Activision released its latest iteration of Call of Duty Tuesday -- Call of Duty: Ghosts -- a frenzy-inducing event in the gaming world. The title is the franchise's 10th, and the first new one since Black Ops II launched last November and sold 7.5 million copies (to the tune of $500 million) on opening day in the United States alone. It marked the fourth consecutive year a Call of Duty game set a record for entertainment launches.
"The launch of Call of Duty has become a pop-cultural event shared by millions around the globe," said a statement from Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg."We consider this a huge honor and it drives us to exceed our fans’ expectations each and every time."
But this year, word is that Activision isn't expecting the same sales success for the $59.99 software. The timing of the debut is a bit awkward. The title was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (along with Wii U and PC) just days before the next generation of those consoles, PS4 and Xbox One, are to hit stores.
In an effort to blunt the impact of these releases on sales, the gamers who buy the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions and then buy the new consoles will be able to upgrade to the Call of Duty: Ghosts game for next-generation consoles for $9.99. Because of cross-platform feature parity, players' in-game achievements will carry over with that upgrade. (In fact, the parity allows gamers to keep their characters even when heading to a friend's house to play on a different console.)
The video game review site IGN called the game "great" (bestowing upon it an 8.8 rating out of 10), but noted that the odd timing of the release limits the game's potential on the forthcoming video game systems. "The Call of Duty engine fares surprisingly well on next-gen, but even then Ghosts lacks a lot of the added atmospheric effects and visual panache that makes competing games look so realistic."
But considering the generally slow absorption rate for new consoles, and the feverish anticipation gamers have for another Call of Duty title -- no less one that introduces players to the underdog's side in single-player mode, seven new multiplayer modes, better character customization and an all-new Extincton mode that pits them against aliens -- it's probably in Activision's best interest that the game is available for both Microsoft and Sony systems.