The only thing infinite about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare seems to be the plethora of dislikes the reveal trailer is getting on YouTube. It’s almost like fans (or non-fans) of the series are trying to up the like/dislike ratio like their K/Ds. As of this writing, the reveal trailer has 226,000 thumbs up, and over 750,000 thumbs down with no end in sight.
As if on cue, Activision had a quarterly earnings call this week with investors and one asked Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg point blank about Infinite’s overwhelming number of dislikes. He dropped the speakerphone (get it, like dropping the mic).
“The reveal trailer for Black Ops II, which took the franchise into the future for the first time, had the most dislikes of any reveal trailer we had ever made at that time. And that, of course, went on to become our most successful game ever.”
Of course, that was likely in the early days of the game’s reveal, and things more than evened out. Four years later, the Black Ops 2 reveal is sitting at a healthy 160K likes to 60K dislikes. That’s nothing near the 500,000 thumbs down that are separating an even like/dislike ratio for Infinite Warfare. Hirshberg does have a point, however. Infinite Warfare is coming packaged with a remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a fan-favorite of the series. There’s no reason to believe Infinite Warfare won’t set sales records as usual.
Activision released a full statement, putting the online vitriol in a nice little context. (h/t Kotaku)
On the second part of your question related to Infinite Warfare, first of all you got to love the passion of gamers. This is an industry like no other, and a fan base like no other and we love that our fans treat this franchise like it’s their own and have such strong points of view about it. There just aren’t many entertainment franchises on Earth that can generate the kind of passion that Call of Duty can and that’s a good thing.
Secondly, of course we know that there are people in our community who are nostalgic for the boots-on-the-ground-style gameplay, and that’s why we made Modern Warfare Remastered. But we also have millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that. And the good news is this year we found a way to deliver both in one package while keeping our community together.
And while of course we see the passionate opinions online, we also look at other measurements. And the fact is, while it’s very early, pre-orders are off to a very strong start. Views of the reveal trailer that you referred to are up and in fact the number of likes per view on the Infinite Warfare reveal trailer are also the highest we’ve ever seen.
We’ve seen this in the franchise before. The reveal trailer for Black Ops II, which took the franchise into the future for the first time, had the most dislikes of any reveal trailer we had ever made at that time. And that, of course, went on to become our most successful game ever.
And right now, the franchise has never been stronger. We have more people playing Black Ops III, a game that takes place in the future with boost jumps and fictitious weapons and all the rest, than any game in our history. So what we know for sure is that if we always just did what worked in the past and never took any creative risks, we wouldn’t have a franchise. The day to worry is the day we stop trying new things.
Now comes the waiting game to see if these downvotes actually translate into a tangible loss of sales. It’s a neat meta-game!