Why No Love For COD IW?

Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare sold more copies than any other game last year, and yet sales were still on the decline from the year before. How is that possible? Why do so many people now express such disdain for the Call of Duty franchise, and specifically for Infinite Warfare? Why did, or didn’t you buy it? Why didn’t I buy it? Call of Duty has always been well known as a high sales, high user-base, but has it now become synonymous with high rejection?

If we take a look at the COD Infinite Warfare E3 trailer, we’ll see that it has the highest dislike rating of any video on youtube, with 3,456,199 dislikes. Is it because the game is genuinely awful or uninteresting? Have we become (seemingly) over-entitled to complete innovation, rather than steady changes and improvements over previous installments, or is there a real problem at hand? I haven’t played the game, but I can offer my perspective as to where this disdain comes from and if it’s justified. Additionally, these answers are all hypothetical, and aren’t a catch-all definitive statement of causes and solutions, but I do find this predicament interesting and worth investigating.

There’s too much competition

Battlefield 1, Overwatch, Doom, Titanfall 2, The Division, and Destiny (still), have all been competing for our attention, and the truth of the matter is, there has never been a better time to play than now, since we have access to more games than ever. These aforementioned games are just other shooters that are already out, competing for our time and money. To many, COD IW was just another COD game, rather than a brand new, fresh experience. Players have already experienced a similar iteration of Call of Duty, and people likely wanted to play something else. You could make the argument that if Infinite Warfare didn’t have the COD name attached to it people wouldn’t have reacted so negatively to it, which is likely true. But perhaps the other side of that coin is that the gamers who reacted negatively to the reveal trailer knew what they were signing up for before the game even released, and became uninterested as a direct result.

The multiplayer is allegedly lackluster

I won’t lie, I love Call Of Duty games, especially for their online multiplayer. But, for one reason or another, what I was seeing from CODIW multiplayer turned me off. I didn’t like that the game didn’t truly take new dynamics into consideration- Like starting players off on an airbase, and having a dog-fight single elimination, and transitioning through skydiving down to the ground level- giving a competitive edge to the team who blasted their opponents out of the sky first— Huge missed opportunity to implement something like this, even though I associate tight and responsive gun play to COD more so than vehicular combat. They didn’t push the envelope enough in regards to offering new spins on the gameplay.

Additionally, I was seeing more of what I didn’t like about Black Ops 3, which was how cheap it felt. At a certain point in any match in Black Ops 3, players could activate a hero ability which utilized over the top abilities without any real risk/reward. These abilities ranged from powerful “insta-kill” grenade launchers to reversing time and teleporting out of danger, or wielding a flame-thrower on the battlefield. I was hoping to see this dialed back with a more fair, and intimate combat experience with more tactical options and less wall running jet pack action, and what we got instead was more of both.

Tired of the micro-transactions and DLC milking

When all is said and done, I think people got a bit burned by previous COD games that in many ways went out of their way to exploit players. Microtransactions and DLC are the biggest culprits when it comes to milking players, as DLC introduces a system that forces ALL players to continue spending money to play the game. Scenario:

You and your friends want to play IW, but only one of you got the preorder bonus map and new DLC maps. The person who does have the maps can’t play those maps with their current group of friends, and the friends that don’t have the maps can’t even get a preview of them, or an opportunity to coordinate with their friends. With as much money as Activision makes on COD games, you’d think that they would offer these maps at no cost to prevent community fragmentation, something that I’ve mentioned in my past review of CODAW. With games like Titanfall 2, Overwatch, Killzone Shadowfall, Assassins Creed, Team Fortress 2, and countless others,I have to wonder how Activision can justify charging users for RNG based loot boxes cosmetics and maps. Also, can monetized loot-boxes please die already? If we’re going to pay money can we just buy what we want instead of potentially a host of useless stuff we don’t want?

And let’s not forget that buying COD4 Remastered separately was (and still is) impossible without buying CODIW. This angered a lot of people, who really only wanted to experience COD4 Remastered, instead of playing jet pack robot dog simulator. And speaking of…

Over the top, jet pack, robotic exploding transformational gimmicks

Again, one of the biggest reasons I didn’t buy IW was because of the “gimmicky” feel. Want to give people more mobility and control? How about being able to switch to third person? Or keeping the momentum based movement and give a bonus for jumping over obstacles and sliding under things, like an adrenaline boost that increases damage resistance or overall movement speed ever-so-slightly to give mobile players an edge over others who prefer to camp in the corner?

Yearly release Exhaustion

Releasing a new Call of Duty game every year leaves little time to digest the past experience, and for those playing to fully enjoy the maps they just spent $15 on. It feels like players are trying to play catch up to a series that is just moving too fast, and there are other games that many of us like to invest our time into. If the user base of people we would typically play with have now moved on to the next game, but many are still enjoying their time with the previous installment, why should we rush to get the next? It may be time to adopt a more “season one, season two” approach to COD games, and implement low cost expansions. You can keep your micro-transactions if you take on this approach.

When it comes down to it, I personally didn’t buy COD Infinite Warfare for a number of these reasons, but ultimately, I had other games on my plate that I wanted to play. By the time I’m actually ready to play IW, the community will have already moved on to the next COD game, and the already-dwindling community will be far less vibrant. Though, it sounds like there are still plenty of people playing Black Ops 3, I think I just needed a break. Unfortunately, it came at a time when the series dared to do something really different regarding it’s single player campaign which I hear from even the skeptics, is great.

So what do you think? Why did COD Infinite Warfare sales stagger? Why did, or did you not buy it? Are we being too critical of the series, and should we be more open to giving the game a fair chance? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

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Edited by Kevin Kennedy