Published: May 20, 2016 12:00:00 PM

infinite-warfare-titles.gifThe Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer was posted to YouTube on May 2, 2016. By May 17, 2016, the trailer was the second most-disliked video on YouTube, totaling 2,415,670 "dislikes" on nearly 23.5 million views, as of this writing on May 20.

This current negativity means nothing. It will not change the game. It will not upset sales. All because of one simple reason.

Speculation is this negativity stems from the Call of Duty series' fans feeling the games have strayed too far from its roots, abandoning the familiar World War II and modern war settings for literal spaceship battles. Or, perhaps it was a bot campaign to downvote the trailer, opening the door for inspired fans to dogpile on?

Considering the similar (?) war game Battlefield 1 had its trailer release days later on May 6, eventually reaching 32,443,762 views and 1,647,159 "likes" and only 29,497 "dislikes," the possibility of automated down-voting is likely.

That is not the point though to be made today though. The point is this video from last year's Call of Duty game, Black Ops III, which I captured earlier this week: 

Black Ops III grossed $550 million within three days of its release on November 6, 2015. It was financially successful. It's difficult to parse how many copies of the game sold during that time, considering the separate SKUs available at launch, but the point is that NOBODY in the "gaming world," meaning, the people who read Kotaku, Polygon, IGN, Gamespot, Giant Bomb, Destructoid, and etc. on a daily basis, have made any mention of how strange Black Ops III becomes partway into its campaign.

There were no think-pieces written. There were no comments from the "gaming community" on how odd the presentation was, what a deviation from Call of Duty formula it was, or how they made gentle nods to Inception, Jacob's Ladder, and Ghost in the Shell with its premise and content.

In a freaking Call of Duty game! In what is perhaps THE most-viewed form of entertainment each year.

Which returns us to the Infinite Warfare trailer and all of its "dislike." Does it matter? No, it doesn't matter. Because Call of Duty is one of the only video games that is bigger than YouTube. It's bigger than social media. It's bigger than self-identifying game fans tapping one another on the shoulder with a wink and a nudge to downvote something, demonstrating their unified front.


A united front against what? Call of Duty isn't for hardcore game fans. It's for everyone. It's east coast, west coast, middle-America, international, and evergreen. Activision doesn't make many games anymore, so they make one really big game in CoD, and they sell it to the tune of half a billion dollars each year, not counting additional revenue from DLC packs. The DLC must be a worthy investment for them, because it continues to exist.

And yet, it's staggering how complex and esoteric the game's presentations have become in recent years, but before that thought is abandoned, recall how much money Inception made, how excited people are about Doctor Strange, and frankly, how dorky consumer entertainment has become.

After watching the Infinite Warfare trailer, I tweeted that its space colonists versus earthlings plot looks ripped straight from Mobile Suit Gundam, the 1979 anime progenitor and cradle of fantasy fandom for millions.

-- Alex Crumb
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