December 10, 2007

THE SUCCESSFUL WAR MOVIE HOLLYWOOD DIDN’T MAKE: Reader Don Wolff emails:

Did you know that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the video market has moved 3 million copies

That as Amazon shows it runs about $50 a copy – that’ s a ‘box office’ of 150 million.

And it’s about the current war against terror.

:”Armed with an arsenal of advanced and powerful modern-day firepower, players are transported to treacherous hotspots around the globe to take on a rogue enemy group threatening the world. As both a U.S. Marine and British S.A.S. soldier fighting through an unfolding story full of twists and turns, players use sophisticated technology, superior firepower, and coordinated land and air strikes on a battlefield where speed, accuracy, and communication are essential to victory.”

So, if as Hollywood whines that the public doesn’ t want Iraqi War movies, why is this selling so well, top of the rental lists, and ever so popular? At this rate it’ll be the successful game companies, that gives the pubic what they want, who’ll buy out the studios for their IP and name. Hollywood appears to have missed the impact of the technological shift as badly as MSM has. The public is getting the entertainment they crave, just not in the form that the old gatekeepers dispense.

I think that’s right.

UPDATE: My cousin-in-law Stewart Rubenstein emails that Old Media are smart enough to buy in, anyway: “Vivendi has owned Blizzard (Diablo, World of Warcraft, etc) for quite a while, and they just acquired 52% of the new ‘Activision Blizzard’.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ian Watson emails:

I think your emailer, while correctly pointing out good video game sales, is missing the subject matter point. The problem with comparing the subject matter of CoD4 with these horrid Hollywood movies is that no one goes to Hollywood movies for multiplayer. A vast (I would say nearly everyone) bought CoD4 for the multiplayer aspect of it, in which there are two teams people play on… Marines/SAS v. RandomTerrorists. Even beyond this point, it is the gameplay that sells this series far more than the story line. It is a first person shooter, that means a tactical twitch game. The entertaining and excellent singleplayer was given such high regards because of its challenging AI, excellent level design, and technical perfection. While I’m sure that the game would have suffered if we were terrorists blasting Marines the whole time, it is the technical perfection and the excellent multiplayer that sold this game.

Looking at specific game sales really doesn’t tell you anything, because games rise and fall dependant on a TON of factors other than storyline. Now, if one was to look at the storylines in general for some of the relevant top games, there IS a trend there.

Halo 3 (marine saves humanity… watch the live action shorts they were using to advertise it, lefties were complaining about them being too fascist like)

Splinter Cell series (4 games) … American spy saves the world, constantly.

Call of Duty series (TONS of games, well over 4 counting expansions)… go America all the way

Medal of Honor games…

I could go on, I’ll spare you…

… I’m trying to think of ones that go the other way and are successful… and I can’t.

Yeah, the distinctive feature seems to be the notion of good vs. evil, and without the Hollywood assumption that America is the evil.

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