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Riccitiello hails BF/COD "battle of the titans"

EA CEO predicts $200 million in marketing spend for this year's shooter head-to-head

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is anticipating that the head-to-head at the end of this year between Battlefield 3.0 and the next Call of Duty title will be a "battle of the titans" that could see as much as $200 million spent in marketing alone.

Speaking at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York, Riccitiello admitted that rival publisher Activision Blizzard currently held the number one spot in the first-person shooter market, but claimed that the latest Battlefield game was designed to "take [Call of Duty] down".

"This November we're launching Battlefield 3," he said. "It's going up against the next Call of Duty, which is presently the number one game in the game industry. It's a game that did $400 million in revenue on day one.

"This game is designed to take that game down. If you're looking for a battle of the titans, a Red Sox versus Yankees, if you're trying to understand if it's Microsoft versus Google and what the tip-off point is for this holiday season - this is it.

"There'll be a couple of hundred million dollars of marketing between these two products going head-to-head; similar designs, we think we've got the better product. It's going to be a blast."

In-game footage for Battlefield 3.0 was recently released, showing off the title's new Frostbite 2 technology. No details on plans for this year's Call of Duty have yet been revealed.

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Latest comments (14)

Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde10 years ago
I trust that the design of Battlefield 3 is beyond simply "taking [CoD] down". While CoD is the market leader that they naturally wish to compete with, I would argue that Battlefield is a unique experience by comparison and naturally, people may not be swayed. I'm very late in joining the Battlefield crowd after many hours of Modern Warfare (1&2) and find time to enjoy both (in moderation of course). I would really say that once you get past the guns and modern setting, they are two very different games. Sadly, some people may not see what the fuss is about compared to the latest offering from Activision.

Though one thing that may give Battlefield the upper hand is creativity. Clearly DICE have been busy exploring new improvements to the already impressive Frostbite engine, whereas CoD has been reliant on the same (tweaked) engine since CoD 4. Some big ideas need to be injected into CoD as a whole in order to freshen up the franchise - and this principle applies to more than just the engine. Who knows, it may well lose its position over time, much in the way that PES lost to FIFA.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
CoD is pick up and play, Battlefield is not. That alone will make CoD the more successful game. It is easier to get into and spread to friends who are more easygoing players.

Battlefield might have dedicated roles, such as the medic, but what good are they, if you have to grind levels to unlock their actual functionality?

What good is having vehicles when there is no way to train on them and the only way to gain experience using them is to participate in a mad rush towards them and then sit in them for 10s before the enemy shoots you down?

Battlefield might be the better game if you know all the nooks and crannies, but it is also way too inaccessible for your average CoD player. Especially the things making Battlefield superior are the ones people will most likely miss out on.
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Nicholas Kurt Hughes Studying transport design, University of Huddersfield10 years ago
I would rather see 200 million go towards actual game development, rather than a strong marketing campaign.
The Battlefield IP just needs a strong multiplayer demo, if it is a good game it should sell on that aspect alone.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Kurt Hughes on 7th April 2011 1:57pm

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Show all comments (14)
Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
Again, I feel like asking Riccitiello to please stop talking about Call of Duty all the time. BF3 clearly has enough of its own features and aspects to talk about; why not discuss how its multiplayer modes are going to be tailored for both PC and consoles, or talk about how DICE are putting loads of effort into delivering a set-piece-driven exciting narrative, building on the things they've learned in Bad Company 1 & 2, and so on. It seems that he spends as much time talking about COD as he does any of EA's own games.
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Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 10 years ago
TG: To be fair, the original article mentions him talking about more than was listed here. Also, he was speaking at a marketing conference, so it makes sense for him to talk about advertising spend & competing with market leaders via advertising, as game features wouldn't be what attendees were there to hear about.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart10 years ago
Regardless of both games pros and cons they should have stuck to the August/September months for BF titles like they did for BC2. That way there's room for both modern day FPS but not necessarily at the same time. Especially when the rumours circulating are for a MW3. If true and we'll find out soon there are millions of gamers who want to carry that story on.

Whoever at ERTS thought of this is either supremely confident and supremely arrogant. Personally I think the real reason for the November launch is slippage in the development cycle and now they are forced to go head to head. Really only a fool whose game is of the same genre would take COD on. Ubisoft did with AC but that's a different game totally and the French are very arrogant haha.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Graham Simpson on 7th April 2011 3:58pm

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
"Regardless of both games pros and cons they should have stuck to the August/September months for BF titles like they did for BC2."

I'm fairly sure BF:BC2 had a March-ish launch date...?

"Ubisoft did with AC but that's a different game totally and the French are very arrogant haha."

Actually, I think it was very astute launching ACII the month after MW2 - largely because most other big games were running scared from MW2 and were thus delayed into early 2010, giving it a lack of competition in what is traditionally a very busy time of year (I think Left 4 Dead 2 was the only other big PS360 release). Once gamers had finished with MW2 and/or wanted a good lengthy single-player game to get their teeth into, ACII followed on from a successful predecessor and had heavy enough marketing that it was a perfect fit.

