EA CEO John Riccitiello, head of the company making this year's premiere Call of Duty competitor, Battlefield 3, recently said he hopes that he hopes Call of Duty would "rot from the core".
In Germany, this week, Riccitiello's counterpart at Activision, CEO Eric Hirshberg, fired back, defending not just his company's Call of Duty/Modern Warfare franchise but saying that smack talk like that is bad for everyone making games.
"This isn't politics," Hirshberg said, as he wrapped up an awards ceremony keynote at the Gamescom event in Cologne. "In order for one to win, the other doesn't have to lose. This is an entertainment industry, it's an innovation industry, and at best, it's an art form... We shouldn't be tearing each other apart, fighting for a larger slice of the pie. We should all be focused on trying to grow a bigger pie. If we as an industry act like there are a finite number of games in the world, then there will be."
While he never mentioned Riccitiello, EA or Battlefield, Hirshberg was clearly talking about them. He called the EA boss's comments and similar rhetoric "bad for our industry. "
Riccitiello's comments were originally reported by website Industry Gamers in June. While discussing Battlefield's ability to unseat Call of Duty he had said, "The question is, 'So, if the gamer buys our game and the mass audience buys their game, where do the two meet?' And all I want to do, if you will, is to have them rot from the core. And so if we can start that process, we're in a good spot."
You can read Riccitiello's comments, in full, at Industry Gamers. You can see and hear Hirshberg's response, delivered at Gamescom, in the clip above.
Kotaku has reached out to EA about Hirshberg's comments and will let you know what their take is on them, should they share it with us.