If you've been involved in any of our own discussions regarding the used game debacle the gaming industry is in, then you've heard this argument before: "if developers made better games, people wouldn't want to trade them in."
That point of view might be seen as a little narrow - but you can't argue with the logic.
Now Mark Lamia, the studio head at Treyarch, developers of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops is throwing his own weight behind the sentiment. When Lamia spoke with MCV at Activision's Call of Duty event in LA last week, he didn't call out any particular game studios, but simply stated that their team recognizes how important it is to keep people interested in their property after launch - since trading the game in is a real option for the unsatisfied.
For anyone who's been living in a cave for the last 10 years, the biggest force behind the Call of Duty franchise has been its multiplayer component, allowing gamers from across the world to meet in one place, and kill eachother. But even this hasn't been enough to keep every gamer hooked, a fact that can be witnessed by anyone who sets foot into their nearest used games store.
But for the upcoming release of Black Ops, Treyarch is prepared to take gaming to another level:
"Multiplayer is critical to the success of this series. It has such tremendous staying power — there are millions of people playing Call of Duty every day. It’s entertaining people on a magnitude that’s mind-blowing and we work really hard to make sure it’s supported for a long time.
“The effort that goes into the multiplayer is a living thing — we have a team that continues to work on it for World At War. We’ve done that for a long time and expect to do so for this game.
“We’re going to support the hell out of Black Ops. That will be our focus post-release: making sure we keep our fans engaged, and hopefully as a result, they’ll want to keep playing our game and won’t want to trade it in.”
While Treyarch seems committed to improving the game experience to keep their titles in gamers' consoles, other publishers have instituted a pay policy for online play. EA has already introduced its online pass, which many people will get to see first hand in the recently released NHL 11. When asked if Treyarch would be adopting a similar scheme, he stood firm:
“You won’t see that for Black Ops...The multiplayer comes with the game you buy — you don’t have to do anything else for that.”
That definitely comes as a relief to CoD fans everywhere, including myself. Although a part of me wonders how long this sentiment will last, since it's clear that Activision and Treyarch are not eager to upset their fanbase after Infinity Ward's unceremonious separation. They've already appeased the masses with new game modes, top-notch voice talent, and special edition goodies. Hopefully more developers start to see the wisdom in Lamia's words, since an increased commitment to fans is never a bad thing.
How do you feel Ranters? Do you think we have a real crusader in Lamia, or is this just a plan to keep us from rising up when Activision CEO Bobby Kotick gets his wish and the game goes to a subscription service?