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Activision: Who Says We Don't Innovate?

While many will accuse Activision of recycling the same old concepts with major franchises, company executives insist that their critics are missing the bigger picture.

In speaking to Gamasutra, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg says "it's a fallacy" to claim that the company isn't innovating. He said they're always looking to contribute to the industry in unique ways and on top of which, it's critical that they continually innovate.

"Gamers are voluntarily spending more and more time with the games that they love, and that by nature drives you to innovate within those franchises, as opposed to maybe the behavior we saw a few years ago, where people grazed more, and sampled things from many different categories, and moved on."

If you're looking for examples, Hirshberg specifically pointed out last year's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (which used physical figurines to introduce new characters on-screen), the Call of Duty Elite subscription service, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which he says featured "incremental innovations." Added Hirshberg:

"[Innovation is] a hard creative assignment, staying true to the things that people love about a franchise while also figuring out new ways to make it fresh that don't ruin what people loved about it in the first place. There are very few places on our slate where I don't see innovation."

So, now what do you have to say to that?

Tags: activision, call of duty, cod, call of duty elite

2/14/2012 8:41:33 PM John Shepard

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Comments (42 posts)

Clamedeus
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 9:24:37 PM
Reply

CoD Elite isn't very innovative in my eye's, but never played Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.

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SoulController
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 9:24:45 PM
Reply

I say he should pull his head out of his arse & stop lying to himself

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Red 5
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 9:26:50 PM
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Hi:

I don't blame Activision about "innovation".. I can't blame or say something about where there isn't. BUT, I really dislike the people who still buying that CRAPPY Games.
Red 5.

Last edited by Red 5 on 2/14/2012 9:29:01 PM

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 7:34:44 AM

Why do you dislike ME ?

Is it because i play what i like ?
Or is it because im having FUN while playing it?

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:31:52 AM

I think he dislikes you because you play crappy games? That's what he said, anyways.

I don't dislike you, though. :)

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 9:57:05 PM
Reply

That would be true in the older days of Activision.

But sadly these days, IMO, the same can be said about the current Anti-vision.

Especially with a cash-cow milking, Bozo-The-Clown looking game-hater like Kotex in charge of it all.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 1:10:42 AM

OOPS, small typo on my part, should've been.....

the same "CAN'T" be said about the current Anti-vision.

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Fane1024
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 3:45:02 AM

Biker,
You formulate the most creative insults...it's always amusing when you get irate about something.
The USPS ones were gold.

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JLB1
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 10:14:30 PM
Reply

I had Skylanders in mind when looking at this as well. My nephew got it for Christmas and I took a look at it. Seeing as how it's intended more for kids, I won't go ahead and tear it a new one. The concept was cool, and my nephew loved it. Though, if they aimed for an older demographic, I'm sure many wouldn't give it a second look. Especially die hard Spyro fans, the game didn't do him justice.

But if Skylanders and Elite are his only examples of innovations, he should head back to the drawing board.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 10:29:29 PM
Reply

LOL! Doesn't Call of Duty Elite just do what Battlefield has been doing for years for free?

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Clamedeus
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 7:39:25 AM

Yeah, pretty much. And the only reason to use Elite is to make/manage a clan or see what weapon classes someone has and perks. But you don't even need Elite for that anyway (Well, maybe clans) but for the classes you can easily guess what class they are using by battling them for a set period of matches.

Last edited by Clamedeus on 2/15/2012 7:39:46 AM

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 7:46:32 AM

To be honest NO it does NOT.

ELITE IS FREE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
/it just costs to be a premium user !

When did BF start having Premium Services ??
No Answer huh..

Do they offer 20 Maps and other DLC with that service ????
NO !

Do they give daily prizes and winnings to those playing online MP ???
Hell No

Do they have Competitions where you could win Real Money ?
Nope

It's Funny how you guys talk CRAP about a service you guys know NOTHING about. Do Research before you HATE !

