Is Call Of Duty Mania A Good Thing?
There is one approach we can take- as Gene Simmons always said, "there's no such thing as bad publicity." So regardless of your feelings on Call of Duty: Black Ops, the fact that a game has managed to place the industry in the spotlight once again (CNN, ESPN, commercials with Kobe Bryant, etc, etc, etc.) is indeed a "good thing." And given the erratic economy these days and some recent lackluster numbers for the game industry, perhaps we should stick with this simplistic approach.
At the same time, there are many who seem somehow morally opposed to the very idea of CoD. Or rather, not just the games, but everything that surrounds them: Activision and its controversial CEO, Bobby Kotick, the accompanying DLC that will never cost less than $14.99, and finally, ammunition for those who say shooters are dominating store shelves. I don't necessarily agree with the latter, unless you include third-person shooters, but that opens up a whole new can of worms. In 2010, arguably the best games of the year thus far are God of War III, Halo: Reach, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, Final Fantasy XIII, and Rock Band 3, only one of which can be classified as a FPS. And yes, there's Black Ops, but 2010 should close with Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Gran Turismo 5.
So it's not so much a lack of diversity, but perhaps a concentration of popularity on shooters. Then, you have to add in the fact that CoD is really built around multiplayer, and single-player fans have been feeling threatened by the multi explosion since the start of the generation. With a Call of Duty these days, we get a campaign that will only last a day or two if you play long and hard (and really, not even that long and hard). Toss that into the mix and many will say a game like Black Ops along with the corresponding mania is an example of a diseased industry. Or, at the very least, an unwelcome trend that could lead us to the doorstep of Hollywood, where mediocre, big-budget action blockbusters top charts.
Ah, but is CoD really "mediocre?" Of course not. Maybe the quality alone will keep the industry's good name alive, and the naysayers shouldn't worry quite so much. Maybe we only need to worry when a boring, less-than-average CoD sells 20 million copies on name-brand recognition alone. That will mark the beginning of the end, in my opinion, but right now...not so much. So is the mania a good thing? Eh...not really my cup of tea and it's hard to say for sure, but let's not over-analyze it too much.
Related Game(s): Call of Duty: Black Ops
11/9/2010 9:18:57 PM Ben Dutka