Since Modern Warfare’s release back in 2007, the Call of Duty franchise has been dominating the FPS market and destroying previous sale record with each new release. Currently, Black Ops is dominating the online-shooter experience; everyone is playing it, including me. I am honestly getting tired of it though.
When Modern Warfare 2 dropped in 2009, the online multiplayer was a mess. Lag issues were abundant, glitch exploitation and cheating happened in nearly every match, and problems with the party system made it impossible to play with friends. It felt like Infantry Ward released a beta and charged full price, but I was okay with it because patches were in the works that would fix everything, or so we all thought. The updates were delayed…a few times, and when they did finally come out a number of issues remained. Black Ops isn’t much different, and though Treyarch has been doing a better job with fixing issues as they come along, cheating and lag switching is still a major issue. I still play though, despite all the issues, because I like getting killstreaks (like dogs and chopper gunner), I like killing that one annoying camper, and I like getting that crazy k/d from time to time. The game is genuinely fun to play, I won’t lie about that, but I’m ready for something better to come along.
This is where EA Games comes in. In late 2009 the EA’s CEO said in an interview that the publisher had plans to take the lead over Activision’s powerhouse series; it was a simple plan: make a better game and eventually gamers will cross the fence. It’s been more than a year since then and EA has put out several titles to contend with Call of Duty including, Medal of Honor, Battlefield: BC2 (among other BF titles), and most recently Crysis 2. It has been an uphill battle though, and despite strong sales (especially with the Battlefield series), they are nowhere near record-breaking figures.
What I hope to see in the near future is EA realizing that their plan is flawed. To dethrone Call of Duty, EA won’t have to make a better game, they’ll have to make a groundbreaking game AND market the hell out of it, and even then it’s a long shot. The problem is brand loyalty. In 2006, I and pretty much every other console gamer was playing Halo because that was the “standard” shooter at the time and that’s what everyone was playing, and then COD 4 came out. It introduced killstreaks, custom loadouts, and a leveling system; it was groundbreaking, and more important it was fun. Over time, Call of Duty brought down Halo, and EA will have to bring even more to table if they want on top.
Personally, I’m still looking for something better, and with the release of Battlefield 3 this fall, maybe I’ll find it. It will need to do and be everything described above in order to contend with Modern Warfare 3 though, which is also slated for release this fall.