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Call Of Duty Editorial: An Anomaly That Monopolizes The Industry

Last week, we gave gamers the option of writing a "hate editorial" concerning the industry juggernaut that is Call of Duty. Due to the number of submissions - and the special creativity of one - we've selected two to be published.

Here's the first from Joshua DeSimone. Congrats, Josh!


Let me start off by saying I don't hate the game. When I first popped CoD:MW in, I was blown away. The quality of the gameplay was there. The graphics were amazing. The feel of being on a real military battleground shone through. Most of all, though, was the cinematic storytelling the likes of which I'd never seen in a military shooter before. Who has played that game and doesn't love the infamous "sniper level," or pegging huge groups of terrorists off with 105mm cannon? It was memorable and it was amazing at the time. Many moments can be taken from either of the two sequels that give me the same chills. As someone who loves cinematics and storytelling in their games, I admire this franchise for doing something 90% of the other FPSs out there don't even attempt.

One might ask how then could I possibly hate a game I love[d] to play. I will give you the short answer: It is bad for the industry, gamers and developers alike. How can this be when it sells more than anything else out there, brings in revenue, and keeps people employed? Because it does something to the industry that the Wii is guilty of and that is bring with it the misunderstanding of the industry itself. Both CoD and the Wii have turned this industry essentially on its head by creating the biggest growth we've ever seen. The Wii alone pretty much doubled the annual revenue the game industry earns. CoD has done the same thing, but on a smaller scale and with software while the Wii did with hardware.

We are now seeing a shift again in terms of profits, and companies like THQ are going under because they can't compete with a titan like Modern Warfare. This franchise has all but made it impossible for any other shooter on the market to make any money at all. An ingenius game like Vanquish mostly goes by the boards because FPS players are too concerned with keeping their stats in MW current and ahead of the pack instead trying a game with such a unique and engrossing FPS experience. Battlefield 3 is the only one to make a dent (which I love and think is the far superior online experience by the way), but it's barely a dent, and yet EA still posted huge losses and will have to fire workers because they overspent on marketing and development of titles like this game and Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA didn't understand the impact MW has made and how chained to it multiplayer gamers truly are.

Modern Warfare represents an anamoly in this industry. It controls an actual portion of the players for two entire systems. Only World of Warcraft on the PC can rival its annual numbers. That, to me is scary. It monopolizes and trivializes the very point of this entire industry. We need variety and depth. We need to be able to make choices in our games and show companies what games we want. But when EA and Activision see the results of a game like Modern Warfare, they will always choose to publish the next big seller in the FPS market. Chrono Trigger 2 will stay buried forever because it won't sell more than a couple hundred thousand copies at best in their eyes. Entire genres such as the JRPG will be all but removed from existence because publishers believe the money is in an FPS about the american special forces.

I do not hate Modern Warfare. I hate what it does to the playing field and the truly hardcore who have stuck with these companies since 1983 or beyond are being pushed aside by gamers who aren't real gamers. It's a dangerous thing and, once these players are gone and not playing and the numbers on the revenue chart dwindle back to pre-Wii or CoD:MW sized numbers, the publishers will have to take drastic measures to cut their losses. This is good for no one involved in keeping the gaming industry alive and kicking.

Tags: call of duty, cod, call of duty hate, call of duty fans, activision

5/14/2012 8:58:36 PM Joshua DeSimone

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Legacy Comment System (37 posts)

Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 9:40:19 PM

i have to say that was really well written and pretty much sums it all up. i have friends who wont even play anything but the new call of duty. sometimes they buy a new game thinking they will play it but they just end up selling it or it sits on the shelf never played. but the new call of duty, they are on it right away and thats it.

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:09:35 PM

Right on the money, Mr. DeSimone. Right on the friggin' money.

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:28:12 PM

I like how Josh points out that when this bubble bursts there is going to be a hole that can't be filled and cuts will follow.

