Could Battlefield 3 be the new boss? - EA There's no love lost between leading game publishers Activision and Electronic Arts, but this November the studios are planning their biggest battle yet.
EA CEO John Riccitiello, speaking
at the Ad Age Digital Conference this week, confirmed that upcoming shooter
Battlefield 3 will be released in November, putting it in a head-to-head battle
with the latest Call of Duty game -- widely expected to be Modern Warfare 3.
"This November, we're launching Battlefield 3," he said. "It's going up against the next Call of Duty, which is presently the number one game in the game industry -- a game that last year did $400 million dollars in revenue on day one. [Battlefield 3] is designed to take that game down."
Besides the ongoing feud between the companies, there are a
couple of good reasons EA is facing off with the juggernaut Call of Duty franchise,
even after last year's Medal of Honor reboot was soundly stomped by Black Ops.
For one, there have been reports of trouble with this year's game. Developer Infinity Ward, which created the first two Modern Warfare games, lost a number of key team members after the abrupt dismissal of studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella a year ago.
To ensure the game is completed in time for its November launch, Activision brought
in teams from Sledgehammer Games (founded by the creator of EA's Dead Space
franchise) and Raven Software to get the job done. Both teams are immensely
capable, but the call for pinch hitters is rarely a good sign.
Battlefield 3, in the meantime, wowed viewers when footage was first shown at this year's Game Developer Conference (in a way Medal of Honor never did).
While the heart of the battle will be fought on consoles, it's going to spill over into the television world as well. Riccitiello says he expects the marketing spends for both Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty could easily top $100 million each. That's on par with what film studios spend to promote their tent pole releases.
"There will be a couple hundred million dollars of marketing against these two products going head to head," he said. "We think we have the better product."