Every year, a new FIFA comes out. Every year, a new Madden comes out. For the past few years, a new Call of Duty comes out. A few years ago, a new Guitar Hero came out every year until the market became over-saturated with music rhythm games and the new releases stopped in 2011. These games are considered to be annual releases, which means a new version of the game is released every year. This year we got FIFA 13, Madden 13, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and many more “annual releases”. These games, essentially, keep on being released every year until they become unprofitable which in the case of the Guitar Hero series they “die”.
Sport titles such as FIFA, Madden and NBA2k will essentially never stop being released every year until either interest in those sports suddenly die, a new form of game ‘updates’ gets popular, their publisher goes under and no one buys the license or the entire human population on earth dies due to some horrible (or pleasant?) event. Until any of these events happen, sport titles will continue to be annual releases because there really aren’t any other ways to update team rosters cough dlc cough or release new songs and fancy new menus.
But to be fair, some of these sport titles do make some changes to the actual game play year after year. FIFA seems to be the best of the sport titles (I heard NHL does a good job as well, but I only play FIFA) in regards to the “real” changes that get made with every release. FIFA tweaks the physics of the players and the ball to create a more ‘realistic’ game, improve graphics to the point where you can tell which player is which just by their game model and improve the overall futbol atmosphere of the game. Still, even with all the small changes that FIFA does, it’s getting harder to justify paying $60 for a video game that’s slightly better and different than the previous one.
Call of Duty. The game gamers deserve, but not the one they need right now. So, we’ll hate it, because it can take it. Because it’s not just a game. It’s a guardian. A watchful protector. Call of Duty.
Call of Duty is probably the only non-sport title video game to currently get the annual release treatment since the Guitar Hero series. Call of Duty also tends to be hated among gamers who usually consider themselves to be “True gamers”. Call of Duty gets hated on mostly because of the inherent weakness that all annual releases seem to share: innovation. Call of Duty lacks innovation because it is essentially the same game except with a different single player campaign and maybe better graphics. Call of Duty is the sport title of first person shooter video games. But the question with Call of Duty isn’t whether or not its different from its previous iterations but if it’s still fun to play. Apparently it is. Call of Duty continues to break sale records every year because its fun for million of gamers, causal and hardcore. Call of Duty will continue to be made every year until it also meets the requirements for death, which is probably loss of interest in gamers and loss of profitability. Just like how Guitar Hero died.
Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero, when it first arrived in 2005, was one of the most innovative games released in the 2000s. Guitar Hero single handily hooked a bunch of gamers to the music rhythm genre because of its concept of making anyone an Air-Guitar God. Guitar Hero did what Dance Dance Revolution couldn’t and became a critical success commercially and game play wise. What other video games allows you to rock out to Free Bird(it’s 10 minutes) on a plastic guitar? This continued to happen for a couple of years until 2011 in which Guitar Hero got put on ‘hiatus’ (read: cancelled and buried in a ditch somewhere in Arizona). The reason for Guitar Hero’s death? Ironically, lack of innovation. Also, the price of the new games ($150 dollars!!).
Annual Releases are usually considered evil by gamers because they tend to lack real innovation and are usually the same as the other ones before. But as we can clearly see, once lack of innovation become apparent to gamers and they lose interest, any game, no matter how big of a title, will cease to exist. Everything must come to an end, even you.