I think it will be a black hole that sucks everything down with it. When CoD collapses everyone will try to rush in to fill that hole only to get sucked into oblivion. Who knows if other genres like survival horror and JRPG will be able to make it back after the crash.

CoD is "The Nothing" from The Neverending Story.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:29:19 PM

Ah...The Neverending Story...


Damnit, don't do that to me.

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:49:46 PM

ha ha i just bought that movie for the kids like 2 days ago! they love it. i didnt realize it was almost as old as me.

they were all like "its so sad when the horse gets sucked into the pit"

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:01:00 PM

One day, everyone will realize that the Eemperor isn't wearing anything, and the new clothes myth was just a myth created and perpetuated by those who feared upsetting the status quo, or who had a vested interest in keeping the juggernaut rolling along.

Just don't get hit by the juggernaut while it's rolling, and when it crashes, don't be there.

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:14:48 PM

Absolutely 100% correct my good sir!

I do enjoy COD's high level of polish and action, but I'm not the biggest fan of online multiplayer or what it has done to the industry. The one game to sell more than 20 million worldwide has pushed other developers to follow its simple and generic formula in an attempt to get those same numbers.

All this has done is change the core design of great franchises (Final Fantasy and Resident Evil are by far the biggest victims) which alienates the fans but still does not appeal to the casual CoD gamer.

I am looking forward to the CoD bubble bursting so that franchises go back to being their own unique product without the influence of COD!! Of course, once a new fad comes along, everyone will just start copying that too.

Look at Facebook and iPhone games!! FarmVille and Angry Birds sell millions and generate millions of $ so now everybody is making Facebook and iPhone games in an attempt to grab a slice of that pie!

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Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:51:29 PM

So true.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 1:09:48 AM

I disagree with many of the main points here.

THQ - as much as I love their Saints Row - are NOT going under because "they can't compete with a titan like Modern Warfare". The very claim is absurd. It's like saying that because of COD mediocrity can't survive - like that was a bad thing.

They are going under because their games has not been that good. That's where to put the blame.
Even SR, their flagship franchise has *major*, even showstopping bugs and is anything but a silk smooth experience. And they are never going to be ironed out. We fans just forgive all that cause this particular franchise is so damn fun. But to put the blame on COD for their problems is just plain old *wrong*.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/15/2012 1:21:47 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:30:31 AM

Homefront was much more innovative than the CoD that came out that year, in both story and multiplayer. However it got bashed for a short campaign, and overly scripted events. Which is exactly what CoD features, yet its overlooked by most reviewers and gamers alike.

Saints Row aside, THQ has a lot of excellent franchises, and what he is saying seems to be that these games get ignored because of CoDs strangle hold on the industry.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 1:39:57 AM

Activision are to blame for all the ills of the gaming industry - and society as a whole - if they could just make a shitty product like other developers - than everyone would be on a level playing field - but no - they have to make a game that is bags of fun and therefore billions buy it every year instead of other less fun to play games which clearly stifles the industry - so its not really a surprise that gaming elitists who play rpg and other genres hate it

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 4:10:01 AM

I think your forgetting that what's fun is relative.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:40:30 AM

I enjoy CoD with friends for the social aspect. Not for the game. We have been talking lately about finding a new multiplayer game.

I've been playing through Tales of Graces f, and I'm surprised that I actually forgot how much fun I have with titles like that.

Fun is absolutely relative. I have no problems turning CoD off... Tales of has been keeping me up late. So hard to put down!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 11:42:00 AM

Yea i turned off CoD and started playing from my games... Had like 20 games i haven't started... And i'm regretting not playing them sooner... Just went through Deus Ex, Vanquish, And Infamous 2... I don't kno what i was thinking waiting so long to play these game... I guess i gave into the hype of CoD bc all my friends play it none stop and i love to play with friends online... I think ima have to take a year off CoD just to catch up to all games i have and all the games ima be buying... And i finally got some of my friend to try something other than CoD, so whoever gets ghost recon: future soldier, i'll see u guys online

Last edited by Deathb4Dishonor on 5/15/2012 11:49:56 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:56:01 PM

