GamesBeat Weekly Roundup

Here are some of the stories that ran on GamesBeat this week. We’re running more articles exclusively in the GamesBeat section of VentureBeat, particularly when they’re mainly of interest to our game readers. The broader-interest posts will continue to run on VentureBeat as well. Please visit the GamesBeat section to catch up on the latest game news. We’re ramping up our game coverage, so you’ll find a larger amount of deeper news at GamesBeat.

Activision’s Eric Hirshberg: Turning games into brands and other non-douche moves (exclusive interview)

Eric Hirshberg was an experiment when Activision Blizzard‘s chief executive hired Hirshberg as CEO of the Activision Publishing division about 18 months ago. Hirshberg was an art-school graduate who rose through the ranks of the creative side of advertising and eventually became CEO of billion-dollar ad agency Deutsch LA. Most video game CEOs rise through the ranks of finance or game development. But Hirshberg was a lot more comfortable with a paint brush in his hands than a spreadsheet. But under Hirshberg, Activision Publishing has launched some of its most successful games in history, including Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. At the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Hirshberg talked about the experiment of an advertising creative person rising to the top of one of the world’s biggest video game companies.

Activision Blizzard earnings: World of Warcraft resists the assault from EA’s Star Wars

Activision Blizzard has beaten earnings expectations for its third fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31, and its major cash cow is still holding up. World of Warcraft didn’t suffer after Electronic Arts launched its massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic. World of Warcraft ended the year with 10.2 million paying subscribers, down only slightly from 10.3 million in the previous quarter.

The top 10 family games of 2011: Kinect Disneyland, Sesame Street, and more

They may not be the most glamorous ticket in town during the holiday buying season, but family games are one of a very small number of video game genres where the adults can have as much fun as the kids. Family games have seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to the advent of motion-gaming technologies like Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation Move and Microsoft Xbox Kinect that simplify play mechanics beyond memorizing button placements or manipulating two analog joysticks in tandem. Family games are more about getting everyone in the room involved than spending 18 hours clawing and scratching your way through a singular adventure.