Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best-selling games in history. No doubts in the figures. Call of Duty: World at War is also one of the best-selling games in history. Wait, what? No it isn’t, right? It’s not.
Apart from the fact that the two games were made by different developers, the main reason, in my opinion, why CoD: MW2 was huge hit compared to CoD: WaW – which was anything but “another game in the franchise” – is because CoD: MW2 didn’t have a BETA. No, I’m not kidding. With WaW’s beta, all gamers knew how mediocre the game was and many decided not to buy it. The fact that those who did buy the game loved the Nazi zombie mode is a given, but WaW’s sales figures are nothing compared to MW2’s.
MW2 was a money-spinning game for Infinity Ward and Activision because it didn’t have a Beta! After Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, gamers expected its successor to be another stellar game reaching new heights in terms of gameplay and story telling (which in one way, it did). Almost everyone pre-ordered the game and on day one, the game sold 4.7 million units (only in the US and UK) making $310 million. Whether or not the sales justified the game’s actual quality (apart from the short Singleplayer campaign) is another matter, but I suspect Treyarch is playing the same trick Infinity Ward played – don’t offer a beta, and get everyone to buy the game. This trick sure as hell worked with MW2, didn’t it? Sure, once MW2 released, almost everyone – even diehard fans of the series – complained about the game’s lack of balance in weapons and the bizarre perks. Immediately, all over YouTube you could see MW2 glitch videos raking in view counts by the millions, and these spread like wildfire among the gaming community. But did it stop Infinity Ward and Activision from making money? Heck, no. Strangely, the gameplay-glitches got even more people to buy it. All that Infinity Ward had to do was to release patches which fixed the glitches and continually improve the gameplay to what it should have been like on day one. So my point is that Treyarch hasn’t released a beta for Black Ops (and as of yet, has no plans to) because they don’t want people not buying the game.