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EA: "Our teams are killing themselves" to beat Call of Duty

EA Games's Patrick Soderlund says that the company is still aiming for Call of Duty's crown

EA Games Label executive vice president Patrick Soderlund has told MCV that the company is not giving up the fight against Activision's Call of Duty. Both titles are launching within a week of each other this year, bringing EA's annual battle against Activision even closer.

"Competition is good," said Soderlund. "It brings the best out of people. If there was only Battlefield or only Call of Duty, then the development teams might have been a little bit more content. We don't look at them necessarily and mimic what they do."

"But we think about them. Maybe they weren't thinking about us much when we made Battlefield 3, but I can tell you, they are thinking about us now. They need too. We made a dent in the FPS market and we took share from them. And I am not going to give up until I'm number one and I am going to make sure I'm number one.

"We are spending a ton of money on this, our teams are killing themselves every year to make great games," he added. "I want to give our consumers the best I can. We will strive to be number one. If I said, 'number five is probably fine,' it's hard for people to rally behind that message. But I wouldn't say we could be number one if I didn't think we could. I think I have the right team, the right product and the right strategy to get there."

This year, Battlefield 4 comes out on October 29 on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, while Call of Duty: Ghosts comes out on November 5 for PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC, and Xbox 360. Battlefield 4 is launching on PS4 on November 12 in North America and November 29 in Europe, with the Xbox One version coming on November 19 in North America and November 22 in Europe. Call of Duty: Ghosts for PS4 is coming on November 15 in North America and November 29 in Europe; Ghosts for Xbox One follows on November 22.

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Latest comments (10)

No game or team or organisation can stay on top form forever. BF is a great game in its own right (prefer the series over COD) and BF4 looks amazerer, but if BF does get to #1 it'll be after ten years of COD cleaning their clock, so I'd calm down on the preening and victory laps. DICE after all are the ones following & copying the leader - the easier task of the two - and only overtaking rivals when they are at the point of retiring is not quite so worthy. No FPS will ever matter so much again as COD. Being first matters a hell of a lot. Though p'raps not at EA.
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Pier Castonguay Programmer 8 years ago
Yet even with massive technological upgrades and very nice eventful scenes, most gamers just say "Meh, too linear, too short, pistol is not precise enough" 5/10.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Hm. Maybe stop looking over that neighbor's fence and do something CoD doesn't do? SURPRISE me, guys. Add stuff like COMPLETELY user-destructible objects, player swapping anytime in the game, more open maps, some sort of console level editor, and so forth and so on. Take cues from other genres that mix things up to keep their gameplay fresh and you end up winning more fans in the end.
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Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike8 years ago
I agree, they aren't going to win with this current attitude on display - even though I want them too!! Unfortunately, I think they need to try and specialize the brand somewhat to really make people take notice of what they are doing. I HATE using COD as an example, but unforunately, here its important: COD really broke out with the Modern Warfare series. They had a tightly done campaign (even I liked it!) and it felt like it broke out of the Call of Duty blandness. That is what BF needs to do, they need to really come out with something that isn't just another generic BF game, but has a wonderful and tightly done campaign and a come out with gameplay that has some real breakout moments from their own franchise. Look more at what THEY have done before, and less at what others are doing.
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Tucson K Bagley Junior Artist, Dreamgate Studios8 years ago
I feel this is not a thing to brag about. You are spending "a ton of money", and your team is "killing themselves", trying to replicate another game's success?

It seems a little off to me.

Perhaps it would be a more noble achievement to approach it in a more humane manner. Less money, or the same amount over more time, to produce an equal or better game that doesn't have "CoD BEATER" on the list of goals, as opposed to getting into a staring match with Treyarch/Infinity Ward. The focus on one competitor generally tends to narrow ones field of view, and before you know it both you and them are far behind and knee-deep in regret from spent funds where funds needn't have been spent, while something else has taken center stage.

Just my opinion, though. I'd like to see a little more innovation-- if DICE puts their effort into that, then they truly could one-up CoD. But simply mirroring the effort isn't enough-- They need a little something else.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tucson K Bagley on 20th September 2013 2:00am

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
This reminds me of how Killzone time and time again vowed to be a Halo killer and not only did they NOT accomplish that but they never even came close. And I'm not just talking about sales figures. If you played both series you'd notice a world of differences in the controls, gameplay and multiplayer.

However, Battlefield and COD are much more similiar than Halo and Killzone. I bought both games last time, just not at the same time. I think both are good series but I definitely prefer COD. There is still room for both and some healthy competition between the two will go along way to possibly keeping both from getting too stale.
But I wouldn't say we could be number one if I didn't think we could.
Thats pretty much what you guys said last time when Battlefield 3 went against Modern Warfare 3 and I have a feeling that we'll be hearing that same song and dance every two years when a new Battlefield releases. Fortunately for EA(and they don't seem to actually notice this) they no longer need to be number one. I think last time Battlefield 3 sold between 12-16 million units. They still came in second but 12-16 million units is not a lose. It's a huge success and I'm pretty sure Battlefield 4 will also be a huge success. It's most likely not going to beat COD anytime soon(COD is a mainstream success now that extends far beyond hardcore shooter fans) but it will still be one of EA's top selling games this year and that in itself is enough of a positive to rally your team around.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
I could be wrong, but I have always thought that when CoD loses its crown, it won't be to another modern war shooter. Every top dog eventually loses that status, but chances are that will come when the mainstream is bored of CoD. Does that not suggest they will look for something different.

Also, Activision may put everything and its aunty into preserving CoD's status now it is king, but no one ever knew how popular CoD4 would be. Sure, they new they had a strong game, and a fan base (although reports indicate Activision let Infinity Ward leave WW2 with trepidation, and had World at War in the wings), but just like Halo, GTA 3 or WoW, no one could with certainty say they knew it would conquer all it surveyed. You don't capture the zeitgeist by copying something more successful. I don't think there is any way to guarantee that level of crazy success.

That said, Battlefield is loved by millions and is very profitable. As long as they focus on making a game that doesn't disappoint, and don't alienate too many with the excessive microtransactions (some people prefer to pay by MT, some prefer upfront, but very few people say they want to do both in the same game, Dead Space 3 is testament to that), then I don't think they need to worry.
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David Serrano Freelancer 8 years ago
EA: "Our teams are killing themselves" to beat Call of Duty
Translation: EA is killing itself to compete for a maximum of 25 percent of the console audience and completely ignoring the possibility of monetizing the remaining 75 percent in the process. EA would rather double down on attempting to sell 10 or 15 M copies of Battlefield to COD fans... than attempt to sell two or three times as many copies of a new IP to the approximately 110 M console players who've shown absolutely no interest in COD or Battlefield to date.

Activision should just call the next COD title COD: Moby Dick so EA will understand what they're actually chasing. And why they are chasing it.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
You think any one IP could cater to the differing tastes of 75% of the console gaming population?
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Christian Slater DevilBliss Games Consultancy 8 years ago
The Titanfall / BF4 pincer attack might be enough to finally wean the hoi polloi off COD, though.
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