5 Reasons Why Call of Duty's Target Audience is 12 Year Olds
We Were 12 Years Old When Call of Duty 4 First Released
That is correct, or to some extent, as Call of Duty 4 was the first online success for the Call of Duty franchise. This is going on personal experience as well, since back in 2007 I was in fact 12 years of age.
Things were simple for Call of Duty back in 2007 as they had every kid on the block hooked on their game, and everyone at school wanted to go home and kick some ass for mother nature on Call of Duty's latest title, the first of many online hits for the franchise being that of Call of Duty 4.
I feel almost sacramental about the Call of Duty 4 title as though it was the holy grail of all online video-games. It gave birth to the almighty right before our eyes, and we could kill enemy players as many times as we liked since the spawns were unlimited and the gameplay was super-addictive.
Children were practically taking drugs whilst playing Call of Duty 4 as it was the most impressive display of online genius that players had ever seen.
Before Call of Duty hit the big time with its fourth instalment gamers were clambering to go on multiple FPS game titles to get the juice out of all of the fun that they would have to offer. But, with Call of Duty 4 there was no stopping the addiction, every afternoon after school would be COD time, and every weekend would be more COD time.
This is perhaps why there are so many Call of Duty fans from back in the day more than a decade ago who would have never moved from the sweet spot where they were playing Call of Duty 4.
Even at the age of 13 we were all still playing Call of Duty 4 because we had no idea that Call of Duty: World at War was to be just as good, if not better within the online experience.
Me and my friends probably missed the first month of the 2008 release of Call of Duty: World at War as we all likely got the game a Christmas present. This had to be a more addictive multiplayer experience than Call of Duty 4, there were just so many confused players in 2008 (probably because they were all 13) who could not understand that there was another brilliant multiplayer release under the same franchise by a different developer, Treyarch.
The confusion must have gotten somewhat easier by 2009 as everyone was on the ball at the age of 14, as we got the best multiplayer game experience of our entire adolescent lives with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to Call of Duty 4.
In MW2, the multiplayer maps were better thought out, there was a better selection of weapons, the noob tube was born (grenade launcher attachment for assault rifles), and the entire online system was broken due to all weapons, attachments (basically, launchers) and kill streaks were all seriously overpowered. This may have been the most emotional Call of Duty release, ever.
At the age of 15 we were all well into the yearly cycle that by this point was a religious-like pre-order, as everyone had to make sure that they were going to get the game the day before it was launched. This title was Treyarch's second instalment titled Black Ops. Essentially, this game was set around the Vietnam war.
The Vietnam war setting would have been given varying responses from my friends back in the day, from perhaps being one of the greatest multiplayer experiences in a COD game, to being one of the worst due to the gameplay being different from anything we had ever experienced before. Not to mention, the maps were at times set in the jungle, a nightmare trying to locate enemy players.
At 16, we were at the height of the Infinity Ward Call of Duty releases, as by this point the team had lost a lot of developers due to a conflict between the developers at Infinity Ward and Activision. These developers would later go on to form their own gaming development studio called Respawn Entertainment, the development studio behind Titanfall and Titanfall 2.
Due to the shortage on the Infinity Ward team, they joined up with Sledgehammer Games to create Modern Warfare 3, the final Modern Warfare in the series. Many would back the game back in 2011 arguing the case that it was a ton of fun, when in reality looking back today in 2017 the game simply looks like a rip-off of MW2.
It would be at the age of 17 that Call of Duty would bring back high spirits for the franchise as Treyarch released their 2012 title, Black Ops 2. This game had a superb multiplayer that was far better than Black Ops 1, and the zombies game mode went in a rational direction.
By the age of 18 we saw the fall of perhaps the most iconic Call of Duty developer, Infinity Ward, as they opted to abandon their Modern Warfare series, in order to go down a new route with Call of Duty: Ghosts. The multiplayer for this game was a step in the wrong direction, they screwed fans on the prestige emblems that were dreadful, the kill streaks were nothing special, and the entire game was left in a state of cult followers keeping the games multiplayer active.
Given the self-destruction of Infinity Ward in 2013 with a game that was clearly trapped in development hell until it was eventually released in a poor state. What would happen next simply brought the franchise to its knees as they were aiming at an entirely different market to that of any of their previous releases with a completely futuristic title, and this was Sledgehammer Games first COD title release, Advanced Warfare.
Was Advanced Warfare a bad game?: I guess we will never know, as myself along with my friends moved away from the franchise as it was shifting market changes. This was something that would later strike me, they were targeting the next 12 year olds. At this stage Activision must have been looking into marketing their games at the next set of super young gamers. Perhaps they wanted futuristic style gameplay.
Although, hard statistics would state otherwise, as it was Modern Warfare 3 that was the franchises biggest seller, and then they had a slight upturn in sales with the release of Black Ops 2, but by the time they released Advanced Warfare in 2014 the sales were plummeting.
The solution is simple, aim video-games that function best online at 12 year olds, but this age group has no idea what they want. A lot of these age groups will spout about how good the futuristic movements are in Advanced Warfare, and Black Ops 3 (arguably the best futuristic title release), and perhaps Infinite Warfare. But, trust in what was working.
The only problem with the theory: Many young age groups such as 12 year olds to pick a number right out of the pile will likely start out really bad at the multiplayer titles for Call of Duty due to the older, more experienced players. This allows room for anger in the adolescence groups who will likely storm of the game in a pit of dispair. Perhaps to never return to the game, or the franchise.
This would be much simpler away from futuristic movement mechanics, as it promotes more skilled gameplay given that there is a lot more for the player to get used to. However, in a boots-on-the-ground style multiplayer experience these younger players can adopt moving slower around the map to avoid taking as many deaths for the enemy team to favour considerably.
Activision will be having a field day with Sledgehammer Games development studio if they are unable to appeal to the largely younger audiences, as the track record has shown that it is these very young people that make up for the larger levels of sales. Older, more experienced players who like the leading FPS franchise will probably buy into all of the titles regardless, as long as they are not too far from the mark with a release like Advanced Warfare, and not too boring like Ghosts.