- Related Games:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Ever since the glory days of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, PC gamers have been at odds with the semi-annual, primarily console-based shooter that is Call of Duty, and Black Ops III seems to be no exception.
The beta is already at a “mostly negative” rating on Steam, (for comparison, the almost completely busted Batman: Arkham Knight is at a “mixed” rating), with more than 2000 reviews and counting. The positive reviews in this section are mostly jokes, i.e. “Uninstall button worked just fine … 10/10.”
Even Advanced Warfare, Call of Duty’s best-reviewed entry since Modern Warfare 2, is at a “mixed.”
Now, Treyarch and Activision will be just fine without the love and adoration of the PC market. By all accounts, Call of Duty games sell the fewest number copies on PC, but one has to wonder why these two factions can’t get along. The series began on PC, after all, but has since been most commonly associated with consoles, specifically Xbox gamers.
The expectation of 60 fps 1080p certainly has something to do with it. Reading through the Steam complaints, pushing past the non-specific hatred, complaints of poor optimization come through. But a slightly slower frame rate often doesn’t correlate to this level of dislike. ARK: Survival Evolved, the game that made the most recent splash in the Early Access market, for example, had a nearly unplayable frame rate when it opened to the public, but reviews were and are “mostly positive.”
The most common complaint: “just another Call of Duty.” Steam users have almost the whole world at their fingertips in terms of gaming. The demand for new, fresh ideas is higher than that of other platforms, whose gamers wait months for the next big exclusive. There are several examples of games that are only available on one major console, but are also available on PC, meaning Steam users have their pick of the litter.
The sheer number of options leaves PC gamers wondering why they should bother with another FPS in the same universe that many argue has changed only marginally between $60 releases. Of course, Call of Duty supporters would point to the changes they’ve made, such as Exo, as huge alterations worthy of a whole other game, and there’s an argument to be had there.
To better solve the mystery, it’s relevant to examine what PC gamers like. The game that is easily the most popular PC game on Steam is Dota 2. Valve’s record-breaking MOBA routinely has huge balance patches and adds multiple characters, and they recently re-did the entire map. Like the game, itself, this was completely free, and each alteration didn’t market itself as Dota 3, 4 or 5.
Looking at the full catalog of most popular games on the PC platform, it becomes clear that PC gamers in general prefer high value, high replayability titles. These titles include League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. Call of Duty just doesn't fit in.
Never mind that there is perhaps no other market that is more cognizant of predatory DLC practices than that of PC gamers, and Call of Duty is famous for starting the “3 maps for $9.99” package.
There doesn’t seem to be much common ground between these two sides, with no hope on the horizon. It seems PC gamers will always see Call of Duty as the plebeian’s meat of gaming, a flavor that has grown far too familiar to be enticing, and Call of Duty fans will see PC gamers as stuck up yum-yuckers – a fatalist view for two sides that, for one reason or another, just can’t get along.