P.S i have BF3

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slugga_status
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:19:18 AM

@ Hotshellz

Actually Elite is for those who are in a clan. The "free" features are crap that have always been on CoD. There's really nothing about it that's worth $49.99 unless all you play is CoD being that the map packs are $15-$20 a pop. If you like CoD that's cool..but seriously you're boasting as if Elite is worth the money and the reality is that it isn't..

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:37:00 AM

People boost and cheat for high stats in those competitions. It's a well known fact. The people winning the daily prizes like money, shirts, games, etc. are cheaters who know how to boost their stats without actually playing.

Basically, you pay for the map packs that will come. The paid features of the service, like clan ops for example, are still in development. So currently, PS3 owners paid for nothing yet. 3 months in... no map packs yet.... the premium parts of service are still inactive, and in fact, undeveloped....

I admit, Elite has potential, but so far, it's a straight up joke. Go to Elite's official forums. It feels like the entire CoD community is pissed off about Elite. And that's no exaggeration. Even the people trying to defend it have other issues of their own. Not a single paying person, Xbox or PS3, can be found claiming it's perfect or awesome.

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 9:06:39 AM

I was'nt boasting i was explaining that you DON'T have to pay for Elite to use those free features like Jawknee was implying. But for people who like the Franchise and plan on getting all dlc IT IS worth it !

Its better than buying all seperate DLC.

I only have Elite for dlc and NONE of the other stuff anyway.

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Squirrelicus
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 10:38:00 AM

Hotshellz hate to break the bad news but it's only 12 new maps
For MW3, 20 dlc packs total. On top of that they're releasing only
2 maps at a time. The rest of the DLC consists of two new game modes and
Spec ops content. And seeing as PS3 won't see the first round of DLC until March and the new COD game coming out in November. Where's the value?

The three map packs for Black Ops cost about $45.00 for 12 maps. Excellent maps by the way. Elite is $50.00 for 12 maps. Not much of a difference, probably a better value when you consider the extra game modes and Spec ops missions. But the map quality in MW3 sucks compared to MW2 or Black Ops. If the DLC continues the same quality as the standard maps. Getting Elite for the DLC bonus alone, is a rip off, especially since Xbox gets the content a month ahead.

PS3 owners will be 1/3 (4 months into a 12 month subscription) into a subscription service before they see a benefit from it.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 11:19:53 AM

@Squirrelicus
For sure, and even then, if it's only 2 maps, you're hardly receiving a "service" at that point. They have other added service features, but they aren't even developed yet. >.<

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 11:29:10 AM

@Squirrelicus

SO TRUE your right about content...I've always belived Treyarch was the better DEV because of the DLC they provide after a game is released.

I mean IW is suppose to be the bigger and better DEV but when it comes to DLC Treyarch just $h!7's on them with more and better content including ZOMBIE MAPS.

And yeah that 1 month after 360 BS is a joke because im impatient.But ill still get everything before the next Duty comes out :]

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cLoudou
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 10:32:20 PM
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Activision innovates new ways to suck money out of peoples pockets.

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Dancemachine55
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 11:16:44 PM
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Sounds like he is confusing the term "innovation" with "added features".

The Wii was innovative.
Guitar Hero 1 was innovative.
Rock Band was innovative.
Heavy Rain was innovative.
Demon's Souls was innovative.
Littlebig Planet was innovative.

Granted, the skateboard controller peripheral for Tony Hawk Ride was fairly innovative, but it was a shame it didn't work properly and hindered the experience.

Call of Duty, however, is FAR from innovative.

This guy clearly needs a dictionary because he clearly doesn't know the meaning of innovative if he applies it to MW3.

Skylanders I can see as innovative though, even though I haven't played it.

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5TAY3R
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 1:48:11 AM
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Innovative? Seriously? This dude needs to get out of his butthole, releasing some half assed expansion packs with a lucrative boxart every year is not innovation buddy, newz who cares? Everyone will buy the next cod on launchday neway

Last edited by 5TAY3R on 2/15/2012 1:48:53 AM

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AshT
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 1:49:47 AM
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LOL, its funny seeing "call of duty" and "innovation" in the same sentence.

