Activision is OK I guess. We enjoy to vilify the eponymous faceless corporation (and its jackass at large Bobby Kotick) here at Lusipurr.com, but really they are guilty of nothing more than giving consumers what they want for a price that they are obviously willing to pay.
The market exhibited a voracious appetite for all things Call of Duty, and rather than let things slide Activision quickly mobilised to restructure their operations in such a way as to accommodate annual instalments of their flagship franchise. Activision were similarly quick to attend to the market’s infatuation with music games, and just as quick to drop the genre when the market’s interest began to wane.
Game publishing is a business, not a charity nor public service, and Activision are in the business of producing broad appeal products for an uncritical mass market. They are not in the business of crafting titles which aspire to some manner of high minded artistic accomplishment, nor are they inclined to target their products to a weaboo niche demographic. Activision is simply a business that knows its business well, and in so doing have managed to consistently sell more games than any of their competitors in recent years.
Any business is entitled to charge for their products the price that they feel they are worth, and then the market will decide whether or not the product is being sold at the correct price point. Similarly it is for the business to decide upon how much proportional effort will be put into the development of their products, while consumers will exercise their right to vote with their wallets should the product be found to lack in quality or content. It must be said that Activision is way ahead of the pack on both counts.
As an individual possessed of a modicum of taste it is all but impossible to fathom what ephemeral quality Call of Duty’s legion of knuckle dragging fanboys are able to eke from their favourite franchise, but I have to imagine that this quality has been held consistent because the franchise continues to grow. It might comfort us to make jibes about $15 dollar map packs, but the audience certainly seems to consider them worth the asking price, and besides, what are we to compare them to? Online pass? A feature designed to destroy the resale value of your games? Perhaps we should compare them to Sony’s own variation of the online pass utilized in the newest iteration of Socom, charging $15 in order to receive the future updates necessary to remain online? Suddenly $15 map packs don’t sound quite so bad to me.
At any rate, Activision are hardly a laudable publisher, they unerringly prioritise the business of game development over the artistry of game development, and have burned many bridges in doing so. Yet if we are able to accept the premise that even the cognizantly feeble are entitled to the simple pleasures of video gaming, then it follows that Activision is alright.