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Is It Feasible That Call Of Duty Could End Up Like Guitar Hero?

EA took the jab a while back, hinting that Activision's mega-blockbuster Call of Duty franchise could follow in Guitar Hero's unfortunate footsteps.

The implication is that Activision ran the once-billion-dollar music franchise into the ground by flooding the market with not-so-new titles and spin-offs. At the time, Guitar Hero was the king of the massively popular music/rhythm genre, which also included major competition in Rock Band. But the pricey bundles and sheer number of installments with "Hero" in the title over-saturated the market and Guitar Hero went from making billions to barely hauling in a few hundred million...and that was only in the span of a couple years.

Currently, as gigantic as Call of Duty is right now, could the same thing potentially happen again? There's only one CoD entry each year and popularity shows no sign of tailing off (unless you count the fact that Modern Warfare 3 has yet to beat Black Ops in terms of lifetime sales), and there are no CoD spin-offs. Well...none yet. Sledgehammer is back on the radar with their mysterious CoD effort. That would qualify as a spin-off, right? Is that the start of multiple entries in the near future? And if so, are we once again looking at over-saturation?

Well, I'm going to say no. Thing is (and I said this at the very start of the plastic instrument craze), the music/rhythm fascination was a fad. Although it appeared to have staying power on the surface, most serious hardcore gamers weren't clamoring for every new Guitar Hero release. It was more of a casual/party experience, while Call of Duty - as much as I may not like to admit it - doesn't fall into the same category. It's a shooter and as such, has its roots in industry history; shooters have been popular since Wolfenstein and that's just the way it is. Shooters aren't a fad.

So unless Activision completely and totally mishandles the franchise, I don't see it taking a colossal nosedive like Guitar Hero. There were extenuating circumstances in the latter instance, even if it's absolutely true that CoD can't remain top dog forever...

Tags: call of duty, guitar hero, cod, activision, gaming industry

6/11/2012 11:40:37 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

Beamboom
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:07:47 PM
Reply

Reader contest #1: How long will it take until the first "I sure hope COD end up like Guitar Hero" comment is posted.

;)

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/11/2012 3:52:14 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:25:44 PM

I hope so to what, exactly? The article says it won't happen.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:34:08 PM

... That COD ends the same place Guitar Hero ended up!
Trying to make a joke, is all.

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/11/2012 3:56:35 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:48:56 PM

Ah, but that would only prove that someone doesn't read the article.

Wouldn't be a "reader" contest at all when it involves not reading the article in order to respond that way!

Anyways, no one has done it yet. *cry*

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/11/2012 12:51:39 PM

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Beamboom
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:20:25 PM

Hmmm... Trying to be a smarta$$ here, are we? Tsk tsk tsk. Last laugh is on me! ;)


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/11/2012 3:55:52 PM

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:22:53 PM

I hope so.

EDIT: ZOMG UNDERDOG HAZ NEW AVATAR!1!!

Last edited by Ludicrous_Liam on 6/11/2012 1:24:51 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:39:00 PM

Lighten up? Not sure you can get much lighter! lol I was poking fun at the fact you probably wrote your OP without reading the whole article. ;p

@Liam
I promised I would!

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/11/2012 1:40:10 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:01:10 PM

This is just an editorial, not a part of the contest to my knowledge.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:54:24 PM

Sure hope COD end up like Guitar Hero.

(I dare you to edit it again.)

Now, about the prize: GIMMEH!

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H0TSHELLZ
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:08:05 PM
Reply

Thank you Ben !!!!

COD will never go away, its just too BIG and as much as people dont believe it COD has changes with every entry that bring something new. Even without a new engine, they make upgrades to the current one which satisfy the hunger.

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:38:28 PM

You forgot the /s after your post.

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sniperflash
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:10:31 PM
Reply

im with ya ben i dont see it going anywhere but i do see the gamers like me that cant stand that they wont make a new engine it will start to piss us off will we stop buying the game? i dought it but they should put some more time in to the graphics because truly you go get mw and put it in and then go get mw3 a game 5 years older and they look the same jmo though

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CH1N00K
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:13:58 PM
Reply

I would have to say no on that as well. Like you said, fps's have been around for a long time..music games are new, and we are already seeing the end result.

If the popularity of COD goes down, it means that all fps game sales will drop too. Which I wouldn't necessarily mind. If fps sales drop, it means that a new genre would be gaining popularity. I'm not a huge fps guy, so I look forward to something new being available on the shelves.