Last edited by AshT on 2/15/2012 1:50:01 AM

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Nas Is Like
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:15:15 AM

I dunno man, I thought Call of Duty 4 was innovative, and Modern Warfare 2 as well, but on a lesser level.

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 2:36:27 PM

I don't even see a difference with the MW series after MW1. MW1 was the start of innovation after that it's just basically the same. I want to admit though, never owned a COD game after W@W, also I want to try out Black Ops for the story since it's based in the Cold War.

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___________
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 2:04:56 AM
Reply

MW3 innovating?
something tells me this guy does not know the meaning of the word!
releasing the same game is not "innovation"!

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evilmunkie
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 5:39:51 AM
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To be honest he does cover his butt pretty well in the last paragraph against everybody mentioning CoD as lacking in the innovation department. If it ain't broke don't fix it seems to come to mind and as much cash as that franchise brings in I wouldn't plan on them shaking things up too much. I would respect these guys more if they had three teams doing different CoDs so that every game would be in development for three years, that would truly be innovative for Activision. Maybe then the game's MP wouldn't need a patches to fix crashing during the first few months. I was expecting Elite to fail since 1-they pump out a CoD game once a year, 2-are now making enough DLC now to match the price of the full game and 3- DLC is 'Free' as long as you are a Elite member. So..... they are basically trying to sell two CoDs every year now. Honestly to me it looks like your always getting the short end of a stick. I think Treyarch makes better CoDs than IW though, its not as sharp but its alot more interesting. The day I get bored of nazi zombies is the day CoD is considered dead to me.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:39:11 AM

Elite is broken and needs to be fixed. The advertised features you pay for aren't even opertational yet.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 8:30:52 AM
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Are you kidding me? Why does this guy get a voice and the consumers do not?

Elite is a freaking joke. They are -STILL- without their advertised Clan Ops, over 3 months in. The features they advertise are still unavailable, Elite is littered with cheaters who boost stats (competitions only track stats), and all this for a paid subscription?

Even the BBB has had numerous complaints over the last couple months that has brought their rating down from an A+. Every complaint has been about Elite, and the BBB says that Activision has not made appropriate good faith efforts to help solve consumer issues.


Yet the "newsworthy" stories are the Activision boss getting to tell us all "we innovate!"

Come on... where's the journalistic pressure? Why aren't gamers being heard? A simple trip over to Elite's official forum, which is filled by ONLY Elite subscribers (free and premium) who MUST have XBOXLive or PSN accounts. And there are -THOUSANDS- of outcry's about the ripoff elite is.

Pay for a subscription? More like pay for elite's development cycle! It's more of an investment in things to come than a service. A total joke and rip off. I haven't met a single person happy with it.

But that's another issue! On their official forum, Beachhead posts an update on Clan Ops updates one week ago, STILL can't get the service up and running and has no date of completion set. They say in the thread, "Post your questions in this thread, and we'll answer your questions". So literally over 50 pages of questions and outcrys about the crappy service.... and not a SINGLE response from Beachhead.


And what do sites like this and IGN do? They publish Activision statements that give them a voice saying, "I'm Awesome!"

When is journalism going to be journalism and actually be a voice for the people? Why has no one covered this? A simple call to PSN or XBOX Live support will inform you that both services are well aware of Elite's issues and will give out refunds.

Yet NO JOURNALISTIC COVERAGE anywhere!!!

People cover the -CRAP- out of FFXIV's pathetic online issues. They jump on minor issues in other less popular games on a regular basis too.

But Activision is pissing off thousands, maybe even millions, of their long time fans? Noooo... we just have to get used to the fact that major corporations do this kind of thing.

I'm sorry, but if we belittle minor online flaws in other less popular games, why aren't we making it known in the public eye when there are major service flaws in the most popular video game franchise in the world?

Don't know if you can tell, but I'm ticked off they get away with this.

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 9:22:48 AM

I dont feel that bad....lol

I feel like i paid for DLC only...all those other features are cool but i wont use them alot.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 9:43:27 AM

So it's ok that they haven't delivered on advertised services?

