Ever since the first Call of Duty hit the market back in 2003, the franchise has established itself as arguably the go-to first-person shooter. Despite competition from Medal of Honor throughout the 2000s, the Activision creation has stood the test of time. However, although Call of Duty titles come out frequently, some believe that the franchise is enduring a dip in popularity.
It’s not unfair to say that Call of Duty now exists in a more competitive gaming industry, with titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds proving to be hits among the community. But is it inaccurate to say that the much-loved series isn’t what it used to be? Well, let’s analyse whether or not that’s the case.
Using Bonuses and DLC to Retain Gamer Interest
Throughout the 21st century, Call of Duty has been at the heart of exploring new methods to captivate gamers. Under Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch, the Activision publication has sought to combat heightened competition by incentivising gameplay and bringing out new downloadable content for many of their titles. In fact, it’s a testament to the brand’s forward-thinking nature that Call of Duty played a pivotal role in bringing DLCs to the fore in mainstream gaming.
According to Make Use Of, expansion packs first rose to prominence during the late 1990s, with Total Annihilation spearheading the DLC revolution. The Activision creation would later follow that trend and bring out downloadable content for Call of Duty 2 in 2005. Since then, additional packs have been available across 13 of the franchise’s more recent developments. These add-ons typically include new maps ranging across the multiplayer and zombies mode. Furthermore, Activision have also used bonus content as a means of retaining their audience base. As per the publisher’s official website, Black Ops Cold War features several promotional items, including the Confrontation Weapons Pack.
Not only that, but the franchise has long utilised bonus XP weekends to elevate engagement figures. Over the years, such promotional strategies have been successfully tried and tested. Outside of mainstream gaming, an incentive-orientated approach to participation exists in numerous entertainment streams. The concept first rose to prominence in the online casino sector, and review platforms like Arabian Betting continue to showcase the best web-based casino bonuses for players. Nowadays, modern-day bettors can explore a wide range of promotions, including deposit and no deposit bonuses, free spins, high roller, and sports betting offers at top-rated operators. Much like Call of Duty’s bonus XP periods, these concepts are central to ensuring repeat participation.
What Do the Numbers Say?
At the time, Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard is scheduled for release in 2021, making it the latest game in the franchise since Black Ops Cold War. If the most recent development in the series indicates what’s to come, WWII Vanguard could be a massive success. According to GamesRadar, Black Ops Cold War broke into the top 20 list of the best-selling games in United States history. It’s a testament to the title’s appeal that it amassed 5.7 million sales within a month of its full release, as per Screen Rant.
Despite that, the numbers suggest that the franchise is struggling to match its popularity from the early-2010s. At the turn of the previous decade, the first-person shooter had very much peaked. Game Rant states that Blacks Ops is the best-selling Call of Duty game of all time with 30.99 million sales, followed by Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops II. These titles hit the market in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively.
Statistically, the series’ newer releases have failed to replicate their predecessors’ success. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Activision are now producing worse games. Black Ops 4, for example, is a package that catered to gamer demands, but it currently only ranks 15th in the best-selling Call of Duty games of all time.
Something’s Changed for Call of Duty
There can be no doubts that, despite Activision’s best efforts, modern Call of Duty titles are falling short of reclaiming the franchise’s past appeal. The series has become something of a victim of its own success and the ever-changing nature of the gaming industry. Although Call of Duty has overcome rival brands before, competitor developments are evidently impacting the franchises’ modern-day popularity.