Within the past week or two, both Activision and Electronic Arts released trailers for their new video games: “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” and “Battlefield 1,” respectively.
These are two vastly different game styles, if their trailers are any indication. And this new dichotomy could spell doom for one of these franchises.
A brief history lesson: In 2002, “Battlefield 1942” transported players into some of the most epic battles of World War II. The following year, “Call of Duty” followed, allowing young players to feel like they, too, were storming the beaches of Normandy. Since then, both franchises have released at least 10 games each, venturing into current and future warfare.
For the past few years, there have been rumblings for change within the first-person shooter gaming community. Gamers have enjoyed this trip into the future, but now they want to go back to the glory days. In response, “Battlefield 1” is set in World War 1. Activision also responded, setting “Call of Duty: Infinite War” in… the more distant future. And that’s a problem, according to gamers.
One Request, Two Responses
For Activision, the past few installments of “Call of Duty” (COD) have been more or less the same. The game is set in the near or distant future, with awesome weapons and other add-ons like jet packs. In the first few iterations of this new generation of gaming, Activision was lauded for its originality and intuitive gameplay. But as more installments in the series were released, gamers began to notice that they all felt the exact same. “Battlefield” games also began suffering from the same problem, if to a lesser degree. For both franchises, it was time to act.
In what seems like an almost unprecedented move, EA listened to their customers and made the game they wanted. As a result, “Battlefield 1” is one of the most anticipated games of the year, and it has the most-liked trailer on YouTube. Activision, on the other hand, created a future warfare game almost reminiscent of the “Halo” series, the exact opposite of what its customers wanted. That trailer is now the most disliked trailer in YouTube history — at the time of writing, it had garnered more than 1.8 million dislikes.
The Social Media Response
As criticisms have rolled in, the COD social media pages have been relatively silent. Rather than responding to negative comments, they have instead consistently pushed new features and information about “Infinite War.” When they have interacted with Twitter followers, the responses have almost seemed canned. While this has satisfied current fans, it has done very little to draw attention to the brand.
Battlefield’s Twitter page, on the other hand, seems to have perfected the art of communicating with their fanbase. Their snarky comments have gathered laughs and applauds from users.
@noneofurbisnis Soon [soon] adverb (-er, -est) 1. before long; in the near future; at an early date:
— Battlefield (@Battlefield) May 11, 2016
While that kind of bluntness doesn’t appeal to everyone, it tends to be perfectly suited for their audience, who have been calloused by years of online gaming interactions. Battlefield knows they will isolate a few outsiders with their responses on social media, but they also know they will cement the love of their millions dedicated fans.
Do You Know Your Customers?
From its social media to its actual gameplay, EA’s “Battlefield 1” is crafted with its customers in mind. Activision, on the other hand, is convinced they can continue down their path of ignoring the gaming community to continue making futuristic warfare games. While fans will continue buying it, Activision is going to have a hard time attracting new players, especially with that genre of war games becoming less popular in the hardcore gaming community.
In the same way EA has adapted to the changing environment and the new desires of their user base, so must your own business. If your customers aren’t attracted to what you have to offer — or how you’re offering it — something has to change. At EverSpark Interactive, we can help you identify your true target market, what’s working and what’s not, and how to effectively reach them. For more information about our services, contact us today.