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telly
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:23:24 PM
Reply

Western society, and America in particular, has always and probably will always have a fascination with violence, and gun violence in particular. It's a part of who we are, a huge part of our history and a major part our nation's identity. That's not a knock (or endorsement) of the way things are, just a statement of fact. The Call of Duties tap into something almost primal in the Western subconscious -- many of our heroes were and are generals, soldiers, etc. We're the good guys, the thinking goes, and we're not afraid to get our hands dirty doing what's right. I really think that's why the series is SO successful now -- it's fantasy/wish fulfillment for justified violence.

So no, I don't think CoD is going anywhere any time soon.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:50:23 PM

In terms of fantasy/wish fulfillment, music heroes and rock Gods and the desire for many teenagers (male AND female, unlike military personages) to be like them is a big part of this society.

Don't make it sound like everyone growing up in the US wanted to play with guns. That depends a lot on the generation; my generation wasn't that way, and to an even greater extent, neither was the 60s generation.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/11/2012 2:50:50 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:57:42 PM

Japan has no fascination with violence?

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 3:57:37 PM

Yea Ben, but CoD wasnt popular on the 60's, its popular now. This generation.

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telly
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:17:46 PM

Probably too long response:

@Ben, I disagree with your take on fictional gun violence in our generation. Military-inspired fictional violence seemed especially big. I'm about the same age as you(31) and I had quite a few toy guns, most of them vaguely military-inspired. GI Joe was huge in the 80s, was it not? That was a portrayal of American military forces as the ultimate force for good and was a huge influence on, and reflection of, the times. Literally every male friend I can remember from my 80s childhood ran around with toy guns, army men, toy tanks, G.I. Joes, etc., and I grew up in a decidedly anti-(real) gun community and home. I'm sure there were exceptions, obviously. But toy guns were definitely HUGE.

In fact, I think the broader pop culture then catered a lot to those of us who really dug fictional gun violence. This was the decade that gave us Red Dawn! And the A-Team! And Schwarzenegger! I think that whole desire for good guy/bad guy gun action still exists, but now it's very prevalent in video games, and much less so in movies. We don't really see many 80s-style action movies anymore, but I think you DO see those sorts of unabashed power fantasies in games. I've thought for a while that Call of Duty, Gears of War, etc. are really this generations Schwarzenegger action movies -- we don't get that stuff at the cinema, but we get it in video games instead.

Mind you, really not trying to knock the desire of some to be the hero in a war setting, just saying it's definitely there and that's a HUGE part of the appeal of Call of Duty. Video games provide lots of wish fulfillment opportunities, certainly including "rock star," (well, used to anyway), and violence of MANY sorts. But the gun-toting good guy "simulation" (using this term very loosely here), especially with a military tilt, is maybe the biggest, most evergreen fantasy of all. I think CoD's continued success is testament to that.

Not disagreeing with your points, either -- Rock Band/Guitar Hero was super-gimmicky, totally a one-note (no pun intended) experience, expensive, fad controller-based experience, and CoD certainly benefits from the LONG history of shooters in various forms in the medium. But I stand by my points too :)

@World, that was an off-the-cuff post but I should have clarified I was talking a bit more about military gun violence, which is just a huge topic of interest in the U.S., be that regarding current tech, military history, etc. I don't sense the same sort of fetishizing in Japan of the Japanese army because, well, they don't really have one :) Now OTHER forms of violence...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:31:46 PM

It baffles me to be honest, after so many pointless wars and deaths you'd think people would find a better fantasy world.

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Russell Burrows
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:25:11 PM
Reply

Gee let me think 60 dollars on another Call of Duty??
Or.
Play Dust 514 for FREE!!!!

The Freemium model is going to cut into traditional FPS economic models.

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Temjin001
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 12:25:55 PM
Reply

I think if a change happens it could happen during a generational console transition. Isn't that how CoD came to be so popular to begin with for 360 users? It was the military themed FPS "go to" title for those who wanted less sci-fi. I suspect whether it's CoD, Battlefield, or whatever, there'll seemingly always be a like game type to fill the shoes for that demand. I really don't think it's CoD specifically that makes it sell so well. I see it being a popular genre/them type for a type of demographic. I see this being a reason for many game's success. Gran Turismo, for example, has an identity that has global appeal. Many countries contribute their engineered offerings that are found in one quality package. They're all put on classy show. People around the globe like cars. The appeal is high, even if a sim like GT is way deeper than I imagine most people ever go with it.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:34:44 PM

ZOMG TEMJIN HAZ NEW AVATAR!1!!

