Call of Duty: Ghosts‘ existence was leaked a few weeks ago from Target ads and a promotional poster, but Activision finally revealed it with an announcement trailer (read about the announcement here). Well, kind of. The clip gave us little more than some glimpses of warriors from different cultures throughout time followed by an announcement saying that the game would be revealed during Microsoft’s Xbox event later this month. So, an announcement trailer for an announcement trailer. While Microsoft needed something to spice up news feeds about their delayed event, pairing it with the next COD title was hardly a surprise. What proved more interesting was the fact that Call of Duty still pairs itself with Xbox after years of impressive sales on Sony’s console. What keeps Activision so loyal to the green machine?
Whether a reaction to Activision and Microsoft or stealing the marketing strategy outright, PlayStation and EA have a similar symbiotic relationship, but taken one step further. EA has spread the exclusive content to many of its franchises that span multiple genres and audiences. Battlefield 3 DLC had an advanced release on PS3 and multiple games have been “limited editions” on PS3 with extra content from franchises like Need for Speed and Dead Space. It is a smart strategy, considering Battlefield being more niche and EA has to overcome the animosity created by their DRM and a disregard to consumers’ concerns. As EA continues to chase the sales figures of COD while adding in online DRM and online passes, they have angered their fans and evolved franchises into games barely recognizable from their origins. EA is playing a dangerous game and it will be some time before we will see if the ends justified the means.
As we transition into the next generation, the residual console loyalty still lingers. Looking at the hardware alone, Sony’s and Microsoft’s boxes are nearly identical. Visually, games should look the same on both. Developers should be able to program for both with ease, both being based on X86 PC hardware. What will sway the decisions of millions is feature set and ecosystem. For some, it falls on controller feel. Others, where their friends are. And for a few, the dwindling number of single-player console exclusives is enough. Looking at the sales numbers of both the consoles and Call of Duty, the split is near 50/50. By the looks of things, the next generation will not offer either console a year lead time ahead of their competition. With both boxes coming out this holiday, why would a publisher choose to give special treatment to one over the other?