Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Modern Warfare is Hell or: Why the MW3 Blackout Likely Won't do any Good

Even if the concerns are legitimate, can a one day blackout really change anything?

When gamers are unhappy about the state of their favourite titles there isn't generally much they can do. Certainly they can return the game if they find out that they don't like it, but that's often a hassle and doesn't really serve a point beyond maybe getting some store credit. When a game has a huge online community that feels ignored though, then sometimes a good ol' fashioned blackout seems like a good idea.

It certainly is catching on for a group of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 players who feel that the patches and updates to online play that were seemingly promised to them have been scarce if not completely non-existent in terms of coming to fruition:

Ignoring the obvious joke behind the date chosen -- surely a great way to lend credibility to you cause, eh gentlemen? -- I can't help but feel that this purposed blackout, whether for overall good intent or ill, is simply not going to work.

Perhaps the most glaringly obvious reason why the blackout is probably doomed to fail is that since Activision already has what they wanted from the public: their sweet sweet cashdollars. The launch of Modern Warfare 3 was one of the more hyped and arguably successful ones of recent memory, with over $775 million dollars worth of units sold in the first week alone. Having made their money I have very little doubt that Activision is probably making a new Call of Duty game for release either late this year or perhaps early the next. With people always moving on to the next big thing those that want improvements and fixes to the current game are likely to be left in the dust.

Even disregarding that, I find the idea that not playing a game for one day probably isn't going to send that much of a message through. Certainly the efforts of sites like reddit and Wikipedia helped raise awareness about SOPA, which is the closest thing I can think of in this case, but they were only part of a rather large campaign against something with much higher stakes. Blacking out for one day on a video game you've already purchased is a good way to show solidarity I'll admit, but if there's to be any impact at all I think that the community would have to make an effort to get off of Modern Warfare and stay off while still demonstrating that they'd come back if the patches and changes they want are introduced.

It just seems like a real uphill battle for these players. While I can respect what they're setting out to do, in this situation it really does look like Activision has all of the chips. Certainly the media coverage of the blackout is helping, but I think that it can only go so far. Still, I wish them the best of luck.

1 comment:

  1. Even if there WASN'T going to be a blackout, would that really change anything? Do they think that the developers aren't aware of the problems and player complaints?

    I guess there's nothing wrong with raising your voice, but from where I'm sitting it sounds like the protesters are saying "FIX IT FASTER!" instead of just "FIX IT!"


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