Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Video Game Companies Should Make Money: Why Modern Warfare 3 was a Bad Idea

With many major reviewers, the release of Modern Warfare 3 has earned a 'perfect' score. That's 100/100. However Metacritic finds users rating the game between 15 and 30%.
Much like the release of Dragon Age 2, many user reviews contain accusations of either trolling or fanboyism in other reviewers.

So why did Activision release a multiplayer game with the same features as its predecessor, built on the same engine?

This will sound stupid coming from me, but the problem is that Activision doesn't know how to make money. Let me clarify: their method of making money will result in the degradation of their brand. Clearly they can make money. But will they keep making money?
Activision has chosen to make money by releasing a "new" product, which is in almost no way new. The jokes about re-used models, sounds, and even error messages are easy to make . . . but they aren't just jokes. MW 3, by most reports, is not a new game. It may be a fun game, and certainly enough people played MW2, and are already playing MW3, to argue that it is.
But players have paid $60 for something many see as worthless. Why should they do that? Why shouldn't that make them mistrust Activision?

If Activision wants to make money on a sequel, let them actually make a sequel. If Activision wants to make money on soda pop ad campaigns, let them do that. If they want to charge a monthly fee for access to high-quality low-lag dedicated server hosting, then great. Perhaps they'd like to charge for multiplayer access and keep the players excited with community events, themed game settings, and periodic releases of content like new maps. Maybe they want to sell decals, tattoos, special weapon skins, or even fancy . . . helmets . . . in a cash shop.

But charging your player base for a triple-A title and failing to deliver is not a good strategy. Maybe it's a good strategy for this fiscal quarter, but this time next year, Activision will hopefully know enough to regret it.

1 comment:

  1. Activision has a history of running a series into the ground once it loses its power to make significant money. Guitar Hero, for example.