Homefront copied so much from COD and its such an unpolished product. I was going to buy it but rented it instead, glad i did.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 2:24:25 AM

Sorry THQ is going under cuz they develop sh*tty games nuff said. Whether or not call of duty is bad for the industry i will still be buying Blk ops 2 on day 1 to support the gaming industry.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 3:31:52 AM

My friend you are suppoting Activi$ion and not the gaming industry :)

Last edited by AshT on 5/15/2012 3:32:28 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:33:25 AM

Amen Ash ;)

Your supporting the inevitable black hole, not the industry. If you want to support the industry by a wide variety of games from different publishers developers and different genres. Buying CoD and only CoD every year only supports CoD and activion.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:34:33 AM

I completely agree. THQ's problems are almost entirely self inflicted. The quality of their games just isn't that great. I forget the exact name of the game but there was Red Faction game on the PS3 I once tried. It was a buggy, framerate dropping screen tearing mess.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 9:06:53 PM

Oh i do, with in the last year till now i bought U3, R3, BF3, MW3, ME3, Witcher 2, LBP2 (was on sale) Skyrim, Dark Souls, and sony earns royalties off of games You dont think sony strikes it big when COD on ps3 alone sells 5-6 mill in days? I might of missed a few and not including more games this holiday season including Blk ops 2.

Bioshock infinite was another but its delayed. Im sure there will be more on yes halo 4 for my 360. Trust me Im supporting a wide variety of developers and publishers friend dont you worry :)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 3:41:33 AM

Agree with many points. In my opinion, the reason Square-Enix is trying to westernize their titles probably is due to COD. The whole industry now has to compare to the very best, yet the very best is on a whole different level and genre.

Final fantasy is not going to sell as much as COD because it's not a shooter but that won't stop SE from trying. I believe that can apply to every other publisher.

It's more about profits now. Numbers, subscribers, dlc, and microtransactions. The same way Apple can claim to be have the best handheld based on ipod/iphone numbers. The entry to casual gamers and fps meatheads.

I imagine Halo would have done the same thing would it have been on both consoles. Before COD, Halo was THE game. People wouldn't shut up about Halo.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 4:23:25 AM

I didn't make an entry because I've recently admitted to myself that my COD hatred stems from my own personal fears and ego. I realised that I need to grow up and face these fears, and accept that things have changed.

I acted on ego that is peculiar to those who have been in interested in a certain hobby for a long period of time, only to see it completely transformed by millions of newcomers. I'm sure people know the feeling; when you think that you, who have invested years in a certain activity are superior to those who have only begun to engage in said activity, and therefore feel threatened when these newcomers don't acknowledge your superiority.

Wont be hearing any COD trash talk from me anymore.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 6:18:34 AM

There's just so much universal truth embedded in this post. But not many will admit so.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/15/2012 6:18:52 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:39:07 AM

There is truth to this and I feel the same way in some cases.

My ego part stems from the fact that the game feels skill less compared to the PC shooters that I played growing up. When someone says they are awesome at shooters and only plays CoD all I can think of is, get them into a match of Tribes with me or CS or DoD or Quake. That is the ego though and I have gotten over that for the most part now.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:47:05 AM

The only thing I really agree with is the idea that CoD has control of a sizable monopoly. So in that sense, it is monopolizing the industry to an extent. I don't think it's quite reached the point where other titles are guaranteed to suffer because of it (although I'm sure to a point there's some truth, even if it's just a small amount).

From what I can tell, the same number of people that were interested in diversity and other games 10 years ago are nearly the same as the number of people into diversity now. In terms of overall sales numbers, games in general seem to sell about the same as they always have. So it's not that CoD has HURT other games.

Where the monopoly comes in, is that there are reportedly many more gamers than there were 10 years ago. Yet software sales figures remain the same in general. That tells me there is definitely a new crowd that specifically goes after CoD.

