Michael Pachter Says Call of Duty is a Failure

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Michael Pachter Says Call of Duty is a Failure


Industry analyst Michael Pachter makes a pretty convincing argument that the Call of Duty franchise isn't as solid as it appears.

Michael Pachter says a lot of things, and he sometimes takes a lot of heat for it. He'll probably take more in the wake of his opening address at the Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco where, as is his wont, he made some bold statements about the "failure" of Activision's behemoth Call of Duty franchise.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 just rang up $1 billion in sales [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120936-Black-Ops-II-Reaches-1-Billion-Milestone-Faster-Than-MW3] in 15 days, you might be thinking, so... a failure? "Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective. They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty," Pachter told the audience.

"I promise you there are plenty of people, numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop. That's just like the people who play World of Warcraft and never stop, yet the World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who's got a better model?" he continued. "This multiplayer thing being free was a mistake. I don't think anybody ever envisioned it would be this big. It's a mistake because it keeps those people from buying and playing other games."

You didn't think of it that way, did you? Bear in mind that while this may not sound like the most audience-friendly approach, Pachter isn't speaking to you but to people whose business is to figure out how to make money from games. And he has some interesting thoughts about that too.

"Prediction: The next Bungie game will be single-player only; the multiplayer aspect of that game will be subscription only," he said. "Activision's going to try it, because they're greedy pigs, and they're bold."

Pachter also predicted that Nintendo will become "completely irrelevant" with the Wii U, that Activision will buy Take-Two and that THQ is pretty much screwed.

Source: GamesIndustry [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-12-06-pachters-predictions-wii-us-problem-is-nobodys-going-to-support-it]


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Evil Smurf

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Nov 11, 2011
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This guys knows how to rip people off handle money. We need more greedy bastards in the world clearly.
 

TheRightToArmBears

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Wrong (methinks). I don't know if you've played any of the older Call of Duty games online, but they're mostly either fairly barren or full of hackers. Most Call of Duty players get the latest version with in a few months of it coming out (and most of the rest get it when they can find it somewhere for non-stupid money).
 

DugMachine

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Apr 5, 2010
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I find it hilarious how 1 billion dollars just doesn't seem like enough anymore. I mean sure you could make COD a subscription based game and tons would pay the price but damn who needs more than a billion dollars anyways? Who needs a million for that matter (well I do cause I want a jetski and a yacht but that's besides the point.)
 

Redhawkmillenium

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May 5, 2011
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Um...he didn't say it was the CoD series was a failure. He said they made a mistake in one regard. Why the misleading, sensationalist headline?
 

dragongit

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Feb 22, 2011
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What a world we would live in, when making a billion dollars is concidered a failure. I don't care about CoD or Black Ops as much as the next sane person, but one cannot help and look at this and say " Damn, they made a lot of money from this game, they must be doing something right". And the whole making a FPS multiplayr an extra payment, thats just stupid. The single player campgan in most of these games are laughable at best, and the majority of people probably never play it, or play it once and forget the plot completely later on.

BTW, guy is a dipshit even on that matter. Did he ever hear of multiplayer map packs? They are currently going for 50 bucks for a season pass, so thats roughly $110 dollars a year per person if they choose to buy them. How come I can't have this guys job, I'd love to bull shit all day and make money for it.
 

Ryan Hughes

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Jul 10, 2012
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Call of Duty remains strong in local multiplayer, as well, being the college-dorm favorite that it is. I am not really saying that as an insult, just a counter-point to what Mr. Patcher said. I think that it would be silly to expect the same sales on the next CoD game, but that will be due to a combination of free-online multiplayer and market saturation with FPS games.

Anyway, as much as I do not like CoD games, I cannot really agree with Mr. Patcher on this, most of what he said was either baseless or under-informed.
 

deathzero021

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Feb 3, 2012
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Redhawkmillenium said:
Um...he didn't say it was the CoD series was a failure. He said they made a mistake in one regard. Why the misleading, sensationalist headline?
because that's what journalism does.

i defiantly see this guy's point of view. CoD probably could make more money, but do they need too? Large companies love tradition, i don't think they're going to change their model now, especially since it's making them super filthy rich.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Triforceformer said:
They still made a billion dollars.

The fiends!

I'm still not inclined to believe anything this man says, regardless of whether or not he's going after a game I dislike.
 

anthony87

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I wish I could have a job that consisted of nothing but speculating on what might happen....
 

fix-the-spade

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Feb 25, 2008
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Triforceformer said:
They still made a billion dollars.
Nope, they cooked up a billion in sales.

As much as they are talking up Call Of Duty's sales, Activision-Blizzard made $185million profit last year.

Pretty nice you might think, but the fall out from their little Infinity Ward fiasco may be costing them as much as $1billion in legal fees and payouts to EA, West, Zampella and many, many other former Infinity Ward employees.

Of course how they hide that in their end of year statement should be entertaining. $100 million in outside investments to public relations, $200 million in coffee?
 

Ruairi iliffe

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Sep 13, 2010
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Slycne said:
deathzero021 said:
because that's what journalism does.
Look at the source, he flat out says -

"Call of Duty, I'm calling it a failure."
Damn Journalists, with your facts and sources, All lies I tell you!

OT: I get what Pachter is getting at, but trends like WoW are dieing off and the only FPS where someone charged for Multilayer was Planetside, and even they said screw that and made number 2 an F2P. I see the point, but not the real facts hes pulling this from.
 

Carrots_macduff

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Jul 13, 2011
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doesn't call of duty already have that elite bs subscription service? and hasn't pachter ever heard of dlc? and doesn't he realize the multiplayer isn't free because you have to buy the $60 game to play it? holy arrogance batman
 

Best of the 3

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Oct 9, 2010
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To be fair, that sounds a lot like what Kotick wanted when he was head (is he still head or did he step down? I can't remember, I can't feel the flames of hate towards him anymore though). Both are just shrewd businessmen. What he says sounds horrible to me but what he says is probably one of the best ways to make money.