A leaked internal memo has revealed why Activision believes the Call of Duty series is in no danger of suffering a Guitar Hero-esque demise.

The document, dug up by Giant Bomb, was passed around Activision employees in February, soon after the Guitar Hero franchise was cancelled. Penned by CEO Eric Hirschberg, it outlines why the publisher believes its long-running FPS brand will continue to thrive.

"There are several key differences between the two franchises worth considering. Guitar Hero quickly reached incredible heights, but then began a steady decline. Call of Duty, on the other hand, has steadily grown every single year of its seven-year existence."

"Guitar Hero was a new genre which had incredible appeal, but which had not stood the test of time. Call of Duty exists in a genre - first person shooters - that has shown remarkable staying power and wide appeal over a period of decades.

"Plus, Call of Duty has inspired a massive, persistent, online community of players, making it perhaps the 'stickiest' game of all time."

Hirshberg then went on to outline how the publisher intends to maintain the momentum built up by Modern Warfare, World at War and, most recently, Black Ops.

"If you really step back and dispassionately look at any measurement - sales, player engagement, hours of online play, performance of DLC - you can absolutely conclude that the potential for this franchise has never been greater," he explained.

"In order to achieve this potential, we need to focus: on making games that constantly raise the quality bar; on staying ahead of the innovation curve; on surrounding the brand with a suite of services and an online community that makes our fans never want to leave.

"Entertainment franchises with staying power are rare. But Call of Duty shows all of the signs of being able to be one of them. It's up to us."

The next step in the masterplan is the release of a new set of multiplayer maps for Black Ops. The Escalation DLC pack is due to launch on Xbox 360 on 3rd May, with PC and PlayStation 3 roll-outs to follow some time thereafter.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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