Is Call Of Duty Good For The Industry?
This question is inspired by a common question I've heard asked on ESPN concerning dynasties. Essentially, is domination of any kind good for the industry?
Obviously, it's great for the fans. That much is clear and of course, there are a great many fans of anything - a team or a product - that dominates any given industry. It's also fantastic for visibility; a team seeking a three-peat is quite the story, after all, and could bring in more followers.
In this way, Call of Duty can be viewed in a positive light. It continually puts gaming in the spotlight (for better or for worse, but all exposure is good exposure to some extent), and it has definitely helped push gaming deeper into mainstream culture. Just about everyone on the planet has heard of the title, and when that happens, you know you've got a juggernaut on your hands. So when Tiger Woods was winning tournaments by a dozen strokes, that turned heads (and the PGA loved it).
Therefore, there's no doubt that something like CoD has positives behind it. On the other hand, are we actually sacrificing something...? It seems plain that too many developers have tried to adopt the FPS model to enjoy big financial gains, and it has influenced game makers all over the world. Square Enix can't go through an entire interview without mentioning Activision's franchise, and many see that as a bad sign. Furthermore, with enduring and constant popularity - and no apparent sign of slowing - there's always the risk of stagnation, and many will argue CoD stunts artistic growth and hampers originality and innovation.
But is that necessarily true? If CoD does happen to expand the reach of interactive entertainment, and turns a non-gamer or casual gamer into an avid gamer, is it a fact that that person will only want to play shooters? Or might they search for different experiences, which would in turn create more demand for other types of games? Should we generalize every CoD fan in the world? And what about inspiring youngsters to get involved in the industry? They won't automatically grow up and want to only create CoD clones, will they? I think it's unrealistic to believe that all influence generated by this series is negative.
However, I'm not arguing one way or the other, here. As usual, this is a legitimate question and not a rhetorical one. Discuss.
4/30/2012 9:20:52 PM Ben Dutka