So to me, it's not that CoD has stolen from good games, it's that it is the go-to title for most new gamers! It only -FEELS- like it hurts other games because overall costs of development have gone way up. Failing developers aren't "Sucky". They just can't compete with today's standards... and if they do, they need to sell big! It's a tricky issue, in my estimation, that has a lot of different topics to blame...

CoD certainly has an effect on the industry. To say it doesn't is ridiculous. I just don't think it's an exclusive difference maker.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 4:47:39 AM

Hey guys, I'm the guy who wrote this and I just want to say thanks for the feedback, both positive or negative. I really appreciate it.

I should clarify the point on THQ. I just used it in a cursory, editorial rant type style to prove my point a bit. THQ hasn't really done much in years, we all know this. I should have related it how I meant to which is to say that once-upon-a-time large publishers like THQ are being beaten down by Activision and EA because of their cashflow and buying power. That's the jist of it.

There is an upside to the some of this though. Check out kickstarter some time and look at the rpg projects on there being made by people like us. Boot Hill Heroes is an Earthbound clone I'm dying to play, for instance. Big publishers are crushing some of our favirote companies/genres to a fine past, but there are those out there trying to win the fight, however small a victory. As long as I get an awesome game I don't care where it comes from =]

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:52:33 AM

My editorial was going to be much more technical but I really am glad these people got their published because they articulated the real problems with CoD better than I could have hoped to.

My main issues stem from the trend of CoD making multiplayer easy and rewarding to players who die a lot or don't do well. Instead of the player feeling rewarded when they actually skill up there gaming abilities, they instead get a perk so the game becomes that much easier and skill less. Then after dying enough they get a death streak for accomplishment the achievement of dying a lot followed by a chunk of exp and a guitar riff signaling that they accomplished something. I dunno it feels a lot like they are babying and hand holding the players, instead of letting them develop there actual skills as a person.

I don't like this because it sets a trend, its why truly skill based games are becoming more rare. Because everyone wants everything to be easy and they want to be able to kill people right away without practicing at all. This makes other games more casual as they see that the majority of gamers are now casual and if they want to sell games to them they have to make there game more casual.

It also seems to be why CoD gamers don't tend to stray from CoD. Because its familiar, they know they can do "well" and if they touch a game that is slightly harder or has less aim assist in the multiplayer they say it sucks.

I guess its rare that people like feeling accomplishment for doing something that actually took skill or perseverance. They are more content with the illusion of skill and victory that CoD gives them. This actually extends into the real world for me, which is why I'm probably more against CoD than most people. I see so much hand holding and babying of the younger generation, who think everything should be easy and given to them for nothing. That they shouldn't have to work for what they want. CoD reinforces this with its gameplay which feeds that mentality.

Thats just kind of how I see it, and why if I bash CoD its not just hating it because its popular. Its not even hate, its just disappointment that its reinforcing what our society is becoming. Which is a bunch of softies :P

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 9:18:17 AM

I don't think we can blame Activision, treyarch and IW, for creating a game people love to buy and play. Let alone blame the game itself. The article is blaming them for having too many consumers. This quote says just that. "This franchise has all but made it impossible for any other shooter on the market to make any money at all." but in reality this is on the consumers. Activision isn't somehow controlling the minds of people. People are buying what they know and like to play, that's it. It's not hard to see that placing blame on a game for being what it is, in this case is wrong too do. You shouldn't hate CoD for or those who created it for making it successful. You should place the blame on the consumers who have made it the only FPS worth buying.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 5/15/2012 9:21:02 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 9:32:47 AM

Totally agree.

