All Aboard the Hype Train! Next Stop... The Same Place as Last Year!

As I was scrolling around my Facebook news feed today, I noticed a strange little post by made via the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 page. It featured a picture, with all of the CoD games going straight back to the second version. It also included the Ghosts logo. It then prompted it's fans to tell them what their favorite game of the series was. Like you would expect, being the people they are, the CoD fans swarmed in with thousands of little answers. Oddly enough, a fair amount of them listed the unreleased Ghosts as one of their favorite... What the flying fuck?

This is where I get a little bit baffled. This game has been officially announced for less than a month. So far we have zero information on the product aside from the fact that it will be a new story arc. We have no footage, no teases or anything to tell us what sort of game Activision is bringing to replace Modern Warfare 3. All we know is that is will be a Call of Duty game. Apparently that is all people need.

This of course is not the first time I've been exposed to such a phenomena. The concept of pre-ordering these days is really the biggest example you can get. People will bet their sixty dollars right off of the get go that this game will be good. They do it in situations similar to this one, where we are all walking blind yet still being asked to purchase the game. Usually, this is done just by flashing a name. Once that happens it essentially sells itself. This of course is a problem.

Games like Call of Duty are essentially all hype these days. I'll be the first to admit that I enjoy the gameplay to a degree. I've purchased my fair share of them as well. What I will not do is blindly believe that I am getting a new game every time. Yes, they storylines are different (which isn't really a big deal, they only clock in at about five hours per game), and the graphics get a little bit better with each installment. But those really aren't the bread and butter of the series. Everyone knows what really brings people back. It's the multiplayer. And that is where things basically stay the same.

If one is to be realistic, then they would come to the conclusion that in reality, a lot of things added to the CoD online experience could essentially be added in with DLC content. New guns, maps and occasionally a new mode are essentially all you see when you jump on to the online for the first time. Yet even with this glaring and obvious point, the fans of the series still stand in line on release day, and run home to crank the sales numbers up for Activision again and again.

Then, you get people who go online and rage that the game was the exact same as the last one. That they didn't change anything, or improve stuff exactly how they had wanted it. The truth of the matter is, the developers and publisher for games that get this sort of treatment don;t have any incentive to change things in any drastic fashion. Their sales data is all they need to see. And what does 6.5 million copies in just 24 hours tell them? That people are perfectly fine with the game the way it is.

And even more confusing about the matter, after about another year, the exact same process occurs. The same people line up, buy the game and then complain about it as much as they can. What did they expect? The game is released on a yearly cycle and people drop money in to it like it is a bank. If they have so many issues with it, and want to see some significant change in the series, then why are they giving their money to the product every single year. Why are they ignoring the biggest weapon that they, as a consumer have?

It comes down to the simple fact that they won't. In a way, the people that give in to this sort of hype can't. Maybe it is just down to the fact that Call of Duty has been one of, if not the biggest releases on the calendar for the past eight years. Maybe they want to feel like they are part of the next big thing and just can't help themselves. Maybe they actually like the game just the way it is, and they only complain about it because that is the in thing to do. Or maybe they are just vulnerable to the very core of the matter, they hype.

It's a shame that the gaming community has this sort of problem present. We see the sort of innovation possible in the hobby. We know the sort of quality that can be given to us if the publisher cares enough to give it. Yet as long as people keep dumping their money on a yearly title, that sort of change will be stagnated. We will make no progress and year in, and year out we will be doused in more Hollywood action shooters than we actually want.

Hopefully one of these days the hype train will come to a stop, and people will get smart enough to speak with their money. If you don;t want something, don;t buy it. Eventually, the people in charge won't be able to hear the sound of money puring out of their asses. They will be forced to adapt and change their product. They will give the consumer what they want, because they will have to as a business. It's really not that complicated, simply buy smart. And don't proclaim that a game you know nothing about is your favorite from a series. That's just flat moronic.

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