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Call of Duty is a failure for not squeezing more money out of its fans

by Bill Hess on December 7, 2012


Activision has said that it will never charge players for Call of Duty multiplayer, but the biggest game in the world has one industry analyst questioning Activision’s tactics. At a recent Game Monetization Summit, notorious analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities gave the opening address. There he slammed the publisher calling the Call of Duty franchise a failure due to Activision’s inability to monetize the massive user base to the full extent.

“Call of Duty, I’m calling it a failure,” said Pachter. “I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective. They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty. I promise you there are plenty of people numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop. That’s just like the people who play World of Warcraft and never stop, yet the World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who’s got the better model? This multiplayer thing being free was a mistake. I don’t think anybody ever envisioned it would be this big. It’s a mistake because it keeps those people from buying and playing other games.”

In 2011, Activision took its first stab at trying to monetize the Call of Duty base with Call of Duty: Elite. For reasons unknown, Activision made it free for all this year, and regressed back towards a Season Pass strategy to disperse their schedule of downloadable content. They’ve said that they have no plans to charge for multiplayer in Call of Duty, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to monetize the game in some other ways in the future.

As for sales of the popular shooter, it’s once again done huge numbers in its opening month. Activision recently announced that Black Ops II has already surpassed $1 Billion in sales, but analysts see a declining trend regardless. Pachter is right though, a ton of people play Call of Duty and Call of Duty only throughout the entire year, only to buy the next version of the game once November rolls around. Those guys do usually pick up DLC as well though, so Activision is essentially selling each person two copies of the game when you add that in. Will shareholders force the industry’s biggest publisher to monetize the game further? That’s yet to be seen, but if profits start dwindling and growth begins to slow, they’ll really have no other choice.

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  • Underworld

    Charge, and I don’t play it anymore! Would not pay to play it.

    • The Future of Sega

      Judging by these posted business-strategic ignorant comments, Activison SHOULD charge players to play COD online… since 99 percent of COD fans only play the multi-player without ever playing the story mode.

      I for one rarely play the multi-player and only enjoy playing the story mode which f*cking sucks if you ask me. Modern Warfare 3 is probably the last COD I will purchase…

      Hopefully when COD is charged online that will FORCE gamers to actually play the story mode… what the game was made FOR!!!! And hopefully that will force COD developers to develope BETTER story modes.

      Screw free COD online and charge them up Activision. Start taxing your gamers so you can help start paying down our nation’s deficit when the Federal Gov. taxes you. :-) It’s a wiiiiiiin win situation boys!!! :-D :-D :-D

      • The Future of Sega

        16 people need to be taxed up. :-D :-P

    • djmagnumb

      Good. Hopefully they’ll charge then and millions of people will follow your suit and stop playing, then RIP CoD. YEAAAA

      • Underworld

        I have played the campain.

        It amazes me that some people can hold so much hate for a GAME. Sad!

        • Underworld

          *Campaign*

  • IHATEHIPSTERS

    shut up patcher god dam it

  • Bruised Negro

    Unless you’re on the streets begging for food, stop complaining about not having enough money.

  • Krispykleen

    If u think we should pay to play, u deserve a nice big slap in the face.

    • The Future of Sega

      And if you think game developers should provide free online gameplay you deserve a kick in the a*s.

  • djmagnumb

    I hope they do start charging so people stop playing and some other franchise can take the crown, I just wouldn’t want other developers to follow their lead. I’m sick of this CoD sh*t.

  • djmagnumb

    Does anyone else think AOTFanboy should print some shirts for us to buy?

  • Allen

    Well a BIG FK YOU too Patcher.

    My little bro pulled me into STO for a while, I made my dad pay the $15/month because it pissed me off so much I wouldn’t have anything to do with it if it were me. Sure they add stuff on there each week (or they were supposed to anyways) but unless it’s the only game you play it’s really not worth it.

    Also since then many MMO’s have gone free to play (which is almost as bad because they almost break the game for you if you don’t pay for the new gagets needed to defeat enemies, or at the very least you are at a big disadvantage in PVP to those that do buy all the gadgets).

    Pay to play is NEVER the answer and any ass hole that says other wise should be publicly humiliated.

  • That one guy

    Planetside is free to play and that worked out pretty well imo, but you do pay for cosmetics and instead of unlocking guns you can buy them but unlocks aren’t a hassle.

    And like i’ve said before Patchter does not know what the hell he’s talking about most of the time.

  • GTAV fan

    Hope GTA V outsells COD next year as the series deserves better then COD!!

  • djmagnumb

    Couldn’t agree more my friend.

  • mrhertz

    guys, you gotta understand one thing. these people like Pachter only see numbers.

    all day long they only see numbers and charts. if a project makes 100 million, and another made 99,9 million, then they will say its a failure.

    im sure pachter has a very nice house, an adamantium health care plan, and he doesnt drive a lamborghini just because he doesnt want to.

    i mean, we are players. he´s the money guys, watching just money things. gaming industry for him is just a “happening” in his life.

    if wasnt this, he could be speculating about rice, wood, oil.

    that said:

    1 – He´s not a player
    2 – He´s not affected by promos and bonus cards that we look for all the time.
    3 – He doesnt care about gaming industry, his only concern is on making more money, no matter what, or any circumstances.

    I agree everything has a price, but damn, these people made more than a billion in a month. is that a good thing, or its a failure because they should make 1 billion and 100 thousand ?

  • Pulzy 1

    LOL. DO THESE GUYS EVEN ANALYSE?!
    COD has been breaking sales records since at least 5 years in a row now. Sales drop for 1 year and it is termed a ‘declining trend.’ No, just no. 1 yearly drop in sales is NOT A TREND LOL.

    PLEASE GIVE ME PACHTERS JOB.

  • AIRFREAK

    Pachter is never ever wrong.

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