Activision boss calls for TV-connected gaming PCs

Activision Blizzard's big cheese says he wants to see an industry-wide effort to connect gaming PCs to TVs, hoping that it will break the dominance of online console subscription services such as Live and PSN.

Speaking to the Financial Times (registration required), Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick said the mammoth games publisher plans to support HP and Dell's work to hook PCs up to TVs "very aggressively." The idea is that specific gaming PCs that could be easily hooked up to TVs could effectively rival consoles.

"We've heard that 60 per cent of [Microsoft's] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty," explained Kotick. This is all good and well for Microsoft, but Activision apparently doesn't see a penny of the subscription fee, and only makes its money from sales of the original DVD.

"We don't really participate financially in that income stream," noted Kotick, adding that "we 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."

However, with a standard PC, games publishers can charge for access to their own multiplayer servers, or simply leave it up to the gaming community. With a specific gaming PC geared towards easy TV connection, games publishers could effectively cut-out the middleman while still hopefully maintaining a user-friendly setup system.

Kotick praised the PC online gaming business model earlier last month, when he revealed that "probably 70 per cent of our operating profit comes from non-console-based video games." Activision Blizzard is, of course, responsible for World of Warcraft; a hugely popular MMORPG that requires an online subscription. This business model clearly works, but it's impractical if you're tied to a console maker's online service.

That's not to say that Activision is against consoles, which Kotick says "do a very good job of supporting the gamer." After all, Activision also has the Guitar Hero franchise. However, Kotick notes Activision is "going to need to have other devices" if the publisher wants to reach wider audiences.