FIFA and the “Call of Duty” effect: who despises buys - editorial

FIFA and the “Call of Duty” effect: who despises buys - editorial
In the last few days, like every damned October, the usual discussion around FIFA 21 has been unleashed. A title that year after year is simply updated and polished without introducing transcendental revolutions, a product that now reappears as it is in its granite formula.

Despite the usual rain of criticism, any publisher on the planet would like to be able to boast a FIFA in their portfolio; just think that Electronic Arts, at the end of 2019 alone, had grossed almost five billion euros, most of which came from its football (the whole Ubisoft has billed less, ndSS).

Now, today's is not intended to be a reflection on the importance of sales and profits, much less an examination aimed at integrating the concept of "success" in critical analysis. Criticism must operate on a separate track from that of the evolution of the markets, adopting completely different metrics and leaving aside any economic implications. Moreover, if this were not the case, the Fast & Furious saga should be combined with works such as The Godfather or The Hunter.

FIFA Ultimate Team is the real goose that lays the golden eggs of EA. That said, the criticism should not even confine its analyzes to abstract and outdated concepts such as those of "novelty" and "evolution". In our opinion, the revival of a winning formula should not necessarily be experienced or interpreted as a creative defeat. It is simply the proposal of a consolidated offer, perhaps minimally improved, an offer that if subject to upheavals could even fall into the abyss. This is the Call of Duty effect.

After the sunset of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, one of the most successful titles in the Activision series, the gamer population was divided into two opposing fringes. On the one hand there were those forty million people who, year after year, wanted nothing more than a new CoD just like the previous one, to live with their feet firmly planted on the ground together with their friends. On the other were the detractors, an army of people who saw the world's most famous shooter as a child's game and poured all their discontent into online discussions.

What happened next? It happened that Activision got it wrong. Because the house listened to its detractors, to those thousands of people that Call of Duty would not have bought it anyway, and tried to respond to criticism by packaging a "revolutionary" product, something that was in line with modern needs, between robots and jetpacks.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was the peak in Activision's sales curve. This choice led to what we could consider the "Middle Ages" of Call of Duty, a series of dark years inaugurated by the debut of Advanced Warfare, an era that came to an end only with the launch of the latest Modern Warfare. And Modern Warfare, coincidentally, has concentrated all its efforts in bringing the dynamics of the game back to the boundaries of that traditional formula that some of the public considered crap.

Whoever is writing these words has been a victim of the Call of Duty effect. I went from spending hundreds of hours shooting between Nuketown and Firing Range, to not buying a single episode of the series anymore, praying year after year that Treyarch, his name be sanctified, would bring back one of my favorite games to retrace the path that I so much he had kept company. And it was almost ten years before that could happen.

All this to say that FIFA 21 is FIFA. That is, it looks like it has always been and always should be, or rather, as it is liked by the tens of millions of gamers who decide to buy it every year.

Revolutionizing an established formula is perhaps not the right choice. People who know what they want and what they are buying, boys and girls who don't give a damn about PES gameplay, more arcade or less arcade, the new texture on the balloon. People who just want to spend another year together in FUT, and the last thing they want is a revolution.

A few days ago I was taking a look at the FIFA 21 marathon broadcast by ZanoXVII, stage name by Cristiano Spadaccini, on Twitch; an event that at certain times gathered 40,000 simultaneous spectators on his channel, including Alessandro Florenzi, which in itself speaks volumes about the dimensions of the FIFA phenomenon in Italy. Well, during the live broadcast the usual interventions arrived that emphasized how the game was always the same, comments to which Zano merely replied with a telegraph: "It's FIFA, zì".

Here, Zano is absolutely right. Any FIFA 21 review could be summed up in the sentence: "It's FIFA, zì". Including that "zì" obviously, a word that has a fundamental importance, which is not there by chance, and serves to imply a: "What else did you expect?". In the end FIFA 21 will be the usual FIFA, it will sell millions of copies driven by FUT, all the fans will be happy, and to Zano we wish to beat his new record of spectators with the TOTY at the end of the year.

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ZanoXVII gathered 40,000 people on Twitch for the launch of FIFA 21. After all, FIFA is exactly like Apple's iPhone. And said out of the blue, the undersigned of FIFA matters little or nothing. Call of Duty, on the other hand ... In the orbit of Call of Duty, many fans have felt sidelined in favor of an audience that, perhaps with reason, perhaps for fashion or perhaps for trivial issues of rivalry, continually lashed out against the product. And it would be a real shame if the same thing were to happen to FIFA fans one day.

We know it's a nasty thing, but we can't help but close this thought with a series of questions we can't quite get through give us an answer. Who criticizes FIFA, does it because they would like to buy it but one or more mechanics do not go down? Do you criticize him because he is bothered by those astronomical numbers that go against PES, a formula he thinks is better? Perhaps because of the economically predatory structure? And why has Call of Duty been attacked for years and years?

We ask you from gamers to gamers.

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