Is Call of Duty on the decline?
Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Wedbush securities’ Michael Pachter believes that Black Ops 2 won’t break any records when it releases later this year, claiming
it’s unrealistic to think that number can grow meaningfully with each annual release.
It is still predicted to ship a staggering 22 million units, according to Colin Sebastion of RW Baird, so is Call of Duty’s decline even worthy of discussion. Maybe. With Halo 4 and GTA V approaching perhaps Call of Duty’s throne is to be challenged?
It would certainly seem that Activision are worried about stagnation, or at least Treyarch are, as Black Ops 2 promises a fresh futuristic setting (at least for the Call of Duty franchise) and a different take on level design, perhaps to silence naysayers who complain about getting the same experience every year (yet still buy the game).
How much can these changes help though? Can throwing the story 10 years in the future really make a difference? In fact a futuristic setting could hurt, as the appeal of the games started when we were finally taken away from World War 2 and thrown into a more modern, realistic authentic experience. It would seem that we’ve finally worn the “real world” out and need a fresh take.
I argue that charging down a realistic, modern street killing all the enemies in your way is what a lot of the adrenaline junkie crowd are looking for both on and offline; they’d like to imagine that this is how they’d react to a real war (which isn’t to say I believe that Call of Duty is “training soldiers”). Futuristic settings are still deemed to be fairly “nerdy” and may turn a lot of said crowd off.
Regardless of these changes, the core experience is still going to be there. After all, isn’t that what people keep returning for? If that experience is starting to ware on people then is a simple location change really going to stop that?
Perhaps Call of Duty is fine for now. They have established themselves as THE franchise of this generation, yet with this generation ending soon, can Call of Duty remain relevant in the next one? Will Activision even want it to? They can’t rely on all 22 million COD players (give or take a few PC players) to pick up a new console for the next installment.
So what do you all think? Is Call of Duty safe for now? How excited are you for Black Ops?