So there’s this series of shooter games you may or may not have heard of called Call of Duty. Supposedly, they’re insanely popular and make heaps of cash. This monolith managed to outshine Halo, which until a few years ago was the world’s primary source of annoying 12-year-olds on Xbox Live. Still not comprehending this series’ success? Essentially, Call of Duty has become the World of WarCraft for consoles. It’s known around the world, breaks records with every release and somehow manages to retain an incredible level of quality with each installment. That’s how big this franchise has become.
It’s been known for some time that gamers enjoy shooting people, aliens, monsters, or really anything that moves. Call of Duty answered this desire and now it’s gotten pretty damn big, and when something incredibly big comes along that successfully manages to smack down all competition, its competitors tend to want to dethrone this new rival. Arguably Activision’s biggest threat is EA, the world’s second biggest video game publisher who has its fair share of excellent shooter franchises including Battlefield: Bad Company and the highly anticipated Crysis 2. What follows is their strategy for taking this juggernaut down, or at least getting a bigger slice of that money-flavored pie. Before we get into EA’s fairly simple plan to take down Call of Duty, let’s look at some facts. The first Modern Warfare took the world by storm and smashed some records, then World at War followed it and Treyarch was no longer known as “that other CoD developer”. After that we got Modern Warfare 2, which broke some more records and finally this year’s Black Ops, that improved on everything, gave us more zombies and might actually be better than Modern Warfare. It’s also worth mentioning that it broke even more records then its predecessors, showing everyone the Call of Duty brand isn’t slowing down even the slightest bit.
There’s a good chance you knew most of that but now everyone’s caught up so we can all fully enjoy EA’s plan to dominate the shooter market. Speaking with Kotaku, head of EA John Riccitiello let loose his plan. This plan boils down to EA making a better game than they do, something that will no doubt prove difficult with the critical acclaim every game in the series has garnered since Modern Warfare. But that’s not the end of his scheme, oh no sir. Not only would he like to beat Call of Duty’s Metacritic scores, the new measure of quality amongst the video games industry, but he plans on doing that several times in a row.
With the lukewarm reviews the new Medal of Honor received I don’t see that being the brand to compete with Activision’s franchise, which leaves the very successful Battlefield: Bad Company series as well as the potentially amazing Crysis 2, due out in March.
Who knows what the future holds and whether Activision will remain king of the shooter genre five years from now, but a good sign of what’s to come will be the success of Modern Warfare 3, which is almost definitely going to be out next fall.