Activision released an interesting Call of Duty facts sheet today on the eve of the Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer reveal.
Here are some of the best tidbits. 100 million people have tried Call of Duty which is higher than the population of Germany, France or the United Kingdom. 31 billion care packages have been called in which is enough to build 100 Great Walls of China. 5 billion cars have been destroyed in Call of Duty games which is five times the amount of registered vehicles in the world. To bring it all home, Activision announced that players have spent 25 billion hours playing Call of Duty. That translates into 2.85 million years which is longer than the entirety of human existence. Link to the graphic is here (http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/08/13/new-infographic-shows-incredible-amount-of-time-spent-playing-call-of-duty.aspx?PageIndex=2#comments).
These are interesting numbers. It really puts the popularity of Call of Duty into perspective. If you are one of those people that is hoping Call of Duty is going to crawl under a rock and die out after this holiday season I think you are going to be very disappointed. Call of Duty will be back next year and the year after that and the year after that. The series will remain strong as long as they continue to make games that players enjoy. I think the brand is so strong that even the occasional misfire (looking at you Black Ops 2 and Modern Warfare 2) isn’t really going to really hurt it.
The author of the Game Informer article touches very briefly on a key realization. It’s time to view the business model of Call of Duty in the same way that we view the business model of sports games. If you make a strong product and people enjoy that product you can make that product for as long as you are able to maintain quality. Madden 25 is going to hit shelves by the end of the month. That’s right 25. As in this will be the 25th consecutive year that Madden has shipped. It is a series that has survived several console transitions, gameplay overhauls and presentation makeovers. Some iterations of Madden have been better than others but EA Sports has by and large found a successful formula and iterated on that formula and people have yet to truly tire of it. The reason I point this out is that Madden is a successful yearly franchise and you don’t hear everybody predicting the "downfall" of Madden every time they announce the newest version around the time of the NFL draft. People often lob the same insults at Madden as they do at Call of Duty if you think about it. Message board users often say Madden is nothing but a roster update every year and that the series does nothing to improve the experience. (Which to me is an absolutely ridiculous, uninformed argument. Go play Madden 10 or Madden 11 and then download the Madden 25 demo on the X-Box Live Marketplace and tell me they haven’t improved the experience in nearly every way. Any reasonable person will feel a big difference.) Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Go on any message board and you’ll see at least one person claiming that Call of Duty: Ghosts is nothing more than a map pack with no innovations. Fans of the franchise know that is not true at all and each iteration of Call of Duty has a different feel to it.
The point of all this is whether you like it or not Call of Duty is here to stay. Not just for this year and maybe next. For a long time. You can dislike the numbers all you like and dislike the game all you like but as long as Call of Duty produces a quality experience that people enjoy it will be around. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if one day in the future we were all sitting around waiting for the multiplayer reveal of Call of Duty 25. Some people will cringe at that thought. As a fan of the series it brings a smile to my face. I won’t be talking about Call of Duty 25 tomorrow but I will be talking about the multiplayer reveal of Call of Duty Ghosts. See you then.