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Activision Take No Risks
Activision is a video-game publisher, and hold the rights to Call of Duty and Destiny franchises. They are also known for their movie to video-game adaptations including such character titles as Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, and Deadpool.
What we are getting into for this post is Activision’s reliance on their current success stories, such as Call of Duty and Destiny. Destiny is relatively new you say? Well, Destiny (the original) launched in 2014, and was in response to a new relationship forming between Activision and Bungie (the developer behind the Halo franchise).
Destiny was immediately successful, and this was in part due to Activision’s funding and support for Bungie’s latest envisioning of a new science-fiction universe. Activision, being the generous and heart-felt publisher that they are, took on board Bungie’s Destiny having not a clue for what the result of this would be.
Let’s take Bungie to start, the solo developing studio behind the complete success of Halo, a franchise that originates back to Microsoft Studios, the benefactor for the release of every Halo game that ever was. Shying away from Microsoft Studios, Bungie sold the rights to their Destiny brand to Activision, and have since enticed tens of millions of players from across the platforms for their original title release, Destiny (2014). Activision have long been relying on their flagship franchise, Call of Duty, for paying the utility bills at Activision’s headquarters.
No more, as Destiny has become a heavy-hitter over at the console and PC video-game marketplace, and to give a firm taste on what is going on Activision have invested an additional $500 million since the first Destiny game released to pay for the foreseeable and thereafter future of the Destiny franchise.
How does Call of Duty compete to Destiny (1 and 2)? Well, Call of Duty is a franchise that receives regular investment support from Activision, as the publisher is consistently seeking out new developing studios to help out in the current franchises infrastructure, and also to further support the franchises currently changing business model. Call of Duty, in 2016, pumped out two titles - one from Infinity Ward, titled Infinite Warfare, and one from Raven Software, titled Modern Warfare Remastered. Many have speculated that this was simply a freak-one-off situation, and I am keeping my reservations on this one, as if Activision have done something like this once, it opens up the pathway to it happening again… and then again. And before you know it the industry standard for FPS franchises is two releases per calendar year. The Activision CEO at the E3 event this year made it clear that there could be changes to current cycle that Call of Duty is using for its games life-cycles, which opens the doorway to even more title releases each year, and extended life-cycles on the current titles out for the year highlights.
Hey, Activision take no risks, tell me more? Chill everybody, please. In 2017, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered have not faded into the masses of releases brought out by Activision, and this is because Call of Duty’s business model works a little like Apple’s iPhone, in that it is so popular gamers will keep playing online within the game until the next one releases the year after.
This prompts to the committed Call of Duty community for as to whether they would be open to a two title releases through the same calendar year. The answer would appear to be a plain and simple, no!, as the Infinite Warfare launched in 2016 alongside MWR, and this was well received by the FPS community. What was not received so well was the handcuffing situation that meant that Infinite Warfare customers could buy it solo, but the customers buying MWR were not so thrilled. These customers had to get the Infinite Warfare Deluxe Edition: Modern Warfare Remastered digitally included, but further sh**e (yes, with an ‘e’), MWR only works with the IW disc.
Well, what about the ‘zero’ risk equation for Activision’s grander business model? There, I have given it. When Activision were contracting a two-Call of Duty-title releases for 2016, as NerosCinema (the greatest YouTuber to correspond the views of the wider Call of Duty community) put it best, “they handcuffed IW to MWR”. What the fudge!
If Activision were risk takers, then they would have launched Infinite Warfare alone in November, 2016, and they would have released Modern Warfare Remastered in March during the Easter holiday. This is what a risk taker would have done, and the publisher paid the price because lots of to-be customers saw the overpriced bundle and refused to buy either of the games editions last November (2016).
Oh, and surprise-surprise, the Call of Duty community which held back for the Modern Warfare Remastered solo release have now come out to complain that the player base is diminishing and that the solo release is overpriced when compared to the IW solo disc price. The result, nearly double. Activision are not risk takers when looking at their flagship products, but how do they fair with the rest of their titles in 2016 and 2017?
Sure, Activision released Destiny, but where are the titles to compete with EA DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront series, and to further the problems, where is Activision’s response to Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Siege. The competition are stealing away Activision customers with terrible game engines. This is disappointing.
Even independent publishers and developers are moving the meta game space, to such games as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds which has stolen away 13 million pairs of eyes to their game, perhaps better known as PUB-G.
And, if you take a look over on YouTube to check out some of the trending videos, there are even large numbers of audiences (going into the millions) watching mass-supported YouTube channels play independent games known as Garry’s Mod. This is moving the gaming community that are simply looking for dumb-fun away from the Activision meta gaming space. This is only what I have noticed from being pro-active with my thinking, and even though Activision are money-obsessed, they are clearly not making innovative decisions in bringing in smaller development studios who are going to be the development giants of tomorrow.