Like I said, even the people that defend elite, for things like the DLC, will admit that keeping main service points in development well after release is a little heinous.

If you're getting the one or two things you wanted, that's great. But you can't just sort of ignore the fact there are major flaws in the service.

Bear in mind, the BBB has also weighed in favor of consumers who have complained of the XBOX exclusivity. PS3 owners have to wait a full month longer because of a loyalty to a corporation over the consumer.

Surly even that part must bother you since DLC is what you want anyways.

Some folks have made some excellent observations about other issues that arise from XBOX getting them first that takes away from the PS3 owner's enjoyment of the new release.

No matter how you look at it, it's a flawed service. Even if you eventually get what you want, the timeliness of it is unprofessional. Advertise a service, then start development AFTER people pay for it?!?! Come on! Even Square Enix gave people free subscriptions for more than a full year. They didn't start charging until -EVERYTHING- they promised was operational.

And that's SE... Surly Activision/Beachhead can follow suit.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/15/2012 9:50:48 AM

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H0TSHELLZ
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 11:38:59 AM

Which Services or Flaws are you talking about exactly ? Because everything i've tried or selected on in Elite was working for me...

I'm not defending Elite (They dont give me no check) i just want to know what services i might have problems with when trying them ?

And the ONLY thing that makes me mad or has me frustrated is the XBOX exclusivity !!!


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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 12:37:22 PM

A couple of missplaced priorities in my opinion.

The most prevalent features of premium service aside from the DLC is Lone Wolf competitions, founding a Clan and it's management including clan challenges, and the Clan Ops competitions, not to be confused with the challenges (2 different things).

These are all features advertised with -paid- Elite.

To date:
1)
The lone wolf competitions are up, and they are alright. I've gotten a few badges myself. But they are regularly cancelled last minute for server issues and the winners are cheaters who know how to boost their stats. There's no regulation like you would get in a paid MMO service that stops cheaters.

2)
Clans and challenges are to date useless. The benefits to working as a clan (extra exp for achievements, level ups, building clan emblems, etc.) can only be achieved by using founder xp. In other words, adding new paying members. That's it. (Which is kinda dirty if you think about it... some clans have reached high levels by doing nothing other than adding paying members)

The other problem with this, is that many players are already near 10th prestige. There isn't a benefit to earning double exp anymore.

While true non-paying clan members can contribute to the challenges, you can't form a clan without founder status, which comes with premium.

3)
Clap Operations is a big pull for a lot of people. It works similarly to lone wolf competitions, but your whole clan participates. It then takes your top 6 scores in your clan and averages or totals for your clan score. Your overall score is rated against the other clans and awards like in game bonuses and real life prizes are dished out.

Clan Ops doesn't even have a completion date yet.


These 3 things are the "services" that are in addition to DLC benefits. As you can see, none of them really work well. :( I personally have extra disposable income most of the time, so paying for DLC as it comes out isn't a big deal. I don't really worry about the $10 savings personally. For me, the services are what I wanted. I have a whole group of friends who did the same because we love to play together. Every single one of us are ticked because we don't have access to this thing. We don't live near each other anymore, so this was awesome thinking about reaching a common goal together.

So for us, the draw of Elite has been non-existent. Hence, my displeasure. :(

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/15/2012 12:38:46 PM

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xenris
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 1:55:34 PM

I would feel bad. You paid twice the amount of money for one game. DLC these days is almost ALWAYS stuff that is left out of the game on purpose to make sure their profits are up every year.

Activision only cares about keeping its profit margins high. Thats why publicly traded game corporations are ruining the industry. EA and Activision plan their games around getting as much money as they can with the least amount of money put into the game as they can.

They get MORE than enough money to release really good innovative games that are feature packed, but instead they intentionall leave stuff out so they can say, hey guys get this NEW DLC premium bla bla BS its only 3 or 5 bucks.

