Call of Duty is huge. Every November for the last 5 years, a new Call of Duty has hit store shelves, and every year it sells better than the year before. Even the years that Treyarch, often considered the B-team for COD games, makes them, they still sell millions and millions of copies and smash every entertainment sales record under the sun. It is an impressive feat, and one that keeps netting Activision more and more money.
On the other side, each year more and more people start talking about how they are sick of Call of Duty. Message boards and comments sections were full of complaints about this year’s game, and people were jumping on the Battlefield 3 bandwagon as if it was going out of style. Analysts said Battlefield would close the gap and sell almost as much as Call of Duty. Then COD came out, and sold more copies than ever before. What does this mean? Is it all talk, or are people really getting sick of Call of Duty?
Why People Are Not Sick of Call of Duty
The obvious argument is that the game is still selling bazillions of copies with each release. People are lining up at their local game retailers at midnight just to get a copy a few hours earlier. Each year, Call of Duty breaks its own record for the highest selling entertainment product. How can you argue with these numbers?
The fact is; you cannot. Until I see a tangible slip in the sale of Call of Duty games, I will not believe that gamers are sick of them. People can cry about lack of change and innovation until they are blue in the face, but until they stop buying the games, they are just crying for no reason.
Not only does COD continue to sell well, it sees gamers investing hundreds of hours. Log into Modern Warfare 3 any time of the day, and you will see hundreds of thousands of active players at any time, and even more during peak hours. Look up and down the leaderboard and you will see millions of high-level players, meaning they put a substantial chunk of time into the game. This means that not only are they still buying the game, but that they are continuing to play it, which will lead them right into buying next year’s game without question.
Nothing else can compete with Call of Duty. Until a viable competitor comes along, Call of Duty will sit atop the throne as the king of shooters. Battlefield 3 was supposed to be the great savior, and while it was certainly a smash success, it appeared to have no effect on the sales of COD. Someone needs to find a way to create that feeling that hooked gamers into the first Modern Warfare, and until they do, it is likely that Call of Duty will be the king until gamers get bored with shooters all together (which I do not ever see happening).
Why People Are Sick of Call of Duty
The message boards are blowing up. Complaints are pouring in about how sick people are of the Call of Duty formula. They are sick of seeing the same game over and over again. Five years of shooters that follow the exact same formula can become stale. Look what happened to Guitar Hero. It was bigger than sliced bread, and then it was forgotten because it became boring.
Go listen to video game podcasts like the Giant Bombcast and Weekend Confirmed, and you will hear some of the best video game journalists talking about Call of Duty fatigue. They will tell you how the formula of the game is wearing thin on them. It is a scary proposition for Activision, who even acknowledge that they think about gamers becoming bored with the franchise. It is a real possibility that the public could get sick of COD.
With most of the previous COD games, the one thing people never complained about was the quality. Every map was amazing, and overall game play mechanics were spot on, but with this one, complaints started happening. It still had a solid 89 on GameRankings, but Call of Duty 4 had a 94 and Modern Warfare 2 had a 93. That is an appreciable drop, and it shows that critics might be getting a little sick of COD.
No, people are not sick of Call of Duty – yet. The facts do not lie; each COD is selling progressively more than the last. Until we see a downward trend in these numbers, it is impossible to say that Call of Duty is on the down-swing. The people who are claiming to be sick of it are a vocal minority, and they just do not have significant enough numbers to provide any noticeable effect on the sales of the franchise.
The review scores are a little scary, but in the end, there is nothing wrong with an 89. Many games would kill for an average review score of 89, so I do not think this is anything to sweat over yet. I think the time will come when Call of Duty will sail into the sunset, but I do not see it happening until something better comes along. Battlefield left a blip on COD’s radar, but it was not enough to hurt them. It will happen, but I do not think it be will for a few more years.
What do you think? Is Call of Duty in its prime, or on the down swing? Are you sick of it personally, or do you still love it? Let us know in the comments!