Are you Getting What you are Playing for?

Call of Duty is one of the top leading video game brands of all time.  Video gamers line up for hours on end prior to the release of the newest edition to Call of Duty.  Regardless of how much gamers complain about the issues that are attributed to the newest game, people still buy the game.  Why are gamers throwing so much money at a franchise that does not deliver like it used to?  Activision and Infinity Ward have developed something super successful.  Not the video game itself, but the brand behind the game.

Anymore, the video games that are next in line with the Call of Duty series are sold before they even hit the stores.  Last year alone, with the release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Activision and Infinity Ward recorded a record $1.7 billion in sales before the actual release date.  What makes a brand sell so well before it is actually played?  The hype.  The promise of delivering one of the greatest games ever brought to a video game console.  That’s what sells.  In a world that is completely run by electronics, video games are the king.  Players line up around the corner to await their turn to buy the newest game and get home to play.

Some fads in video games never fade away. For example, classics like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers all have evolved with each new gaming system and never died out.  What makes games like those stick around?  I mean, no one plays duck hunter from the original super Nintendo anymore.  Playing games we played during our childhood take our imagination back to when we were a kid.  Video game developers market specific games to specific generations in order to maintain the life-long bond we share with our favorite characters and bring up conversations like “is it really cheating if you play as Odd Job in 007 Golden Eye and have the golden gun?” or who stole your star in Mario Party.  It’s all about creating a brand identity and associating it with a generation who will have an emotional bond with the game.

Julius Roberts, Leanna Marshall, Leslie Tyler, Bryce Koonts

4 thoughts on “Are you Getting What you are Playing for?

  1. Though I agree that some of the Modern Warfare 3 games were sold due to hype about the product before its release, I also think it has a lot to do with what Call of Duty has brought to the table in the past. It has a reputation of being an extremely absorbing game that allows its players to connect from anywhere in the world, and I feel as if this aspect of being so well known and having such a good reputation plays a larger role in the pre-release sales. For many COD advocates, even if the game is the same as the previous version, there will still be new maps and new challenges therefore it is worth buying. Along with the fact that all their friends will be buying it, so not purchasing it would mean being left out. The brand has done an excellent job of making itself credible and therefore has gained a large, dedicated following.
    As for Super Mario Brothers, and games that have been around since our childhood, in my opinion the brand is focusing more on our culture and less on our generation. I encourage my nine year old brother to play these games because I know how much fun I had playing them as a child and I would love to see them remain prominent until I had children of my own, because for me the games do arise a nostalgia for my past that I want future generations to experience as well. I get more entertainment out of watching my brother try to beat the other players in Mario Kart than being one of those players myself.

    • I agree with you Caroline. However the reason the brand is so credible is because of the their proven track record in consistently delivering a product worthy of the masses attention. The Mario generation has continually stayed faithful because of nostalgia.

  2. As a long-time gamer I have seen games like Halo and Call of Duty start from scratch and become what they are today. I think these games and particular have become much more than a video game; they have become a type of society. They have loyal fans that are willing to buy the next installment no matter what. The game creators have made something so special that it goes beyond entertainment toward an aspect of many people’s lives. Many children get to experience great games that have been remade because of the loyalty people have toward those brands. As far as all the people that complained about recent call of duty games I have this to say – if it isn’t broke and sold millions, why change it too much? The makers obviously were successful with the previous game and knew that on name alone people would buy the next, so why should they have changed it so much?

  3. I think Brandon makes a really good point with the community the games have created. Part of the reason the games sell so well before they are released is because if the community is shifting, gamers don’t want to be left behind. There is something to be said for the branding that video game companies have been able to accomplish. However, I think Mario Cart sells for more than just nostalgia. I baby sit kids who are just as addicted to the game, as I was when I was a child. The creators of these video games do use past generations and previous buyers to their advantage. Though, they are constantly marketing to new groups as well. This is what I believe makes them so successful. They refuse to leave their loyal customers in the past but at the same time try to reach new markets.

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