Also, I don't really see COD monopolizing gaming anyway. I know I am not the only one thinking the last few years has been amongst the best years in gaming *ever*, with a string of pearls being released. All while COD was breaking it's own sales records.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 2:42:43 PM

bingo, I think it has to do more of a peer pressure social friends to friends thing.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 9:32:07 AM

The COD hate to me is a generational issue. Old school gamers will hate it for its stifling effect on creativity in the industry. (By "stifling creativity" I simply mean how Japanese devs are desperately trying to attract the western market.) Old school gamers grew up with the Chrono Crosses, Earthbounds, Final Fantasty 1-9's, and other rpgs that consumed their time. I alone put in well over 300 hours in Legend of Legaia and Legend of Dragoon apiece. Not to mention the Marios, original Shinobis, Sonic the Hedgehogs, Toe Jam and Earls, Earthworm Jims, Vector Mans (one of my favs). Now their favorite developers are going under because this generation is a completely different market. It's easy to notice due to the multiplayer fascination this gen. Games need multiplayer now-a-days to be successful. All developers would love COD sales numbers and are changing their franchises to try to appeal to the new generation of FPS/multiplayer addicts.

This new generation though see COD as the holy grail. It sells well because its the best thing to happen since sliced bread. Just look at its popularity. They played them all because they're friends have played them all. The multiplayer is second to none and its always getting better. The older generation hates on it because they prefer single player campaigns and because their favorite genres and franchises will never be able to compete with it. How can it impede creativity in gaming when it brings in so much revenue?

It's a matter of preference really. Not to mention how many people were pressured into playing COD because they're friends were playing it and they didn't want to be left out. I'd imagine that most of the avid COD supporters range from children to adults. The people who don't enjoy it that much I'd imagine are mostly just adults. Those are just guesses honestly taken from personal experience. I know a lot of children that play COD because their 20 something year old parents play COD.

IMO COD is the Drake, Justin Beiber, Jersey Shore, Twilight Saga, Michael Bay Transformer movies, of the gaming industry. Yeah they sell well/are viewed more and are popular, but just because something sells well doesn't mean its the best thing for the industry or the best thing ever for that matter.

This new generation can have the CODs. To each their own. As long as I can have my Star Oceans, Valkyria Chronicles, Dynasty Warriors and their spin-offs (guilty pleasures. I'm uber excited for One Piece: Pirate Warriors), Tekkens, Mortal Kombats, and anything else that's not a FPS I'll be fine. (Not to say I don't play FPS. If I did that'd be a load of bs. I have all 3 Resistance titles, all 3 Killzone titles, Crysis 2, Borderlands, and some others. I just noticed that I spend more time playing other genres though.)

I'm done now lol. Have a great day to everyone.

Last edited by Miggy on 5/15/2012 9:42:32 AM

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Deleted User
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 10:33:00 AM

While CoD might have some merit when it comes to its gameplay and online, I don't like the series because it colors video gamers in an unflattering way.

1. The typical CoD player is some kid who is too young to play the game as is. For an M-rated game, a lot of 8-16 year old boys are seemingly online, using so-called "adult language".

2. Cheating is rampant on all platforms online. Neither Treyarch, IW or Steam can prevent these frauds from ruining people's fun.

3. Worst community of video gamers around.

4. Guess who has been hired at IW to deal with the Modern Warfare 3 crew? Tina "Dirty" Sanchez is the Senior Community Manager now.

5. Milking the cow dry and threatening to kill the industry once the little snot-nosed kids get bored of the genre.

This series' success has pretty much written the death sentence for video gaming. A crash is imminent simply because of what CoD has done to damage other companies that can't compete against this monster.

However, the benefit of a crash is that maybe a few years later, we will see another revival and maybe there won't be companies like Activision and cancers like Bobby Kotick around to ruin it for everyone.

Last edited by n/a on 5/15/2012 10:34:03 AM

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 11:27:31 AM

2 winners? Where's the 2nd article?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 1:38:52 PM

Uh...right above this one on the main page.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 4:13:19 PM

I don't know about the 'typical age' thing - my group of friends from work who play range from being 30 to mid 50's. Many didn't game for a number of decades (or never) and only got PS3's purely for COD so they could play with the group - no COD = no PS3 purchased - simple as that.

