Turns out my brother just bought Black Ops for himself, when I had gotten it for him for Christmas. I’m already over it, don’t worry, but isn’t it just annoying when people do that? I mean I knew he’d want the game, but… oh well. Still, it’s also kind of annoying because I’d always said to myself I’d never pay for Black Ops, and yet I did to go buy him the game I knew he’d want. On the plus side, it means I can now go get that money back, on the downside, I felt bad for doing a quick U-turn on my principles and now the whole thing has been rendered pointless.
Ah yes, something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while. It’s made even more apt by Activision having recently added EA to the list of people they’re trying to sue, to the tune of $400 million no less. I tell people of my decision not to pay for Activision products (Well, even I’m not 100% sure on that score yet… it’s either going to be limited to just the COD franchise, or Activision products in general. To be honest, they don’t really have many franchises I care that much about. I’m a Battlefield Boy), and they’re either somewhat supportive or they just chuckle and shake their head. My friend last night told me it was pointless and that I was an idiot, because every games company treats their customers like crap.
I suppose he’s right to a point – there is nothing you can do about the general contempt corporate entities treat their consumers, but the only reason I’m taking a stand here is because there’s some specific events I can object too. Now, clearly today’s news has just reinforced my belief that obviously we didn’t know the whole story, but the stuff we did know was still pretty bad on its own. Storming the Infinity Ward offices like it was Normandy, the alleged withholding of bonuses and pay in order to force people to stay… that, and the fact that they charged £10 just for maps. Zampella and West… well, it seems more and more that they brought this down on themselves, but Activision’s heavy handed approach in dealing with the situation, and their general attitude of pumping games out like clockwork and charging people through the nose, is what has put me off.
But I’ll tell you what the final straw was. See, I ‘d already bought Modern Warfare 2 by the time this all kicked off, so I already owned it, and was playing it… and then this feud started and there was a lot of outrage. I remember this on spokesperson – Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling, who was appointed as the go-to person for all interviews in the fallout of this ‘crisis’. I remember it was him because I ended up getting sick and tired of all the news posts that were being generated with all his comments. But you know, damage control and all that, I largely ignored him after a while as he’d stopped becoming news. Then he said this in particular:
“I think when any property is number one at anything [it will face backlash]. Whether it’s the number one move at the Box Office or the number one most played game online, like Modern Warfare 2, you’re going to be up against that instinct. You know once it hits a certain level of popularity in the mainstream that’s when people start to stand back. But that doesn’t mean they stop playing. I mean the numbers show that these guys are still logging on every night.”
Reading it back, the quote is slightly different to how I remember it, but the headline summed up what I took from it – Haters may be hating, but they’re still playing the game online. It was at that moment, having read this, that I stopped playing MW2, and refused to purchase another COD game.
I’m not kidding myself – my one protest will not change anything. I’m also not an activist: I will not try and force people to my way of thinking. If anyone asks, I will explain, but that’s it – and yet I will do it anyway. I’m glad Treyarch seem to be doing well in Infinity Ward’s wake, I’m glad that they seem to have made a good game. I will play it if I get the chance, but I won’t pay for it. Sorry.
I fear, more and more, that publishers are starting to think they can get away with whatever they want – because the sad reality is that they can. The afore mentioned map pack still sold really well, from what I remember, Black Ops sold really well (to be fair, I hear it’s the best COD of them all, I need to find out for myself), but moving away from Activision, there is a general trend now that gamers/consumers will still spend the money, even if they’re being kind of shafted at the same time.
Until next time.
Disclaimer: These are my own personal views on Activision. They do not represent the views of anyone else, including Strategy Informer. I take my job seriously, and know how to leave my personal shit at home… even though I work from home… hmm.