I don't think arrogance had anything to do with it; they followed up a successful product with a vastly improved and heavily marketed successor and it paid off for Ubisoft, big time.

EDIT @ Sam - yeah, I went over and watched some of that presentation and he actually didn't seem to mention COD much at all, so fair play to him. Although I only watched the first 10 or so minutes as I'm at work!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 7th April 2011 4:21pm

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Toby Ross Studying Computer Science, University of Warwick10 years ago
I think Call of Duty losing out this time (which won't happen) would be great for the industry. It's becoming ridiculously boring to not only have Call of Duty taking home all the accolades even though they haven't actually done anything really great since Call of Duty 4 came out, but to see every other game mimicing it all over the place. We need something fresh from a gamer's point of view, and from the industry's point of view.

I'm fairly confident that it will be BF3 that I end up playing. I'm fairly confident that it will be a better game. It may even review better. But will it beat it in sales? Almost certainly not, and that couldn't be more depressing. If EA want to win it, they need to advertise brilliantly what makes their game so much more than Call of Duty can ever be: cooperation. CoD is a game where you compete against the other team and your own team - it's a game where the vast majority of players never exercise any team work whatsoever.

Battlefield is a game which necessitates teamwork and that gives it the best moments. EA and Dice know that it is the 'Battlefield moments' which make their game great. I pray that they can set off a really succesful campaign on that basis, and I pray that they don't go too far trying to Call-of-Duty-ize their game with sensationalist-but-unbalanced features like remote control cars and tactical nukes. From a marketing perspective BF needs to do three things:

Advertise the 'Battlefield Moment' concept
Advertise the enormous scope of the multiplayer
Show a visceral and stunning experience for a campaign

and still I'm not sure it'd be enough.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 10 years ago
"This is a game that was designed to take COD down", "It's a game that did $400 million in revenue on day one." ... When I hear lines like that it makes me wonder why these developers make games. And I wonder how much these yearly releases of a particular franchise can keep the quality up, before they become mundane and juiced to the last drop, where the franchise becomes stale, boring and tired. it has happened in the past with other franchises. As a game designer I would be completely appauld and gutted by statements like this.
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts10 years ago

When the CEO of a company the size of ours makes a public statement, he is mainly aiming it at the likes of investors, analysts and such, and they want to hear about numbers, they want to hear how you are going to take the top spot so he's telling them just that.

For more game specific, "geeky" stuff the interviews to watch will be from the game teams, the designers, producers and such.

As for what happens when franchises get "stale, boring and tired", any decent company will do the right thing and make changes, or introduce totally new IP, which is what we did with MoH (reboot), NFS (reboot), Shift (new IP and franchise), Mirror's Edge (new IP) and Dead Space (new IP and franchise) to name a few.

I know it sounds a bit crawly bum-lick, but I personally think JR has the right idea in many things (not everything) and genuinely wants us to produce better games, and I think that is starting to happen. There are things afoot in EA that are specifically designed to improve all aspects of our games and the related services, and it has all come from the top down.

I'm not saying this because I'm an EA employee, because believe me when I say EA harshest critics are within the company.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart10 years ago
Good point Terrance. I was thinking of MoH. Same idea, ERTS sew up Aug/Sep and Mar for their war titles. When 2 800 alpha male gorrilas go at it there is only one winner. And my money is on ATVI. I actually buy the CoD titles for SP and BF for MP so I don't care. But in this age of austerity there is going to be a loser especially when the cash strapped consumer has to make a choice.
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Maxwell Stringer 3D Generalist / Modeler 10 years ago
I believe Battlefield has always been designed to fight against CoD, but this time, Battlefield has the upper hand because every time they make a game, they never say "We need to take CoD down", its always about the experience, giving the player something unique.
Where as with CoD it becomes a cycle of "Lets do the same again and add things" which is possibly one of the worst things to do over and over, because is it worth buying it again.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 10 years ago
@ Stephen Woollard

Point taken and it was a very good read. I just dislike it when companies take great franchises and milk them so much they drive them to the ground, placing game quality on the back burner. Im not saying this is the case, I just hope its not.

I still have my fingers crossed for a new Mirrors Edge. I loved that game. I feel alot can be done with a game like that in terms of gameplay and stuff. The part were you jump off a building to grab on a helicopter or on top of a moving train were really exciting. The original can be improved upon in so many ways and Im glad EA has not abandoned the possibility of a sequel.

Im also hoping for a new SSX game. However I wasnt too happy about deadly descent trailer. Dead Space is a great franchise, I just hope they dont rush the next game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 8th April 2011 3:49pm

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Doug Paras10 years ago
Battle Field 1942 was the greatest FPS I've had the privilege to play. The joy of having things to do other then just simply run around killing each other or capping flags made the series so much fun. The flying of Airplanes for bombing runs or the fun of driving a sub just made it that much more fun.

I've played little of the newer games but if they've maintained this piece of game play then I can't see any other game being nearly as good.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Doug Paras on 8th April 2011 8:21pm

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