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slugga_status
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:04:35 PM
Reply

I don't see CoD taking a complete nosedive for the worse. I do believe that it will start to see a decline. It appears that Battlefield really converted a lot of CoD players. Even some of my friends who were hardcore CoD players switched over.

Seems like there's a growing problem with bugs and MP fixes that go unaddressed. Just my opinion from the outside looking in..MW2 was the last one I bought..BO and MW3 don't feel much different..

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Underdog15
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:11:19 PM
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Nah, just like Final Fantasy and games like that used to be king, they'll always be popular. But another will come along to be the new king someday.

Tis' the circle of gaming life!

But no... for as long as CoD stays accessible, people will continue to invest.

Ben's right as well about Guitar Hero being based on a bit of a gimmick. The point about it not being an already established genre is a great point. It was the boy band of video games.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/11/2012 1:12:39 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:18:57 PM
Reply

Interesting question. I've actually forgotten about Guitar Hero and how big of a craze it once was. I remember back in 2007 everyone I knew had multiple guitars and games and I felt like I was odd for not seeing the fun in it. Now I'm stuck in the same situation with COD.

I think COD has plenty of footing left it in thanks to being a FPS. I'd love for a few years from now to have the same remembrance of COD like I now have with Guitar Hero. Dead and gone.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:32:01 PM
Reply

Waiting for a fall in popularity of COD games is like waiting for Spain to lose a football match*: It's just never gunna happen.

*convincingly - England beating them in the manner we did doesn't count :P

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frylock25
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 1:50:32 PM
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i honestly would just like to see call of duty worry more about having a longer campaign and upgrading the graphics. plenty of games get delayed to make it a little better but not call of duty. every year they come out its full of glitches and exploits. if its a game that you love then so be it. everyone has gameplay that they love and want more of.

some might say the same of assassins creed. but now that we have seen the graphic leap for assassins creed 3 every one knows they were working to make the game better. ac games have long single player games as well as now a good multiplayer.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:03:56 PM
Reply

It may be hanging around for awhile but gamers are fickle, they could decide on any given year that military shooters are getting passe.

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CH1N00K
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:35:27 PM

Kind of like how WWII shooters were all the craze last generation?

Last edited by CH1N00K on 6/11/2012 2:35:55 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 3:00:36 PM

Yes, they just dropped like flies. Plus there's always the possibility a few changes will destroy the genre a la JRPG. There's just no telling what a new generation can bring. I assumed this gen would be a solid continuation of last gens trends but everything went topsy turvy.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 2:16:49 PM
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Nah. It may dwindle over time, but it'll be a slow drawn out fall into a part of history. That is inevitable. It won't go like 'Hero' did, backed up by stupid decisions and ridiculously overpriced peripherals just to play the damn thing. (Although... Elite is the first step to that and EA had better watch out that aping that with BF Premium doesn't come around to bite them on the backside).

Even if they remain the top seller, it'll still lose market share as its core audience moves away to try new things.

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Squirrelicus
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 4:42:34 PM
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CoD is a fad currently. One year they'll release it and while it might sell good it won't be the huge numbers they expect. CoD isn't so big because of hard core or even moderate gamers. Casual gamers and pop culture are what makes it huge. Eventually "the mob" will get bored with the yearly hype and when the opening sales don't match the figures from the year before it will be considered a bomb (even if those figures are the same as let's say Arkham City or Skyrim) it will be a victim of its own success. Nothing stays on top forever.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 4:49:51 PM
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I just beat Killzone 3, uh... why wasn't there an ending?

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Temjin001
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:25:01 PM

'cause they're saving that for KZ4?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:32:26 PM

Pfft, I'm not buyin that. This one was a shooting gallery built around the Move.

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CH1N00K
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:44:37 PM

I enjoy the Move, but I definitely agree that KZ3 suffered because of it. That's why I'm curious to see what they do with KZ4....

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 5:48:08 PM

There was an ending. It's just that it was f*cking HORRIBLE! Probably so bad your mind just erased it from your memory.

I enjoyed parts of KZ3 - mainly the scrapyard and the snow levels - but the story was just so unbelievable bad...and I mean BAD!

KZ2 was much the better game, in terms of gameplay, graphics & story. The slower paced gameplay, the dark, weather hardened, twisted look of Helgan & the decent storyline are all the reasons why it was better. KZ3 just felt like it was rushed to me.

I still found it fun though, & sure it does look pretty. Splitscreen coop is awesome too.

