Can they put out the fires in time?
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that what we’re seeing is full-blown panic.
Activision and Call of Duty are having a bad month and what makes it worse is the approaching deadline.
They have about 4 months to put out all of these fires before Modern Warfare 3 drops.
Is it just me or are these the actions of someone who’s lost control of their brand?
First up, let’s put the naysayers to rest. The Steam numbers are absolutely indicative of the larger player base — at least on PC.
There are no good arguments against this point.
In fact, I switched over to playing Warzone using BattleNet on the advice that you get more frames per second that way — it’s true — and I’ve still stopped playing the game.
With that settled, why the huge drop?
I heard the CoD community was organizing a boycott, but like you, I didn’t expect them to follow through. It looks like everyone grew a pair.
Maybe it has something to do with the surprise attacks Activision lobbed against people who just want to have fun, but they’ve finally broken the CoD community’s back.
You’ve heard by now that Activision issued cease & desists to X Labs and SM2. And what stung the most was the timing.
SM2 was right around the corner and you just know Activision was monitoring their progress.
You really can’t blame them, can you? Modern Warfare 3 is just around the corner and which would you rather play?
We all know the answer.
The most interesting cease & desist lobbed from Activision HQ wasn’t their attack on SM2 or X Labs, though.
This is how you know Activision is losing control of Call of Duty.
Cheat providers, Mobius and GhostAim both received cease & desist letters and announced a halt on their operations.
That’s a good thing for the community, right? Well, that would be a “Yes”, if only for the inconvenient fact that none of this is stopping cheating.
Take a look at what Twitter users are posting as recently as last week.
Activision has put a lot into Ranked playlists for Multiplayer and Battle Royale and it’s obvious that Ricochet isn’t working.
And here’s the dirty little secret: It’s never going to work.
When Ricochet was about to make its debut, Dr. Disrespect made an interesting comment. He jokingly said that Ricochet didn’t really exist — there was no anti-cheat software.
Ricochet was just a great consumer and investor confidence marketing scheme.
Now, I don’t believe in that theory — I believe Ricochet absolutely does exist. It’s just a horrible piece of anti-cheat software.
One thing is for sure though, Activision is screwed. Warzone and Multiplayer are scuffed. And the reason why Activision is lashing out at everything now is because Modern Warfare 3 is just around the corner.
And if you thought a shrinking player base, targeting the mod community, and a failing anti-cheat system going into Modern Warfare 3 were bad, Activision just stepped into the culture war.
Regardless of how you feel about what Nick Mercs said…
… or whether or not you think Activision really cares about rainbows…
… or if you understand what ESG Scoring is,
there are always consequences for actions.
Nick Mercs lost his bundle, sure.
But Activision just lit one of the most destructive fires in all of brand management — strong emotions attached to kids.
If you’ve been keeping track of the cultural battlefield, you’d have noticed that things are kind of hot right now. A large percentage of the spending public has realized they’re true power level and they’ve developed a taste for boycotts.
This isn’t going to end well for Call of Duty or Activision.
And if you don’t believe that, then maybe you missed TimTheTatman’s show of solidarity with his pal Nick Mercs.
Tim had a weak response to the Nick Mercs controversy where he tried to play the politically correct game.
His fans and critics saw right through it and increased the pressure on him to take a side — does he defend his bro or take the CoD money and run?
It’s great to see him backing up Nick Mercs and putting more pressure on the Call of Duty brand.
It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree, what can’t be disputed is that any type of consumer pressure always results in changes to the product and service.
When the smoke has settled, the CoD community is going to end up on top.
The future isn’t looking good for Activision and Call of Duty.
The player base is shrinking because the mechanics are ass.
The community is more upset than ever.
And the Microsoft deal and Modern Warfare 3 are just around the corner.
Resources and patience have to be strained to the max over there.
And it’s all a beautiful thing. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Activision deserves every bit of what’s going on. They’ve disrespected the community that’s built them into the goliath they are too many times.
See you on the battlefield and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.