EA CEO John Riccitiello is throwing down the gloves now. In the latest in EA and Activision's spat over the imminent clash of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, the EA boss has stated that he wants Call of Duty to "rot from the core".
Pulling no punches then, EA.
Riccitiello's chat with Industry Gamers started off rather civil. "The honest truth is I think Modern Warfare is going to be a really good game," he said. "I think that in a weird way it's starting to feel a little to me like the Disneyland abstraction of a war game - a little bit jump the shark. So it feels a little bit like that to me. And I think there's a market for that."
Of course, he explains why Battlefield is better. "I think our game is more authentic. It's definitely going to do a lot of things better. Lighting's better, physics is better, animations are better, particle effects are better, vehicles are better."
He then called into question Activision's decision to announce the paid subscription service, Call of Duty Elite. "I don't know what's in Elite right now, but based on what I've seen, I think they might've been better off holding the Elite thing and been a little more careful and show up a month after they've launched Modern Warfare 3," said Riccitiello.
He says Activision rushed into the announcement in an effort to recover from an inferior showing of MW3 versus BF3's presentation. "I think the reason they led with their chin is that they needed to say something against what was clearly a more powerful presentation of Battlefield 3 over Modern Warfare. So they needed something to say. I think they picked the wrong thing, but there's a lot of months between now and November so they've got plenty of time to recover," he said.
The EA CEO says gamers who can tell the difference between a good game and a bad game will favour BF3, while MW3 will appeal to the mainstream. He said there is "a concentration of people that might tell the difference between a good game and a bad game. We're going to do really well there. A lot of people bought Modern Warfare more for the coffee table and didn't play it for 2 months. There's sort of that mass audience... they're going to win there.
"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," he added.
The showdown of the CEOs kicked off last week when Activision CEO Bobby Kotick called into question Battlefield 3's chances in the console market, saying he couldn't "objectively comment on it" as EA had only shown the game running on PC so far.
A respected CVG source told us that Kotick's team were turned away from the EA booth at E3 last week when they asked to play BF3. Activision has since denied that the incident took place, but our senior informant remains 100 per cent adamant that he witnessed it.