Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said he has the recipe for beating the Call of Duty franchise. But, he says, it will take a couple years to achieve that goal.
Speaking in a recent interview with video game blog Kotaku, Riccitiello said that the key to beating Call of Duty is to "make a better game." Once that job is complete, Riccitiello told the gaming blog, his company will need to "make a better game again."
Citing Metacritic (which, like CNET, is owned by CBS), Riccitiello said that he'd like to see a first-person shooter released by EA next year score higher on the site than Activision's 2011 Call of Duty release to start that plan in motion.
"If I had to pick the story I'd like to play out next year, we [would] ship a [game with] a 90 [score on Metacritic] and [Activision] ship[s] an 85," Riccitiello told Kotaku. He then reiterated that "the way you unseat a market leader is you make a better game a couple of times in a row."
Of course, achieving such success will require the right game. And although Riccitiello said Bulletstorm and Crysis 2 could be strong first-person-shooter releases for the company next year, he feels "incredibly good about" Battlefield 3. Earlier this year, EA released Battlefield Bad Company 2, which, as Riccitiello pointed out, received "the same Metacritic score as Black Ops."
However, while it was a high-quality first-person shooter in its own right, the game couldn't match the commercial success Black Ops enjoyed this year.
Activision's offering, which was released last month, scored both the best launch-day sales and entertainment launch in history. The game generated $360 million in revenue on its first day of availability, according to Activision's internal estimates. Through its first five days of availability, Black Ops made more than $650 million, easily besting the previous record set by last year's blockbuster hit, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which made $550 million in revenue during its first five days of availability.
But as Riccitiello (and surely Activision) know, next year is a new opportunity for both companies. And although Call of Duty will have the momentum, if EA really can deliver a superior title, it could put itself in a position to steal the first-person shooter crown from Activision.
It'll be an interesting fight to watch.