This Year Could Kill Call of Duty
This year is going to be key to Call of Duty and Activision as they come across their biggest threat yet: Star Wars.
Dwindling sales and negative reaction for Ghosts meant that Black Ops 3 had to really impress to win back an audience quickly become disinterested. Sales are still high – and rightfully so, it’s unlike anything else on the market – but when faced with a choice between Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront, who is going to win?
It isn’t the first challenge that CoD has faced, but it may just be the biggest. Titanfall came and went, perhaps because it was online only and perhaps because it was Xbox only, but it didn’t make the splash EA was hoping. Advanced Warfare arguably borrowed many of the biggest features of the new franchise, and Black Ops 3 seem to be taking the movement to another new level.
But Battlefront has a double-edged support of nostalgia and film tie-ins. People will be able to watch their favourite characters on the big screen and then head out to their local video game store and pick up a decent game with those same characters in. More than that, Battlefront is an already established franchise, and a quality one at that.
Call of Duty is established as well, and it’s important not to ignore just how important an entertainment property it is. You can’t say just because it’s facing Star Wars, that it will automatically fail, especially considering the gameplay rift between the two. These are not competing shooters when finances are taken out of the equation.
But you can’t underestimate the disappointment that was Call of Duty: Ghosts. Advanced Warfare was excellent, and the DLC released for it has been high quality as well, but it hasn’t been enough to drag back those that became disillusioned with Ghost’s poor quality.
And so it becomes little more than a pull on the slot machine. Anything could happen, and we won’t see the true results for at least two years (as there are currently three Call of Duty games in development). With that said, this will almost inevitably be the first time EA have beaten Activision in the sales stakes for quite some time.
Shooter fans will inevitably end up with both, but which will they choose to buy new? Which will they pre-order? Will the teenagers who so often get Call of Duty over the Christmas period be more interested in taking on Stormtroopers and Jedi than going into another futuristic shooter?