Billion-dollar WOW claim is "bluff"

Former EA man says it can be beaten.

Lars Buttler, a former online chief at Electronic Arts, has dismissed claims by Activision head Bobby Kotick that it could take up to a billion dollars to compete with World of Warcraft - with no guarantee of success.

Kotick claimed that Activision had shied away from trying to compete with WOW, before deciding to merge with Blizzard's owners Vivendi instead.

"Nice try, Mr. Kotick," said Buttler to GameDaily. "We understand that Activision has to defend its merger and scare competition - but I have to call his bluff." Buttler is now CEO and co-founder of online publisher Trion World Network.

"It's pretty wild to suggest that there's only one team that could ever realize the potential of the connected era - and that there's no one out there that can deliver, no matter what the investment. [Blizzard] are a great team but there are other great teams out there."

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