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May 28, 2015

Why I Will Never Own a Call of Duty

I grew tired of war games long before the first Call of Duty came out. I wanted something more futuristic from my first-person shooters, as Medal of Honor had by that time shown me there were only so many ways to shoot a Nazi. Surely there are only so many games that could take place in World War II before you’ve killed the entire population of Germany.

Then the rise of the thirdperson shooters happened, and I kinda lost touch with first-person. There was the odd gem I simply had to grab — Half-Life 2, Oblivion... But I never went back to war. I’d been in WWII far too long already; even ‘Allo ‘Allo was tired of my antics in Nazi-occupied France. Oh, this one sets you against Goebbels himself? That one lets you drive a Sherman through Paris? Meh. Don’t care. However, when Call of Duty left WWII, I decided I still didn’t care. I was in a hipster-type of mood that hated it simply for being mainstream and selling well (yes, I’m aware I bought Half-Life 2…). By the time CoD became something that might interest me, I’d realised it was a mainly-multiplayer game. I pretty much stopped playing multiplayer back when Counter-Strike was still just a mod for Half-Life. Getting my arse handed to me match after match was just a little irritating, and so to avoid that, I just don’t do it. I have trouble enough with medium difficulty, let alone going up against people who spend 10 hours a day practicing. I’m a light jogger, not a marathon runner.

So, if the developers were going to focus on an aspect I wasn’t using, why give them any money? I don’t like sports and so an entire EA subbrand misses out on my cash. However, over the years I’ve learnt to give games that I might not usually play a try . I even turned it into a series of articles with So I Tried... But for the foreseeable future, there will never be an edition based on a Call of Duty.

Activision has never allowed the franchise to drop below £7.49, despite the huge player bases each annual entry receives, and the many weeks spent at the #1 spot in multi-platform charts as well as premium price tag. The first title, which was released in October 2006, has a regular Steam price of £14.99 and is currently the lowest it has ever been, and I’m writing this during “Activision’s Big Deal” or something. Steam and a couple of other sites are having deals on Activision titles, which of course piqued my interest in grabbing a CoD.

Why haven’t I done so? Because that’s £7 for a decade-old game I might not enjoy for half an hour and certainly won’t play the online features. I recently boughtThe Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind for about £5, and it came out in 2009. I gladly paid it, and had been considering paying £12.99 for it, because I knew I’d get my money’s worth. I already own it on disc, so I literally paid £5 for the convenience of having it on Steam.

I mention that to show — I will purchase a deal, even for games I don’t particularly want, as I know I will be able to write about them. I bought the full Humble Origin 2 Bundle, and am installing Medal of Honour: Frontline as I type. I wanted nothing to do with war games, but I’ll give it a whirl if only to write about the experience.

Recently, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare came out. Future combat with a compelling story (when shown in trailer form). I wanted it. I still want it, even though the next entry has been announced. But I’ll probably never get it. It’s mainly multiplayer, and I refuse to pay full price when I won’t get full enjoyment out of it.

However, if it was currently at £7.49, I would snatch it up. If there was a Humble Bundle with any CoD in, I would pay top tier for it, as I’d be getting multiple games for ~£12.

But over £5 is too much, given that the entire franchise is on sale. People still buy it at £15 — I’m just not going to be one of them. And honestly, I care so little about trying the series out, that the first time I even realised I could have pirated them, was whilst I was writing this article. It must be a bad sign for my attention of a game series to care so little that I literally don’t realise I could “try” it for free…

After all, it’s not like piracy is hurting Activision, who as I mentioned last year made one billion dollars for Call of Duty: Ghosts, and worked it out to them making an additional ~£60,000,000 per multiplayer map in the Season Pass alone.

So until they put the price down or stick them in a Humble Bundle, I will never own Call of Duty.

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