best, deepest, most connected, most innovative, most fun games we've

ever made. We'll be sparing no expense -- either in terms of resources, or dedication or drive.

We'll be giving our fans everything we've got and they will not be disappointed.

What we won't be doing is spending

time tearing down competitors. In fact, we're pulling for them.

This is a time for creative excellence. This is a time for both craftsmen, and pioneers. This is a

time for us to embrace change, while never forgetting that this industry knows how to create

interactive experiences better than anyone else. No matter how they are delivered, no matter

what size or shape the screen, the audience for what we do is bigger, and more engaged than

ever before. It's up to us to continue to dazzle them.

- Eric Hirshberg