With the battle of the year heating up between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 the battle has turned from the quality of the actual game to a console vs. PC battle. Bobby Kotick knew this and threw a very public punch towards the debate claiming Battlefield was a PC marketed game.
We so far I have only seen Battlefield 3 shown on a PC, so I haven’t seen it on a console which was the bulk of our business is. If it is just a PC title as it looks today, that’s a very small audience to participate.
Kotick knows that his Modern Warfare series has been beaten to death. Instead of reinvention Activision has thrown most of its eggs into two baskets, both the aging World of Warcraft and Call of Duty series. Kotick has seemed to have forgotten that Blizzard’s 11 million PC WOW players bring in a revenue of $2 billion per annum, around a third of the annual revenue for Activision.
That will soon change with the announcement of the Call of Duty Elite subscription that was lapped up by the Call of Duty faithful. I’m sure if these people know it or not but these features are what most PC players use as a norm, not an extra service that needs a subscription. This guarantees another ten console Call of Duty titles, flogging an immortal dead horse. Call of Duty isn’t winning the quality war against Battlefield 3 but will win the PC vs. console argument. Not an argument as such, more of a schoolyard bully approach to safety in numbers.
EA/DICE have taken a big risk with Battlefield 3 being released at this point. The PS3 and XBOX360 are only just surpassing their half expected shelf life and a new game engine topped with a more powerful console would have been ideal for DICE. They have taken a risk, though this seems more calculated for sustainable growth. EA and its developers have a large range of titles. If two titles were hit by a better competitor and ceased to exist, EA would keep moving forward. What would happen to Activision if a new or direct competitor came and knocked Call of Duty or WOW off its title?
Could Starcraft 3 be the winner?
Activision has cast the Battlefield 3 to the older PC gamer genre. Catering for the adult online content with PC WOW/Starcraft market and the “children’s” content of Call Of Duty, it is made clear that the focus is on the majority money market. Kotick stated the PC FPS community is a small audience to cater for, an older audience. Call of Duty has been dubbed down for the kiddies with built in aimbot and easy kills. Camping and kill streak rewards usually don’t appeal to a seasoned player looking for quick killstreaks without effort.
So Activision has the start of a big fight on their hands. By using the PC vs. Console argument they have just washed their hands off on you.