Activision’s responses to competition in the video-game market:
Respawn Entertainment, made up of ex-developers from the original Infinity Ward, shy away from Activision to set up their new development studio to give them the freedom they did so require. Their opening game was Titanfall, the video-game released in 2013 and advertised worldwide alongside the Xbox One console from its initial launch. Activision were prepared for the game, as they already had Sledgehammer Games working on a futuristic title, Advanced Warfare that released in 2014.
Why did the original Infinity Ward developers leave the major developing studio, Infinity Ward back in 2009? They had differing creative views for the future of the Call of Duty franchise.
And, in the end, it would be Sledgehammer Games which would form the new Infinity Ward. Does anyone even like Infinity Ward anymore? Yeah, they made Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. Sure, but the newly formed Infinity Ward is filled with young imbeciles that are rampant in their efforts to tarnish the original success story behind the Call of Duty franchise. We know a weak link when we see one.
Sorry guys, when the original minds behind the Call of Duty franchise exited the studio that they once founded, all hope was lost for innovative tech moves from the studio that was. Now the meta space for Call of Duty look to Treyarch, and they have been stumbling through money greed since Black Ops II starting raining money. They formed zombies, that’s something? Yep, but Infinity Ward have been reeking havoc on the zombies mode in Infinite Warfare. Activision needs to hire handlers for the developers working at Infinity Ward, they are causing waves within the community.
Sledgehammer Games… the creator of well-designed multiplayer experiences, and their next shot is closing in on the November 3rd, 2017 release for Call of Duty: WW2. Well, Advanced Warfare (the first full game developed by Sledgehammer Games for the Call of Duty franchise)… well, someone must have played the game.
Call of Duty: WW2 - thoughts:
Sledgehammer Games are feeling like the logical replacement for Infinity Ward, as their WW2 game seems to have a positive audience awaiting the games release (for winter, 2017). It promises an engaging, historically correct (all hopes aim in the direction of the historian they hired), adrenaline-emotionally-driven cut scenes that appear from the story trailer to be like a Steven Spielberg standard cinematic movie. All good, there. The games multiplayer received an open-BETA recently for the PC, and the console received a private multiplayer BETA going back a couple of weeks, and everything seems to be at the standards for a multiplayer mode on COD.
But, the zombies mode is yet to receive any form of trailer, and it promises (at least from developers at the SHG studio, who have been interviewed) to be scary, and a real-life comparison to what it would actually feel like to have zombies surrounding you on an open battlefield. It is spoken as being a story-driven mode which has never been done before in a Call of Duty game.
No risks!… This is the biggest quarrel that I have with the Call of Duty: WW2 game, as they have clearly made a well-made, graphically stunning piece of art. But, where is the grit, where is the blood-soaked clothing, and epic online map sizes like we saw in Treyarch’s World at War back in 2008.
I’m pretty sure that when the Call of Duty community was calling out for a World War II game from Activision back in 2012 when Black Ops II was out, these people were referring to the epic adventure that could be had during a Nazi infested World War II battlefields that were leaking into local civilian towns and cities.
Epic!… This is the one word that comes to mind when thinking about World War II, with open warfare for trapped soldiers in the towns spread throughout France, Germany, and Russia. These battlefield would have had dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of battling troops. Call of Duty simply shy away from the bigger, more epic of battlefield pictures, and this is why there is still disappointment among the traditionalist, and purist Call of Duty fans. This was shown brilliantly in the story campaign within 2005’s Call of Duty: Big Red One, and the epic multiplayer experience was depicted best in 2008’s World at War. Since, the epic experience for those who want it, have to make a switch to the Battlefield series, and their game engine is distinctively worse.
Call of Duty has not been epic (yes, EPIC!) in a decade, and bringing back Call of Duty 4 in remastered form is not enough, as it was World at War that truly brought forth the epic multiplayer experience. Didn’t sell better than Call of Duty 4? Well, back in 2008 the word was not spreading quick enough, as for the most part it was the internet not being as accessible which made the switch to World at War an issue.
When a World at War remaster happens, there will be a sudden switch in expectations, as players will begin to realise (again, if you were on World at War back in 2008) that World at War thought innovative on including much bigger maps that could truly be called epic. World at War used the same multiplayer game engine as Call of Duty 4, and yet World at War felt totally different from Call of Duty 4, and this was because of the innovative thinking behind the games development, not just the shift in war era.
Based on your views, is Activision Innovators in the Video-Game Marketplace?
Is Activision a gaming publisher that gives you the green light thinking when searching for your next video-game addiction?
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