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“Call of Duty's negative social media sentiment has virtually evaporated” - Activision

No repeat of the poor reception to last year's game as publisher details further plans for mobile and Black Ops III

The reveal video for Call of Duty: WWII is the most liked trailer in the franchise's history, Activision claims.

It's in contrast to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's launch video, which was the most disliked gaming video ever on YouTube when it debuted last year.

The firm puts the improvement down to the return to 'boots on the ground' gameplay, which has become the PR line to describe the new game.

In its investor Q&A, Activision was obviously cautious about the potential of the new game following the launch of last year's Infinite Warfare, which underperformed in all key markets. However, it insists that pre-orders have got off to a "very strong start".

Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg said that the "negative social media sentiment, which was an issue last year, has virtually evaporated".

The publisher added that the trailer is the fastest Call of Duty video to reach 10m views, which it managed in one day.

"When Activision greenlit this game more than 2.5 years ago, the team knew it was time to return the franchise to its roots," Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl told investors.

"Activision revealed the game at a global live stream from London last week, which became the most watched live stream in Call of Duty history, and the reveal trailer has gone on to become the most liked trailer in Call of Duty history. It became the fastest video to reach 10 million views in Call of Duty history, which it did in one day. Additionally, though it's still very early, pre-orders are off to a very strong start."

Hirshberg added: "Preorders, as Thomas said, are off to a very strong start. But we also track a number of other softer measures to indicate strong positive interest in the game. The reveal trailer has become the most liked video in Call of Duty history, and also now has the most organic views of any Call of Duty reveal trailer we've ever made. We also set a new high watermark with the views of the live stream. That's both for Call of Duty and for Activision overall. And the livestream also was extremely positively received, with a 95% like to dislike ratio. And then probably equally important as the positive indicators is that the negative social media sentiment, which was an issue last year, has virtually evaporated at about 0.2% at reveal.

"I think we have the right game at the right time. We're also going to be bringing some real innovations to the game which are obviously designed to keep it fresh and make it even more appealing for more different types of players, and those are going to be on display when we bring hands on multiplayer to E3 next month, and that's only the second time in our history that we've done that. And for context, the other time was Black Ops III. So obviously we have a lot of confidence in what we're going to be showing."

Call of Duty: WWII wasn't the only Call of Duty title to get discussed during the Q&A. The firm announced that it is also releasing new DLC for 2015's Black Ops III called Zombie Chronicles. This is significant because it's the first major update Activision has made to a Call of Duty game in a title's second year - typically, big DLC updates stop half-way through the game's first year on sale. The company says this is because it now has "better player engagement opportunities than we've ever had with our catalog games."

Activision's most recent business unit, King, also discussed Call of Duty in the call. The firm is creating a mobile version of the IP. It's not the first mobile Call of Duty game (in fact, there was a studio that was set-up to make these games, but Activision closed it in 2014 ) but the firm is certain there's an opportunity to widen the brand amongst the mobile market's significantly larger install base.

Hirshberg said: "The goal is to take a brand that tens of millions of people know and love and reinterpret it in a way that is appealing to the mass mobile audience. And we think it's a big opportunity. With King's experience making massively accessible and engaging games for that platform, and Activision's experience building one of the most enduring and appealing and engaging gaming franchises ever, we think we have the right combination of skills to pull it off."

King boss Riccardo Zacconi added: "It's still early days. We are just at the beginning of this process, and it will take many iterations to create a game of incredible quality. But we are super focused on it. We put amazing people on this task. The target is to develop a game of broad appeal."

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who