3Activision Fakes Its Commercials
Before Call of Duty 4 came along, you may remember that the franchise--like approximately 83 percent of all games at the time--was about World War II. Call of Duty 2 in particular was gathering an increased amount of attention, because it would be the first in the series to be featured on Microsoft's (at the time) new Xbox 360.
Activision developed and released several commercials that displayed the new Call of Duty in all its high-resolution glory. And to make it look extra good, they created a pre-rendered sequence that, as it turned out, looked far better than the actual game. They showed this in the ads instead of the real gameplay.So what's the problem?
The visuals were set up specifically so that they appeared to be gameplay (playing out from a first-person perspective, just as the games do). Keep in mind that this was a time when hardly anyone knew what the Xbox 360 was capable of, so they would believe just about anything.
Angry Xbox 360 owners were rather upset to find that the graphics, while better than any previous Call of Duty game, were absolutely terrible in comparison to those shown in the TV commercial:
It's common for publishers to feature cutscenes instead of gameplay in their ads, but Activision admitted that the whole thing had been produced purely for the commercial. This created enough controversy in the UK that the Advertising Standards Authority forced Activision to pull these ads from British television entirely.
And selling you this:
2EA Sports Creates A Mini-Monopoly
Electronic Arts has dominated the video game pro football market since the early '90s. But then, in 2004, rival NFL 2K5 beat Madden 2005 out in nearly every department, including price (you see, sports games are always one year higher than the actual year in which they are released--this tricks customers into believing that they can look into the future!)
EA Sports learned the hard way that, when someone else sells the exact same product as you, except cheaper, and with an air-hockey minigame and cheerleaders with actual boob-bouncing, it's going to cut into your profit a little bit.
So how could EA overcome their competitor? By working extra hard to make sure their game was superior? By cutting the price?
Don't be ridiculous! They just signed a deal with the NFL that would forbid anyone else from making those games. If competitors wanted to make a football game, it would be without any of your favorite pro teams or players.So what's the problem?
It's the same as any monopoly: EA no longer had anyone to compete with and, thus, got lazy. Slowly, the Madden games started adding less and less each year, to the point that features were gutted from the first round of Madden games for the new generation of systems. At times the series appears to be going backward, and we project that by 2011, we'll be playing something that looks like Tecmo Bowl.
If McDonald's got an exclusive patent on the hamburger, and the only way better restaurants could sell them would be if they left off the top bun.