The first trailer for this year's Call of Duty game, Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, debuted on YouTube on Monday and has since racked up more than 8 million views. But many viewers — hundreds of thousands of them — have expressed their displeasure with the futuristic Call of Duty by giving the video a thumbs-down.
With 370,000 dislikes (and growing), the overwhelmingly negative response has made Infinite Warfare's trailer one of the most disliked videos on YouTube.
Many of the complaints from YouTube commenters center on the futuristic sci-fi bent Infinity Ward is taking with this year's entry. Infinite Warfare features space travel and battles on distant planets, and many viewers have been making unkind comparisons to franchises like Halo and Star Wars, saying they'd prefer a more grounded, realistic Call of Duty. The two most recent Call of Duty games, Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare, also featured futuristic settings, but kept the action on Earth.
Another source of negativity is Activision's decision to attach the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, a made-over version of Call of Duty 4, to Infinite Warfare. Activision says it won't sell Modern Warfare Remastered separately.
The video has garnered more than 187,000 likes, however, so the response hasn't been universally negative. And, according to Activision, there's a bright side to all the attention Infinite Warfare's premiere trailer has been getting.
During an earnings call today, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg was asked about the mass dislikes flooding Call of Duty's YouTube channel. Hirshberg did his best to stay positive and provide some context. Here's his response:
First of all, you gotta love the passion of gamers. This is an industry like no other and a fan base like no other. We love that our fans treat this franchise like their own and have such strong points of view about it. There just aren't many entertainment franchises on earth that can generate the kind of passion that Call of Duty can... and that's a good thing.
Secondly, of course, we know there are people in our community who are nostalgic for the boots on the ground-style gameplay; that's why we made Modern Warfare Remastered. But we also have millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that.
The good news is this year we found a way to deliver both in one package while keeping our community together. While of course we see the passionate opinions online, we also look at other measurements and the fact is — while it's very early — pre-orders are off to a very strong start. Views of the reveal trailer ... are up and, in fact, the number of likes per view on the Infinite Warfare trailer are the highest we've ever seen.
We've seen this in the franchise before. The reveal trailer for Black Ops 2, which took the franchise into the future for the first time, had the most dislikes of any reveal trailer we had ever made at that time. And that went on to become our most successful game ever.
Right now, the franchise has never been stronger. We have more people playing Black Ops 3, a game that takes place in the future, with boost jumps and fictitious weapons, than any game in our history.
What we know for sure is that if we always just did what worked in the past and never took any creative risks, we wouldn't have a franchise. The day to worry is the day we stop trying new things.
Activision posted record earnings for its first quarter today, with revenues of $1.46 billion for the three months ended March 31. Monthly active players for Call of Duty, Activision said, were up both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, "setting another all-time record for the franchise."
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered will be out this November.