One year later your one game has cost you 120 bucks, and then here is the kick to the groin, they release a game of the year edition, with all the DLC for 40 bucks as a last minute cash grab.

Hotshellz if people like you stopped buying into the nonsense that they put out, we would probably start getting better games. But since people pay for this crap they will keep making crap.

I'm not trying to attack you, but I see the way the industry is going and it really makes me sick. Its all about profit, not even making money anymore, just straight up about making more and more and more each year. Using cheap tricks to fuel their shareholders. Ugh, I'm glad people like Notch exist.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 10:06:05 PM

Hey way cool!!!!

I just called Sony and they gave me a -FULL REFUND- to my PSN wallet! They asked me if I bought the hardened version or if I bought from PSN. Because I bought from PSN, I got a full and complete refund! Way awesome! (Sounds like if you bought Hardened edition, you're sunk. Unless your retailer will help you out... but I doubt it if it's opened.)

They said they were "well aware many customers are dissatisfied with Elite and a few of it's issues" and didn't need any explanation. They simply said, if I was like the other "sizable number of dissatisfied customers", all I needed to say was that I was displeased with the service. That was all!



I'm happy now. I got all my money back.

PSN.... you guys are cool. It's not a real refund, but the store credit is enough to make me happy. Took like 10 minutes, if that.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/15/2012 10:08:01 PM

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Fane1024
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 4:05:51 AM

Buy a year of PS+, where your $50 will actually get you a ton of content.

:D

Last edited by Fane1024 on 2/16/2012 4:08:47 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 8:22:06 AM

This last Tuesday in NA alone got me close to $50 worth of stuff. This week was a great haul!

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xenris
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 1:57:21 PM
Reply

He seems to have innovation and profit mixed up. Call of duty elite and spyro are both shameless cash grabs. If you want all the spyro characters get ready to pay about 200 dollars for your game. Thats innovation? Maybe innovation for how you can make tons of money?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 3:30:34 PM
Reply

haha

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ulsterscot
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 @ 7:52:15 PM
Reply

The only reason I bought elite - and will continue each year - is for the maps - I would buy all the map packs anyway when they come out because I love playing new maps - it saves you $10 a year if you get them through elite + you get them earlier. None of the other Elite features hold any interest for me.

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Underdog15
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 8:23:13 AM

And that's great and all, but they should be held accountable for not following through to the many that do care.

I wanted the service. I couldn't care less about $10.

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poocannon
Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 2:52:24 PM
Reply

after buying Modern Warfare 3 and Playing Battlefield 3.....I will never again pay full price for another COD game, Tony Hawk game, or that Crappy Guitar Hero. They have killed all those series for me....killed them. fart one out every year will work...till the fans lose interests and stop buying them. btw...Modern Warfare 3 plays like shit...looks like shit...so it must be shit. Even sounds like shit. sorry but MW3 sucks hairy chimp testicles and I cant bring myself to buy another. maybe some older titles but no way in hell Ill preorder Black Ops2. Not after this last mess. Multiplayer on MW3 looks and plays like late ps2 graphics. no interesting weapons. nothing I haven't seen before. You guys are about as "innovative" as an upside down tortuous. Sure maybe it looks cool...but its not. I mean can we say GREEDY MUCH? it hasn't even been four months yet and already you guys have announced that you plan on pulling another call of dookie out of your over payed and extraordinarily lazy asses. Dude I haven't seen an "Innovative " tittle published by activision since Prototype.I used to be a big fan. always talked about them. bought all the tony hawks and spider-mans. and now I just say...eh what ever. if its good I'll see on the reviews and then buy it. I don't see myself ever pre-ordering from Activision...or anymore NFS games..(yes I know that's EA but they really bastardized the game series since Underground 2) in the near future. I hope you guys start to change your tactics...before black ops and the rest of COD goes the way of Guitar Hero. and you should cause COD seems to be your only strong franchise right now. Don't quote me on that though. People hate repetition and the more "same as before" games you release...the more fans you will lose.

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Underdog15
Friday, February 17, 2012 @ 1:33:11 PM

Vivid!

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