Have you ever looked at a company and noticed such an arrogance that it creates the sense of feeling that they believe you need them more than they need you? As though your daily operations or experiences can’t be completed without further forking over your hard earned money to them in order to complete your day. I’m sure many PC users that refuse to purchase a Mac have that same type of feeling every time they purchase a PC and are forced to utilize the Windows operating system because Linux is a little too much for them. The problem is — this is never true. There is always an alternative to a product and though it may not always be as good or as simple as just giving one company your money, that opportunity of choice still exists.
Like Microsoft through the 90s in regards to their operating systems, it’s starting to feel like Activision and its subsidiaries truly get the impression that they can say or do whatever they’d like without any repercussion from their targeted consumer — the gamer. Whether it involves one of Kotick’s genius ideas of raising the price of a basic title or the belief that dedicated servers aren’t something that makes the difference to a PC gamer or not is just another example of a company displaying that type of arrogance because they KNOW and EXPECT you to still go out and purchase that product. To be honest, I thought that Kotick was alone in this insane plan from Activision to completely dupe the consumers who support its products, but with the recent comments from Robert Bowling, community manager at Infinity Ward, it’s almost as though he has an evil apprentice in training.
In a recent interview with MCVUK, Robert Bowling displayed exactly what type of figurehead he is in this industry and that is one of delusion, hypocrisy and grandeur that is beyond anything I’ve seen prior to this time. Bowling made comments in regard sto “knowing gamers” and that marketing and public relations should go through the developer not the “middleman.” I’ve included his statements below and I’ll jump into my take on them afterwards.
“We know everything there is to know about Modern Warfare 2,” Infinity Ward’s community manager Robert Bowling told MCV.
“Not only do we know the game but we know the gamer. We know what to expect from them and what they expect from us. So it helps us guide design decisions and decisions overall, including with PR.”
“There are certain things that are good for a press release and there are some things that are good if we presented them in a casual way – such as through Twitter.”
“I think it is essential for developers to have that power,” he added.
“I don’t think any developer should not have control of how their game is presented or marketed or communicated. And they should take control of that a lot, lot more.”
I’m not sure if some of you recall or not, but Bowling recently had a lot more to say in regards to the console war and how developers (Infinity Ward) absolutely hate how it effects the industry. In his statements, he made it clear that they’re only talking about the GAME, not the console it’s being displayed on (generally the 360). However, he clearly states in the above quoted piece that Infinity Ward makes the decisions on how its games are presented, marketed or communicated to gamers. Really?
So, by cutting out the middleman, is there any way Bowling can justify that beyond the commercials and advertisements, it is often followed by a 360 advertisement and never a PlayStation 3 logo? What message does that communicate to the gamers of the console war? Since Infinity Ward makes the decisions on how its games are presented and marketed, is Bowling so out of touch to realize that the most ignorant of fanboys take this type of advertising and logo placement as a sign to say, “This version IS better than the other guys?” Considering the belief that Bowling feels he “knows” gamers, he should know what type of effect this has on the industry of consumers, correct? It’s just shocking to hear such blatant rubbish that there is absolutely no truth behind it at all.
Infinity Ward, Activision, and Bowling displayed exactly how much they know the gamer when they decided to cut out dedicated servers, when they decided that the online petitions should be deleted and/or locked on their official forums, and when they decided to partner with Microsoft for an exclusive bundle deal despite not wanting to spark any controversy in a machine war that seems to be only be getting worse. You know what the gamer expects from you? Apparently, that’s not true whatsoever. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Activision and Infinity Ward has slowly alienated themselves from the fanbase that made Call of Duty what it is today and if gamers want more power in the industry, if they want a voice to be heard in order to create change so that developers like Infinity Ward truly DO know them, then they’ll speak with their wallets in November when it matters most — they’ll stay at home on November 10.