Remember the great gaming battles of all time? Mario vs. Sonic, Halo vs. Killzone, Street Fighter vs. Tekken. These are but a few of the greatest franchise contests from years past, but there’s been one raging in the modern day which has, up until now, been stewing along largely unnoticed, largely because there was hardly a battle present in the first place. The contest we’re discussing is that of Call of Duty and Battlefield, a competition that has raged on for the longest time. At the very least, the launch of 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a decisive win for the Activision-owned franchise, but the landscape has changed, and with it, EA thinks that they see a “tremendous opportunity” for Battlefield in the future.
Of course, little needs to be said about the current situation that Activision and Call of Duty are in. Currently, a war of words and legalities is taking place between both PlayStation and Xbox as the market impact of Activision’s proposed acquisition by Microsoft is being worked through by legal experts around the world. While that occurs, EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson is casting an eye forward, exploring the potential implications for his franchise, Battlefield, in the event that the acquisition goes ahead as most expect it will. Axios’ Stephen Totilo reported on comments that Wilson had made at a recent Goldman Sachs conference last week, in which the CEO had some pretty optimistic thoughts on what this conflict could mean for EA and Battlefield.
I don’t think we delivered in the last two iterations of that in the way that we should have.
There’s a lot of work we’ve got to do there. But at it’s very core it’s extraordinary IP, and what we’ve seen in the world of entertainment is great IP is resilient, and we’ve seen movies, you know, not live up to the expectations of franchises, Star Wars might be one such franchise, and then you can see what happens when you get the right creative team involved, how they can completely reinvent and grow a franchise.
I think we have an extraordinary creative team involved in Battlefield now. We have unbeliveable ambitions to own the first-person shooter space particularly as it [feels?] to creation. In a world where there are questions as to the future of Call of Duty and what platforms that might be on or might not be on, being platform-agnostic and completely cross-platform with Battlefield, I think is a tremendous opportunity.
Obviously, Wilson is seeing potential dollar signs with Battlefield being the number one card in the deck that remains truly independent. Previous entries have had marketing associations with either PlayStation or Xbox, and perhaps even exclusive features or DLC, but with Call of Duty potentially out of the way soon, the opportunity, as Wilson rightly identifies, is there for the publisher to capitalize on their multi-platform status to grow the franchise to a level it has never before reached. Whether they’re successful or not largely rests in their own hands, but will still be shaped by the outcome of the conflict between PlayStation, Xbox, and regulators.