Outspoken Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has been throwing gaming cats among console pigeons again, describing the Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft games systems as “walled gardens” and promising to “very aggressively” support HP, Dell or any other PC manufacturer who chose to push a plug-and-play computer that hooked up directly to the TV. Such a PC would allow the game developer increased access to the revenue stream; Kotick told the Financial Times [subscription required] that he believed “60 per cent of [Microsoft’s] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty.”
However, Activision “don’t really participate financially in that income stream” Kotick explained, suggesting that the studio “would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it’s not our network.” The flip-side, of course, would be a PC-based system which would allow Activision to set their own pricing for various levels of service, rather than being at the behest of console manufacturers and the limitations of individual hardware.
The flip side, of course, is that PC games need to run on a broad range of hardware, whereas console titles can be tailored to a standardized platform. Kotick’s pledge of support for a plug-and-play device, then, looks to be a push for the best of both worlds: the inherent openness of a PC coupled with the standardisation of a relatively specific hardware model. Now we just have to see if Dell, HP or any of the other PC manufacturers take him at his word; Alienware console, anybody?