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 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.