It’s one of the most controversial series of the past five years. Millions upon millions of consumers flock to stores every November to purchase the next entry, and yet on the other side of that same coin, so many people condemn its very existence. Since 2007, Call Of Duty has been an unstoppable force in the gaming realm, but every year more and more people realize that they’re only being fed the same garbage sandwich on a different spoon.
Yes folks, the Call Of Duty franchise has not only been stagnating since 2007, it has actually plateaued on mediocrity and stayed firmly there while sales increased time and time again. The blame should be put on the ones who continue to purchase the product. The “gamers” that foam at the mouth, waiting for the release of the same game they’ve been playing. I’m actually dumbfounded at the fact it’s taken this long for people to start realizing the franchise has only been moving sideways. However, if you look at the pre orders for Black Ops II, it’s obvious that stagnation hasn’t made a damn bit of difference in how the game sells. Gamers have eaten up the hype for the past 5 years and continue to do so. Activision could sell a game featuring the collective waste of human existence, (aka the cast of the Jersey Shore), replace the entire collection of guns with a single flintlock pistol, and as long as “Call Of Duty” was written on the box, it would sell millions. It’s become a phenomenon on name alone, and I can’t fault Activision for milking what they can out of the franchise. We may as well consider them geniuses.
Picture this scenario. Bobby Kotick, president of Activision, unexpectedly passes away and through inheritance, leaves the company in your hands. Go ahead and try to convince me that you would drastically change the development cycle on these types of games. I know I wouldn’t. Putting little cost into the development of a game that is known to sell, is going to net you more room for profit. They have made a killing by throwing out Call Of Duty titles each year and have done so without risking a loss of sales by changing the formula. One could argue that a new game engine, or completely new, unique, and revolutionary game play features could also break record sales from a future title, but why put more work into a product when you can do less work will wield the same results? Treyarch has put just enough features into Black Ops II to make it seem worthy of buying as a new, separate title, and good for them. If the gaming plebeians continue to buy the titles on a yearly basis, then why change the formula?
This isn’t the fault of Activision, Treyarch, or even Infinity Ward. They’ve found their calling, developing games for ignorant gamers who waste hours on their console of choice, playing as much as they can to get a better kill/death ratio than their BFF’s. The problem is with the gamers who continue to purchase said products annually, when their 60 dollars could go towards the purchase of a better developed game.
“Don’t fix what ain’t broke”, I’ve often heard people say. That must be why cars haven’t been remodeled in the past 20 years….oh wait. Excuse me for expecting a little work for my purchase when I feel that a re-texture isn’t worth the money.
While the hollow minded will be having trouble keeping their erections down in the queue lines for the Black Ops expansion toted as a sequel, I’ll be looking into games that promote creativity into the gaming world. Call Of Duty is nothing more than a quick pick up and play game, no different from Mario. There’s no real skill involved, it’s about learning the maps and using the exploits to your advantage. The absolute reason it’s a seller is because of its accessibility. The community will tell you otherwise, but it’s become a sad reality that people base the perception of skill on a kill/death ratio.
Let me say that I’m not purposely trying to needlessly bad-mouth the consumers who enjoy the Call Of Duty series. If you’re a fan of the games then by all means, enjoy them. Get your kill/death ratio all the way up to a freaking’ 6.9 and then use it as your pick up line the next time you hit the bars. My problem stems from the fact that I can’t count the number of times I’ve chatted with “gamers” to find out the only games they’ve ever touched are Call Of Duty and Madden. Really? You’ve wasted 300 plus dollars on a gaming console to play these 2 games and their yearly recycled expansion packs? Well good job for ruining the industry for the rest of us.
If anyone who has a bad taste in their mouth over Resident Evil 6 wants to know how Capcom lost their ways, look no further than the sales records of the Call Of Duty franchise. If anyone who, like myself, is annoyed that seemingly every game is being thrown a multiplayer feature which basically acts as nothing more than a bullet point on the back of the box, look no further than the sales records of the Call Of Duty franchise. Other companies want to tap into that success – they want to see that kind of money. What better way than to adopt those type of features. They sell every year after all right?
It’s likened to the type of people who enjoy going to a fancy restaurant only to order the plainest burger on the menu, instead of ordering the high-rated steak. Sure they could buy better titles – Borderlands 2 just came out, Dishonored is out relatively soon, and Far Cry 3 is coming out at the end of the year: 3 completely unique games in the FPS genre – yet they can’t be bothered because Black Ops 2 just announced zombies! This isn’t an insult to people who enjoy the series for the casual multiplayer matches with their friends, or if they’re insanely into military shooter stories, it’s with the ones that assume Call Of Duty is the be all and end all of first person gaming. The same type of people who buy Madden every year because of a simple roster update.
If Activision wants to keep milking the franchise until it’s teets have dried out worse than Death Valley then by all means you keep draining that milk from the cash cow. If you’re an angry gamer and you want to blame Call Of Duty for the reason this console generation is completely over-saturated with generic multiplayer titles, just remember, don’t hate the game… hate the player.
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This article was first posted on October 5, 2012