I played Atari (Phoenix, Pitfall etc) back in the day and I really enjoyed Commando on the Commadore 64 as well. I left gaming behind when I discovered the twin evils of women and alcohol. It was not until COD4 came out several decades later that my wife got me a PS3 - and well - the rest is history. COD is what guys play when their wives are watching those shittY reality shows on TV.

I purchase other games too for the singleplayer - and not just shooters - I love the Uncharted and Infamous series - but I admit my buddies are mostly COD only.

COD is easy to learn - its fast, its an adrenaline rush, you can jump right in, play 3-4 matches and walk away when the wife yells a new 'request'. each game is basically a new map pack with new guns - for an older crew who don't have the same time to pour into games as kids do, this is ideal as you know the controls and know the game.

Far from stifling the industry - COD has brought many new gamers in, especially older guys and has given women everywhere freedom to watch their crappy shows on TV.

Im not sure how the COD haters could be made happy?

Maybe other developers could make games as fun as COD?

Do you want a law passed that bans casual gamers who only play COD and only play a few hours a week from being allowed to buy it?

Luckily this isn't Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany so I get to play the game I love and haters can go *******.


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Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 6:29:00 PM

CoD isn't monopolizing anything, Activision is giving those people that are THEIR AUDIENCE what they want. What's hurting the industry as it always has is bandwagon jumping when it comes to ANYTHING that breaks out and becomes popular, just like any industry, especially the entertainment industry. The industry did it with Mortal Kombat knock offs in the early 90s, bad GTA knockoffs in the 00s and in other places I'm leaving out. A game gets big and publishers see dollar signs asking "where's our ____?" Then they get a developer with a fraction of the budget and passion to push them to make said game ASAP so they can market in a "hey kids if you like ___ then you'll LOVE _____!" Kind of way. Actually I got my example for the late 90s, it's not always all bad, look at what FFVII's success did for JRPGs outside of Japan. Well, until publishers found that the FF audience wouldn't jump on board to their games and now here we are going on 15 years since FFVII came out and the JRPG is on life support when it comes to consoles. Sound familiar? Then Square went to shit after the Enix merger. Hell, you can expand that to Japanese developers/publishers trying to jump on the "western" bandwagon and the negative effects that's had on the business there. Trying to be more "western" while not having the right mentality and losing what made games made over there stand out. Something IMO SE is highly guilty of.

THQ's problems solely rest on the fact that their management has a collective IQ that doesn't exceed an ice cube melting at room temperature. Nothing no other company has done is to blame for that. Let's not forget that Take-Two was in a similar (but perhaps less worse) situation several years ago and cleaned house, booting out those responsible. THQ needs to do the same. UDraw.... Whomever thought that a good idea should no longer be in any decision making position.

All in all the industry needs to stop trying to cater to certain demographics and grab an audience that isn't interested (never gonna happen) that are attached to another brand and focus on doing their own damn thing because trying to market yourself to an audience that's already attached to one brand is always a stupid idea. Maybe if they can manage to do it in a blind taste test sort of way they'd have a chance but that isn't going to work all that well outside of the food/beverage industry. Or hand out free samples which yeah that would be like demos except you have to then count on people to actually take the time to download a demo and then there are issues that creep up with demos and their being a work in progress which can have a negative affect on their quality and leave someone with a poor impression.

I'm sure the Kingdoms of Amalur demo did that to a lot of people and I'm also sure that had a negative impact on its sales. Not that it would have mattered since I doubt the game would have still managed to see the number of sales needed for 38 Studios to be able to pay their bills.

Anyway, the point is the problems with the industry are self inflicted and the only ones to blame are those in charge of those companies. Call of Duty becoming popular isn't the problem, poor management is.

Last edited by PHOENIXZERO on 5/17/2012 6:30:15 PM

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Sunday, May 20, 2012 @ 9:50:51 PM

That's a very fine article, sir. You expressed the fears I've been having the last half a dozen years, about the future or rpgs and survival horror (I would add puzzle adventures, but they're dead already).

I registered just to say this. Oh and because PSXE occasionally expresses similar fears, of course. Good to see you all.

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