Sitrep: Who is actually playing Call of Duty?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

By on May 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

For a long time I thought tall poppy syndrome was a uniquely Australian construct, or that we at least suffered from it to a far greater degree than other nation or culture. We are, after all, the only human cattle on earth raised from penal colony stock: if one prisoner were to escape, the rest would be beaten. So the fear of those looking to liberate themselves, shall we say, from the safe average might be hardwired into our ‘Straya.

Nowadays we aren’t getting around the yard in balls and chains, so it translates to: Rampant success = You’ll keep, mate. Maybe we’re more globally influential than we thought. Shame it’s not in terms of Vegemite or servo stick-ups with bananas.

A panicked editor from a reputable gaming publication came to me yesterday and said, “Toby. You like Call of Duty, right? I need someone to write an article on Black Ops II.” At this I could only fondly reminisce over a billion hours spent toasting nooblets on Black Ops, after which I cut my CoD cord and haven’t reattached it since. I was just over it and felt, “Self, if you wanna pen missives complaining about the unenviable status quo as purveyed by this clone machine business model, you can’t be a part of it.”

So I stopped literally putting my money where my convictions were. I have no idea what CoD is doing right now, and I don’t care. Neither did this editor. Neither did the multitude of staff members he’d asked to write this thing before he turned to more mercenary options like myself. Who is actually playing Call of Duty?

Evidently, lots and lots of people. I’d reference some statistic about how much this thing still sells but the zeroes stretch off very far into the horizon and it hurts your eyes to look at it. Lots and lots of people, but seemingly very few within the industry (and its close followers) itself, where it draws incredible ire for continuing to exist and, I guess, prosper, against the hopes and dreams of these men and women.

It has become somewhat the Nickelback of video games, sometimes hated for reasons as baseless as every game of Domination I have ever played. Frequently it’s derided because it’s there, because it’s always there, and because it keeps guaranteeing it’ll be there again soon regardless of what it actually is. It’s at the point where it doesn’t even have to try anymore. I remember looking at the back of a box for Black Ops II and it just had about three images with three dot-point exclamations, only one of which came from a publication: “A Must Have!” Then, attributed to nobody at all, “The Best-Selling Xbox 360 Franchise of All-Time Returns!” and “The Biggest Game of 2012!”

It’s created an interesting and cyclical schism: Those who must write about it might abhor it but must do so because a large percentage of those who read what they write are assumed to love it. If a game is so incredibly popular on paper but has a notable dearth of actual correspondents the least bit interested in investigating it, it is now Nickelback. Or Justin Bieber.

CoD is pop music, I realised. It will keep selling records because it’s more or less social currency on the playground by now and it doesn’t matter what gets said, by itself or other selves. If it was an artist on Twitter it’d have millions of fans illiterately defending its honour, and would exclaim upon a visit to the house of Anne Frank, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have played Call of Duty.

“Maybe,” I hoped after the editor had left, punching walls, “We can just follow CoD around now and write about all the things it does and says in its public and private life and this will suffice as coverage.” It really only had one song anyway. Plenty of people still digging this one song; enough so that it could just put its face on a lunchbox? Cheque please.

28 comments (Leave your own)

I don’t think its Nickleback or Justin Beiber.. COD is the Andy Dick of video games. And you ask yourself… “WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE WANT TO SEE ANDY DICK DANCE”.. Fucked if I know.


I purchased CoD this time just to see what it was like, since “everyone plays it”. It now sits in my bookshelf gathering dust. I fail to understand why it’s (still) so popular.


Who’s still playing CoD? Teenagers, mostly, I suppose. Like McCasker says; its now a social currency more than a quality game. If it’s all your schoolmates are talking about then you’re going to stay on the bandwagon.

I wager that most older CoD fans either hold an ongoing sentimental attachment to the series or are just very easily entertained. I loved CoD1 and CoD2 on PC. So did a lot of my schoolmates. We had a ridiculous amount of fun playing them. Would I touch the current day CoD? Not a chance in hell.


The last CoD I played multiplayer was MW2. I played through about 3/4 of Black Ops single-player but never touched the multiplayer. I don’t have MW3 or BO2.

My nephew on the other hand has everything from MW2 (or BO) onwards on Xbox 360 because he can play it with his friends. Saying that, he’s also into BF3, Skyrim, Minecraft, Terraria and is oddly fascinated with Farming Simulator (??).


The last one I played was MW3 [Wanted to see how the story of the 3 games ended...quickly and badly]
Never touched the MP and no interest in buying any more COD games.

Then again that’s less to do with COD and more to do with
A) Crap internet speed at home.
B) Mates all play MMOs and CS:Source.
C) Shooters bore me.