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Fane1024
Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 7:20:00 PM
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Guitar Hero was featured in a new episode of True Blood last night. I guess it's un-dead. /rimshot/

As a fan of Rock Band, I kind of hope GH remains defunct, so all those still interested in music games (and there are still many) will continue to switch to the superior franchise, but I guess any reminder that these games are *really fun* is good.

Call of what now?

Last edited by Fane1024 on 6/11/2012 7:22:25 PM

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farfus
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 12:31:16 AM
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Hey Underdog whats up get back over to the MLB thread man, been missing the heck outta ya! Ben got me on over here, never had been able to register, thanks Ben! As far as CoD i dont see it going anywhere, i love the Treyarch games, still routinely play Blops and am at 15th prestige maxed out. Already have Blops2 prepurchased and cant wait, literally absorbs me. So for me, personally i dont see this series doing anything but getting better and more popular. I didnt get mw3 because i wasnt into mw2 that much and saw it wasnt a herculean improvement. Anyways will have more to say, thanks again Ben for getting me aboard will be interesting to experience the "front page"!!!

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ulsterscot
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 6:08:34 AM
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It isn't just the US that has the fascination with violence. I live in Canada, but grew up in the UK - and in both Canada and the UK COD does very well - something Infinity Ward realized so they made British SAS such central characters in the Modern Warfare series to ensure success across the atlantic.

I think this free to play model coming to the PS3 with Dust 514 will be very interesting (and Crytek's 'Warface' on the PC) and could change the FPS genre in a big way. Hell, even a free to play COD with all the series maps in one huge free to pay model with the option of buying weapons/perks etc - they'd make a killing ...

I actually loved KZ3 - was never a fan of the heavy controls of KZ2 - it just felt too different from all my other shooters (im old and set in my ways). I played the campaign with the sharpshooter and had a blast.

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___________
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 6:37:19 AM
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dont be ridiculous!
COD will never end up like GH simply because it has a much higher replay value.
people play COD for a year, 2 years straight non stop!
id love to see 1 person play guitar hero for 2 years straight non stop without loosing their mind!
GH fell because it was so expensive, 180 bucks for the game and a piece of plastic guitar.
and 300 bucks if you wanted the whole band experience, ie guitar, drums and microphone.
and also because no matter how much you enjoy them, no matter how much DLC and new songs you bring to it, it gets boring after a while.
thats what happened to GH, people got bored playing it and moved on.
same wont happen to COD because you cant get bored!
people have been playing online shooting people in the face for centuries!
and it has never been more popular!

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Ludicrous_Liam
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 9:37:10 AM

"people have been playing online shooting people in the face for centuries!"

?

I believe you mean decades...

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Fane1024
Friday, June 15, 2012 @ 8:22:26 PM

Nonsense as usual. Shooters are no more inherently fun to replay than anything else. I've played Rock Band 1-3 times a week for the last four years and it hasn't got old in the slightest. The only shooters I've played for any length of time are Warhawk and SOCOM and I didn't last more than about 50 hours with each before I'd had enough.

If you really like playing something, it stays fun. If not, it doesn't.

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farfus
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 9:57:30 AM
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CoD is great therapy after a long, hard day. Something about it helps you take out frustration like nothing else. Its a very addicting game, you have a bad game, you wanna jump back in and blow somebody ass to hell! You dont need a Wii joystick with CoD, you let your normal joystick do the job! And whats nice about CoD is even when your outmatched you learn something, lets face it, its part of being a team, and helping your team mates out. Plus CoD can be a fairly social game at times, too, although ive only played in groups a bit its very fun to do so. While i havent played GH at all, i doubt it has those attributes...

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Laguna
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 3:17:28 PM
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I would hope that COD would die and take its stagnation away from the industry, but I imagine something would take its place.

I would hate for it to be an EA title that becomes the most popular game ever.

EA is worst than activision.

Right now activision makes so much that they don "need" online passes.

So they just release DLC packs. usually 3 to 4 packs $15 each.

or $50 a year.

Then we have EA who already has their games with less content that needs to be unlocked through paid DLC. They allow paid DLC that unlocks weapons and skills for you, which is ridiculous in a competitive online game.

I know this is an EA rant, but i seriously hope EA is continually losing to call of duty, because at least Call of Duty gives you more content for $60.

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Lazerbyte
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 8:25:50 PM
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Gamers are fickle and I can see them getting tired of a new CoD every single year and just changing the story a bit so I think it could go the way of Guitar Hero if they make more spin offs and such!

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