AAA Game Saturation – Tired Of Annual Releases?

The Dying Franchise

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I wanted to write this article today after seeing some recent news about Ubisoft and Activisions earning reports, and it got me thinking…

Both Call Of Duty and Assassins Creed made large changes to their franchise’s, with Ubisoft taking a break from releasing an annual Assassins Creed and Call Of Duty shaking up the formula with a WW2 setting instead of futuristic warfare.

The thing is these games have been reported to be doing remarkably well since their recent launch and that’s because:

  1. They have been listening to us their ‘fan base’ and what we want from the game, in terms of features and game play.
  2. Investors who I’m assuming (probably don’t even play games), pick the major decisions of what should be put in the game (i.e microtransactions).
  3. There is passion shown to make a good experience for gamers, even though Call Of Duty has had some terrible multiplayer servers at launch.

We are becoming more aware of these practices that AAA companies are undertaking, and it is growing tiresome. I understand that these investors and companies need to make money, however predicting what will be trending in the next 5 years isn’t what gaming is about and here’s why.

Flashback To The Start

Let’s take a look at the start of the Call of Duty and Assassins Creed franchise’s…

They were like that girl or boy whom you had a crush on. Do you remember what it felt like… to speak to them for the first time? it was natural and raw, you felt a connection because it was a genuine and unique experience.

Fast forward a couple months/years later and those feelings aren’t as strong, why? because the content just like the feelings fall into a routine, becoming repetitive.

Call Of Duty was that game which skyrocketed to new heights after its first release in 2003. It showcased the horrors of war, giving players the opportunity to be immersed in a part of history. It was also the first of its kind to introduce competitive online multiplayer; an on the ground, gritty experience which had never been seen before. In other words, it was revolutionary.

Above Video: Call Of Duty 1 Trailer.

Assassins Creed was the same, it introduced massive innovation and worlds which took players back in time. Teaching us about these people and places, which led us to believe in a story that would be hard to forget.

Above Video: Assasins Creed 2 Trailer.

This was the case because games had been a smaller market then, they didn’t have a much larger global audience as is the case today. Games were not made just for business, they were made for the player.

Onto The Present

Investors and companies grew because of these games, resulting in them being milked for the next decade.

The strategy was to make small improvements each year, with a competition set up between companies franchise’s. It was an effort put in place in order to capitilise on their brands huge successes.

This strategy worked for the most part until recently, as we’ve seen with the large gradual decreases in sales of last years ‘Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare’. This game saw a massive 50% decrease in sales with mostly negative remarks causing a near end to its franchise.

Statistics of rising and falling Call Of Duty sales over the past years.

Above image: Sales reports showing various sales in Call Of Duty Games.

However, both games survived due to:

  • Ubisoft not churning out another ‘Assasin’s Creed’ last year, giving the development team more time to put effort and detail into the game and its world.
  • Call Of Duty moving away from futuristic warfare (like it had done for the past 5 years) and going back to its original state from where it all began.

The result..? well just take a look at these videos:

Above Video: Call Of Duty WW2 Saving Series.

Above Video: Assassins Creed Origins Saving Franchise.

As you can tell if you give the fans what they want, then a huge increase in sales will result. This is just two examples but hopefully other gaming companies will take note and place more attention into their games development.

Will They Eventually Fall

It all depends on the consumer base. People power and interest is the only thing standing in the way between these franchise’s survival or downfall.

The more you produce and saturate a certain product the less interest it will be generating. Therefore, for me personally, if they don’t innovate again with amazing VR technology and controls for example, then I think their time will run out.

I hope you guy’s enjoyed this article, voice your opinion in the comment section below.

Take care guy’s and have a great day!





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2 Replies to “AAA Game Saturation – Tired Of Annual Releases?

  1. Being a gamer all my life, I totally agree with your article. To be honest I have not played either of those games in years because I felt like they were milking the franchises to death and not worth my investment each year for a graphic update and a few extra perks. I would take a franchise like GTA that I feel “gets it” to a degree (although I did not really get into the multiplayer). The GTA games are not just churned out and the developer takes its time working on them. Either way, the companies won’t learn if people keep buying. But eventually trends die and then the companies will scramble for the next franchise. Just look at the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series that fell into that demise.

    1. And I think gaming and AAA gaming in general will eventually have a massive crash, this could be a good thing for smaller companies who don’t promote this type of marketing and care about their player base. I agree with you GTA and rockstar are a rare example, where they take their time and don’t rush things out. Because at the end of the day people know what they are going to get in terms of quality from rockstar, and the sales prove that.

      Call of duty will fall exactly like tony hawk games I have no doubt in my mind. It’s just a matter of time until they run out of ideas.

      Thanks for the comment Chris!

      Take care mate.

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