I wont ever buy another COD game again, but that’s not to say I hate them they just bore me.


I finally kicked my CoD habit and didn’t buy black ops 2 lol, maybe I can stay clean this time >.>


Last one I purchased was blops, never again. CoD2 was their shining jewel of gloriousness. (Is that even a word?) Maybe if they think about going back to the WW2 series.. or at least changing it up a bit.. maybe I’ll go back. But I tire of these modern shooters.


Stellar read Toby. Excellent.

Personally, as much as I wish COD would evolve – do something different and incredible, make a huge jump – as big as to COD 4, it won’t. It’s always a little bit fun, if only for the stupid Hollywood single player and multiplayer always lasts awhile. Though, even me, who’s quite unwilling to go about boycotting a brand or product for one reason or another – I’m finally tiring of it. It’s all the same now. But they’ll always get my money. “Maybe this time it will be different” I tell myself upon a new COD release. I buy it and it’s the same as it was last year. I play it a bit, then forget it. I’m the problem with gamers – I actually play Call of Duty.


oddly fascinated with Farming Simulator (??).

You can thank the youtube channel NODE for that one most likely. TO THE TRACTOR PILE!


My recent memories of the series are solely from Cod4. While it was pretty awesome being novel with a new style, I havent played any of the modern ones since.

Are the other modern ones even the same style game as Cod4?

from the game lit/reviews every other entry in the series has sounded like a lame 80′s unkillable action hero flick, rather than an atleast marginally realistic shooter like cod4 and the ww2 ones. As such i never bothered to even pirate them or play a demo etc to even try them.

I guess what im asking is are the rest of the modern ones any worse than Cod4 (which really wasnt that bad), or is everyone just sick of them due to them all being exactly the same (too much chocolate cake syndrome – I literally saw this doing work experience at the Sara Lea factory – tons of Free cakes in the breakroom every day, and almost noone ate any of them)



Bit of both. For me MW2 was the last one I actually liked. Lame 80′s unkillabble action hero flick sounds about right, but it’s also chocolate cake syndrome (kind of). It’s been the same game but more gimmicky every year.


Last COD I purchased was WaW. Played it for a thrilling 5 minutes.
Last COD I actually fully played (> 1 hour) was the original modern warfare.
But I put a lot more hours into COD1 and it’s expansion. COD2 as well – although no punkbuster on release was a bit silly.


: It has become somewhat the Nickelback of video games…

So… you’re saying the first couple of Nickleback albums were fine? Oh, the shame. In front of the whole internets, too.



Last time I was there he was so proud to show me all the tractors he had got onto a roof… >.<


Didn’t buy Blops 2 because of MW3. I knew that MW3 would be the same old shit, but I like FPS games and I like being able to pick what server I play on. When that didn’t happen for MW3, I stopped playing it. I haven’t played a COD game in over a year.

I played Blops quite a bit, I played a few comp games then just fucked around playing sniper only servers.

It’s the same old shit, same graphics, same engine, same everything since COD4. Now I’m back to playing CSS, CS and DoDS because they’re still true to form. Except I hate that DoDS switched to the TF2 engine. Fucking stupid idea. I know it was a few years ago now, but it’s just stupid.


I still play a bit of Blops, CoD 4 is ok, but I hit my personal MP sweetspot at Blops. Didn’t like any of the P2P games (MW2, MW3 & Blops 2) as you spent more time in a lobby than playing a game, oh and hit rego plus people playing on a toaster always ruin the game. SP wise haven’t even bothered since CoD 4. That was a good SP storyline that felt close to what it was trying to portray.

Blops 2 is utter shite though. I even defended it a bit before release. When I realised how much of the pre-release info was bullshit that’s when I gave up on the franchise. I’ll give Ghosts a look, but it won’t be something on my wishlist.


I really enjoyed CoD2 and Cod5, not really interested in the whole modern warfare thing. I think they really stopped innovating at about CoD6 and they could have achieved the same gameplay through updates etc. I imagine there are people out there that are forced to go out and buy the latest one solely so they can keep playing online with their friends, as once a new one comes out I imagine it’d be like rats on a sinking ship in multiplayer…


It seems to be mainly console gamers that account for the millions of units sold. I’ve played a fair bit of BLOPS2, the current online player count was about 22k during US primetime then dips below 10k during our prime.
Mate has it on his PS3 and its 300k+ in our primetime and would be similar if not more with the xbox.
Console gamers love it because its a new game that still runs at a nice FPS on the aging hardware. Ever try BF3 on the PS3? It’s a joke how bad that runs even with the max players and graphic quality reduced.


Not I. I have never played a CoD game.

I think the stupid masses are playing it.

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