Grab your popcorn, because EA is at it again, talking smack about the ever-popular Activision franchise, Call of Duty, while at the same time up-selling their own Battlefield series. It is hard to blame EA for this, as they clearly want to topple the giant. A few days ago, Activision tried to mend the fences, essentially stating that they want both games to succeed, and that the competition would be good for the industry. While that isn’t necessarily the wrong sentiment, EA wasn’t about to quit their verbal assaults.
Yesterday, EA made their point of view clear, that the market is a competitive beast, and they don’t want to be friends with their biggest rivals. According to IndustryGamers, EA corporate communications man, Jeff Brown, had some choice words to shut down Activision’s hopes of friendly competition. Brown, in response to Activision’s Publishing manager Eric Hirshberg’s comments on reconciliation said, “Welcome to the big leagues Eric — I know you’re new in the job but someone should have told you this is an competitive industry.”
It actually gets better. Brown went on to discuss something that a lot of gamers have used to show that Call of Duty seems to be over-saturating the market. He said, “You’ve got every reason to be nervous. Last year Activision had a 90 share in the shooter category. This year, Battlefield 3 is going to take you down to 60 or 70. At that rate, you’ll be out of the category in 2-3 years. If you don’t believe me, go to the store and try to buy a copy of Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk.”
Owch. And not entirely wrong either. The reason why those games began to devalue is because they became static. They turned into a sort of joke with gamers and apparently with those in the industry as well. At the same time as I want Battlefield 3 to succeed, I want Call of Duty to as well. Competition does drive the industry. But the thing is, The Tony Hawk franchise did not really change when Skate came out. Guitar Hero merely copied Rock Band. I want Call of Duty to improve itself. I will admit, I enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, but the recent gameplay footage of Battlefield 3 has made me consider skipping Modern Warefare 3, or at least postponing the purchase until I can get it for less than $60. I still think Modern Warefare 3 will be a fun game, but Battlefield 3 just looks more fun right now, with 64 player multiplayer and one of the most impressive graphics engines I have ever seen. Here is hoping that Activision gets the message EA is trying to send with their smack talk, which aside from promoting Battlefield 3 also seems to be trying to drive Activision to change and compete, rather than just release the same game with a new title every year. EA knows that innovation and competition make for better games. Hopefully Activision will learn that lesson before people finally catch on, and their biggest franchise that isn’t a Blizzard game will be better for it.