Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

Activision Publishing CEO says perception of the company is different from reality

As co-CEO at ad company Deutsch LA, Eric Hirshberg was partially responsible for turning the PlayStation 3 from something that freaked us out into a platform for the VP of Awesome. Now, HIrshberg is able to comment on a similar turnaround at Activision. As the CEO of the publishing group, he says that "some of Activision's reputational challenges are not based in the reality of the company that I've experienced here so far. ... What I can tell you is since I've been here there's not a day or an hour that goes by without a conversation or focus on creative excellence in delivering great gaming experiences to our fans. That's what this place is focused on and about."

Yes, Activision may have put a "for sale" sign on UK racing studio Bizarre, laid off staff at Neversoft and Radical Entertainment and elsewhere, and weakened studio after studio, but Hirshberg says all the cuts are indicative of just how tough this business can be. And even in a tough business, says Hirshberg, "we do everything we can to make the relationships with our developers work, and to find a commercially viable use of their talents, and it's only when we've exhausted every other opportunity that [shutdowns and layoffs] happen."

The video game industry, he says, is "a high stakes game when everyone's trying to get into that upper echelon of performance and there's no middle class," which means, presumably, that Activision has to be judicious when choosing who gets to keep working. That may be true, but Hirshberg's going to need more than that if he wants to turn Bobby Kotick into PlayStation's KB.