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Activision CEO Optimistic On Games’ Future

1/26/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Mike Griffith, president and CEO of Activision Publishing, got straight to the point during his keynote address during International CES earlier this month.

“Today I want to talk to you about the evolution of video games, and why they are poised to eclipse all other forms of entertainment in the decade ahead.”

He noted that while movie ticket sales were down, network TV consumption was down and even recorded music sales were down in the period from 2004 to 2007, sales of video games was on the rise.

To underscore his point, Griffith took the stage following a quick performance by the video game development team at Neversoft, the creators of the upcoming Guitar Hero: World Tour Metallica — the latest title in the smash music-based game series. And while Las Vegas has no shortage of music pretenders, the difference of course is that games such as this one allow anyone to take the stage. “Is there no one in this room who hasn’t dreamt of being a rock star?”

Griffith noted this as he picked up the game’s unique guitar-shaped controller. “The lawyers tell me I can’t call it a guitar,” said Griffith, “it’s actually a video game guitar controller.”

He added that the game’s popularity is because it “let’s players mimic making music with the most popular one-two combination of instruments in history — guitars and drums.”

He said titles such as Guitar Hero are bringing games to the forefront of entertainment. “Not only is it changing the way video games are played — it is reinvigorating the music industry. According to Nielson SoundScan, artists whose music appears in Guitar Hero games have seen download sales rise between 15 percent and 840 percent.”

Griffith further offered his belief that games will continue to gain in popularity, thanks in part to the latest technological advances, which allows for more compelling and immersing experiences for the players.

“Movies and television are story-telling mediums, but now so are video games, which are telling stories that rival movies and TV for the first time. This is the power of the narrative. You can see how the game is becoming more than a game.”

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