We hear about the battle of the mega first person shooter franchises regularly now, with both Activision and EA locked in mortal combat against each other, both releasing a new title every year in hopes of crushing their opposition — or at least making a metric ton of money. In that regard, both companies are successful, as we all know that Call of Duty is one of the most popular game franchises of all time now, with EA’s Battlefield offerings being popular in their own right. This year we see the epic battle continue as Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released this fall and we’ll see the online flame battles and the battle at retail outlets continue on.
Electronic Arts and DICE got a jump on the competition this year by announcing Battlefield 4 before Activision had a chance to announce Call of Duty: Ghosts, the latest from the new Infinity Ward. Electronic Arts went all-out with Battlefield 4, not only announcing it, but releasing nearly 20 minutes of gameplay footage for the world to see from the single player campaign. Then, to top it off, they are already running television spots for a game that won’t be released until the end of the year. That is some forward thinking on EA’s part which may or may not pay off.
The only problem is that Call of Duty is a bonafide juggernaut within the industry, transcending the traditional borders that most videogames face. Call of Duty is a cultural phenomenon at this point in time, almost unstoppable. Activision only officially announced Call of Duty: Ghosts at the beginning of this month, mere days ago, and Call of Duty: Ghosts is already attracting way more attention than Battlefield 4 has since it was announced. If you look at Google Trends you can see that the announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts has already eclipsed the amount of search traffic that Battlefield 4 has seen since its announcement in March over 2:1. That is insanity.
If you’d like further, historical insight into how the two juggernauts have measured up, check out the past ten or so years. You can clearly see a jump in May/June of 2005 when Battlefield 2 was released, then see the two series being neck-and-neck before Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is released and Call of Duty reigns supreme for the rest of the charts, only giving way for the release of Battlefield 3 before things even out again. Of course, this is only one metric, but is reliable for how popular a given topic is online at the time. It shows that Battlefield was once king of the military shooter before Modern Warfare came out.
The announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts has really eclipsed Battlefield at the moment, which is bound to happen, but looking at the data interest should be close when it comes time for release of both games. Of course, when you work Black Ops into the equation you see that these metrics can be thrown into a tizzy and that 2010’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2 never stood a chance.
This year we will see a “proper” Battlefield game, Battlefield 4 go up against the Modern Warfare team (at least in name) and history is showing us that Battlefield is going to have a hard road over the next few months of keeping the level of interest up there with Call of Duty.