Saturday, December 8, 2012

If James Cameron Made Black Ops 2




[Yes, this is going to be another Black Ops 2 article.  No, Burke's Joystick is not turning into a BlOps 2 blog.  It just happens to be my flavor of the month. :) It also happens to be relevant in various ways to the mission of this blog...as the next posting will demonstrate. ] 


What do you suppose would happen if someone invented a product so fantastic that is garnered over a billion dollars in sales in around two weeks time?  Do you suppose that if someone did accomplish such a business feat, that he/she would be the recipient of a lot of mainstream media attention? Probably, right?

Let's be more specific:  let's suppose that James Cameron made another movie - call it Avatar 2: Feline AIDS Strikes Back - and it made another billion dollars, but in less time then the original film.  Do you think that - just perhaps - Cameron would be the toast of the town?  That Time, Newsweek, ABC News, TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, etc. etc. would be lavishing the filmmaker with cover stories, feature pieces, interviews, and other pieces of  "high profile" journalism, as they did with the success of the original flick?  That the various business papers and business news networks would be probing into just how Cameron became such a financial success?  How the movie broke new ground for cinema?  How 'this changes everything!', as the hyperbolic old media is wont to say about every new success?  Probably, right?  Well, if that is the case with movies, and just about any other product I can think of (I'm looking at you, Apple), why isn't it the case with video games?  For example, did you see reported anywhere in the old media this remarkable story:


Call of Duty(R): Black Ops II Grosses $1 Billion In 15 Days

Title Eclipses Feature Film Record for Second Consecutive Year


SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that Call of Duty®: Black Ops II has crossed the $1 billion mark in worldwide retail sales, according to Chart-Track retail customer sell-through information and internal company estimates. Illustrating the strong appeal of interactive entertainment to audiences worldwide, the game achieved this milestone in just 15 days after its launch on November 13, 2012. Last year's Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare®3 reached $1 billion in retail sales in 16 days. The box office record set for feature films in 2009 by "Avatar" was $1 billion in 17 days¹. 

"The release of Call of Duty® has been one of the most significant entertainment events of each of the last six years," said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. "Since Call of Duty was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top-10 grossing films of 2012 combined. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for 'Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars,' the two most successful movie franchises of all time."

Since the game's launch, more than 150 million hours have been logged online playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Xbox® LIVE® and PlayStation Network. 

"Entertainment franchises that captivate audiences for as long as Call of Duty has, on the scale that Call of Duty has, are very rare things. And it takes a lot of brilliant people working across many different disciplines to make it happen. It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to be a part of," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. "In order for Call of Duty to remain the entertainment juggernaut that it is, and keep our fans coming back for more, we need to continue to bring fresh ideas and new innovations to the table every time, while always staying true to what people fell in love with in the first place. That's what we did with Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and that's what we intend to keep on doing. This is an incredible milestone for an incredible franchise, and I want to thank every passionate, talented, committed person on our team who made it happen." 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is available at retail locations worldwide on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Wii U™ game system from Nintendo and Windows PC. The game is rated "M" (Mature — Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs — content suitable for persons ages 18 and older) by the ESRB. 

More information on Call of Duty: Black Ops II can be found at http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2 or on www.facebook.com/codblackops. Fans can also follow @Treyarch on Twitter.

Well, did you (and if you did, please let me know because I honestly did not!)?

I don't care if it is a video game or the next (over-rated) iPad, something like this is usually BIG NEWS in the world of journalism.  Yet all I heard was this:  click me.  How could this be?

Well, as I have been pointing out on this blog for some time, the old media has little interest in their deadliest competitor.  This is especially true for television & the movies.  I mean, how can you watch the latest dreadful fare from NBC if you are playing Call of Duty?  What is more, if you are spending your shrinking disposable income on games, well, that doesn't bode well for you then spending additional money on Cameron's Thunder Cats in Space.

[BTW:  do you suppose that this is the reason why we have yet to get a decent video game-themed movie or television show?  Pretty suspicious, that. I wouldn't put it past Hollyweird to deliberately sabotage every game-themed movie so as to continue the negative portrayal of gaming as silly nonsense not worth any serious person's time.]

But, as readers of this blog will know, it goes beyond simple hostility.  I believe the majority of the continuing news blackout about all the exciting things happening in the world of video games is due to the fact that the old media is...well, old.  That is, they just don't get this newest entertainment medium.   Don't understand it; don't care to learn about it.  It is all bizarre kids' stuff as far as the Baby Boomer-dominated media are concerned.

In and of itself, being ignorant about video games is disappointing, but not the end of the world.  But when you have the fourth estate ignoring / being ignorant of a massive business news story, one that has profound economic implications for investors, that is just...well, the term "journalistic malpractice" comes to mind.  

Think about this: Black Ops 2 - a game that was doomed to succumb to CoD fatigue according to many "industry experts" - shatters Modern Warfare 3's record by grossing $1 billion dollars in 15 days, and not one major media outlet reported on it.  This during an economic recession (despite what the official definition might be - did you ever hear of a recovery with 14.4% unemployment?) that is hurting Christmas sales, no less! This should frighten every one of you.  I mean, if the media is so clueless on such a large sector of the economy, what else are they not telling you out of ignorance or sheer indifference?  

Think about that for a bit.  If it doesn't keep you up at nights, something is probably wrong with you.

PS:  In the course of writing this entry, I came across one of the few examples of the old media doing their job.  I highly recommend you read All the World's a Game, an Economist special report.  It is one of the few old media stories to take video games seriously.  Quote:

Yet video games are still widely regarded as trivial. This special report will argue that as the newest and fastest-growing form of mass media they deserve to be taken seriously.
Someone gets it.

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