Just yesterday, Electronic Arts global project manager Kevin O’Leary cheekily suggested that the Call of Duty series “look[s] tired” and is in need of a year off. Granted there are probably a plethora of gaming fans who share Mr. O’Leary’s opinion – the Call of Duty franchise is rapidly becoming more known for its incremental upgrades and lack of innovation than defining gameplay – but it would appear that O’Leary’s motivations for making such a brazen statement run much deeper.
Consider the facts. Modern Warfare 3 handily destroyed rival Battlefield 3 in the sales department, which would naturally prompt a bit of jealously from EA officials. In addition, Call of Duty as a franchise has become the most popularized first-person shooter in gaming history. Although it is becoming readily apparent that each future rendition will most likely opt to play it safe, is there really a need for Activision to tailor its strategy to disgruntled gamers if CoD continues breaking sales records year in and year out? Probably not – not yet at least.
Ultimately, O’Leary is looking to spark a petty, childish feud in an attempt to diminish the impact of Activision’s huge yet predictable announcement that Black Ops 2 will be hitting shelves just in time for the holiday rush. He’s likely cognizant of the fact that more and more, gamers are viewing Call of Duty as Activision’s money making standby more than a reputable franchise. And in lieu of the mixed reactions to the Black Ops announcement, O’Leary is attempting to use Activision’s vulnerability against them. Given the integrity of the source, it won’t work.
Ironically, EA is also well-known for delivering games that don’t exactly break the mold. Madden anyone? Going further, it seems as though whenever EA releases a game, they stamp an invisible expiration date on it, essentially saying “Product will be Null and Void after 365 days.” Why? Because after one year, they’ll release a slightly better version of the same game. So the question that really begs to be asked is, “Who is EA to make allegation against anyone in regards to a series looking tired?”
Black Ops 2 will go on to be a rousing success, that much is certain. EA’s future is a bit more in question. Certainly their formula needs a little tweaking. Perhaps if they spent more time creating games and less time bickering and sparking feuds with their direct competitors the public would think a bit more highly of them. Still, I can’t help but admit that it’s fun to watch grown men battle it out over the Interweb. Thank you Kevin O’Leary for providing some circus-like entertainment on this otherwise dreary day.