This fall will see one of the greatest retail showdowns in video game history when EA's Battlefield 3 goes up against Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Both games come out this fall, and aim to be the definitive military shooter experience. Battlefield 3, though, is the definite underdog here. Activision's Call of Duty franchise is practically synonymous with "shooter" in the public mind, but EA has some big plans for Battlefield 3, and isn't afraid to mix it up verbally, either.
"You've got every reason to be nervous," EA spokesperson Jeff Brown said in comments directed at Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Last year Activision had a 90 share in the shooter category. This year, Battlefield 3 is going to take you down to 60 or 70. At that rate, you'll be out of the category in 2-3 years. If you don't believe me, go to the store and try to buy a copy of Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk."
Oooh! That's a disssss.
Brown's comment reiterates EA's plan to make a very serious dent in Activision's shooter sales this fall, but I wonder if the company isn't over-reaching a bit. Call of Duty is such a huge franchise, it's hard to imagine it not existing in only 2-3 years. Plus, Activision proved with Black Ops that is can release an excellent Call of Duty game without the help of the original creators of Modern Warfare, the team behind developer Infinity Ward.
Battlefield may be blowing everyone away who follows gaming very closely, but remember: Most people who buy games aren't super plugged-in to what's happening in the industry, especially when it comes to unreleased games. The name "Call of Duty" has massive recognition among the general public who regard the series as the gold standard in action shooters, and most "casual-hardcore" gamers haven't seen the Battlefield 3 trailers that are blowing everyone's minds in the industry.
No matter which company ultimately triumphs, the real winners here are you, the gamers. Competition between companies for the "hardcore" shooter market will almost certainly result in better and better games, so no matter which game you favor, you have to hope this war of games continues.