Despite Biggest Entertainment Opening Ever
Despite generating over 750 million dollars in just five days on release, shifting 6.5 million copies in the US and UK alone, the Call of Duty brand still can't hope to compete with the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter. That's according to Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Center for Brand Analysis, who believes the videogame market is over-saturated with military shooters, resulting in consumer confusion thus diluting brand recognition.
"If you look at awareness they're not quite up there with the likes of Star Wars or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings," Cheliotis told Eurogamer. MW3 earned 750 million in just five days, but when you factor in the high cost of games compared to, say, ticket prices, it's not as astonishing. The same number of buyers going to see a film would average 129 million in ticket prices, a solid opening week.
The problem, according to Cheliotis, is the sheer number of Call of Duty titles and competing shooters. An avid gamer might notice the difference between MW3 and Battlefield 3, but to the layman, they're both simply modern military shooters by way of Michael Bay. "There aren't many people who struggle to tell the difference between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter and Twilight," Cheliotis argues. "They're all clearly defined, different propositions. They might be in the same genre, fantasy adventure, but they're clearly distinguished and differentiated."
According to Cheliotis, it's a "brand issue" in regards to Call of Duty. "There's not much to distinguish them for the average player that's just jumping in and out," he explains. "How do people say, that's clearly that game? If you've got a still of one of those films, straight away you say, that's that. If you have a still from Call of Duty versus another military franchise, unless you are a real discerning follower, you'll probably say, oh, I don't know. It could be Call of Duty or Battlefield."
Cheliotis claims the videogame industry has only two true brand successes; Nintendo's Mario, and SEGA's Sonic. "You've got Mario. You haven't got a lot of other brands that are truly distinctive and stand out," he laments. "You might have a few point in time ones, but generally, as long term brands that have longevity and true differentiation, there are not many examples." [Eurogamer]