Blur vs Oasis. Tyson vs Bruno. Now Battlefield vs Call of Duty.
The best bitter rivalries in entertainment and culture are the ones most fiercely fought, but where one can’t survive without the other to validate it.
Or one can’t survive without the other to generate coverage for it.
At a time when we’re facing the same old headlines about Activision spinning billions out of the same old property, Battlefield’s tanks rolling onto its lawn takes the story to a whole other level.
So Call of Duty’s dominance is only underlined by EA’s serious bid to dethrone it.
Is EA bold enough to deploy Battlefield on the same day as Call of Duty? No one’s too sure. I bet top brass at EA aren’t too sure just yet.
For all the talk of a marketing “offensive” directed from the Redwood Shores war room, particular details like date – dependent on developers and other unpredictable milestones – could be up in the air until late summer.
But really, whether retailers are right to assume the two will arrive in the same week is arguably beside the point. The fact retailers are speculating about it – and, for some, praying for it – says it all: no one expects the king to rule forever.
On one level, turning the release of what was just any old sequel sequel into the ‘release of the game that will take down CoD’ is smart PR. By simply writing about it, journalists like me talk about the showdown with implication that EA’s got the ammo to at least put
up a fight.
(It does have the ammo of course. Its best developer is working on the game, millions will have been ploughed into both production and marketing, and right now EA is in better shape than it has been for some time.)
And get this: when the two are competing so fiercely, it doesn’t necessarily mean either has to suffer. Sure, some fans will defect, but it’ll only renew the vigour of others. The result here won’t be CoD crumbling away, but another colossus rising up alongside it. Two giants for retail to reap the rewards from, not one.
See: the further development of these two towering franchises won’t accelerate without the other to push it.
CoD needs it. Battlefield needs it. Most importantly, the market needs it.