It’s already a given, with Modern Warfare 3 already surpassing Black Ops in pre-orders, that the next entry in Activision’s annual FPS franchise will “beat” Battlefield 3, at least as far as sales are concerned.
But, for Electronic Arts, Battlefield’s new run at dominating the FPS genre — it’s conscious effort to go for COD’s crown — this isn’t a blitzkrieg, it’s a war of attrition.According to EA’s European Publishing Senior Vice President Jens Uwe, Electronic Arts’ approach is very similar to what they recently did with FIFA.
After Pro Evolution Soccer (formerly known as Winning Eleven) took the soccer crown from FIFA, it forced EA Sports to reevaluate their franchise, strive to do better, and then slowly whittle away at Pro Evolution’s sales dominance. That’s exactly what they want to do with Call of Duty.
“We will give Activision a hard time in the space. And we have done it when we won back the football category from PES. That’s what we are doing in the shooter space. One of my favorite sayings is ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. We might not do it Day One, but we are going to take a decent amount share from Activision…In broad numbers, Activision has 90 per cent of the shooter market, and we want to see that go down to 70. I would be even happier if they were left with 60 per cent.”
While Uwe’s plan seems all well and good it makes one wonder why Call of Duty couldn’t take on the FIFA role in this scenario. Obviously Battlefield 3 came out of nowhere and has been impressing gamers since that first trailer, but no one knows the game’s appeal better than Activision. What’s to say that, for next year’s iteration, Activision couldn’t completely reinvent their franchise and make a title that is comparable, if not better when matched up against the perceived quality of Battlefield.
Realistically, though, both franchises will force greater evolution in the other and will do nothing but benefit the gamers. One may whittle away at the other, but neither is going to lay down and die, especially in the very lucrative FPS genre.
Do you think that Activision will let Battlefield slowly erode their sales stranglehold, or will Call of Duty eventually go through a big change? Can you see a world where they hold an equal share of the FPS market during the holidays?
Battlefield 3 releases October 25, 2011 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.