What’s More Important? The Brand? Or The Developer?


I like to spend most days reading about what goes on in the games industry, when of course I’m not either busy playing games or my family taking up much of my time. I guess you like to do the same hence you’re here reading this.

However, there was an article posted on CVG (source below) which has quoted Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz talking about the COD: Black Ops launch: “We believe the title’s strong start validates our view that the Call of Duty franchise brand has become more important than the studio behind any individual title, increasing our conviction that Call of Duty can be successful again in 2011 despite the personnel departures from developer Infinity Ward earlier this year.”

My first reaction was that this was a very ignorant comment. How can you state that the brand of the game is more important than the developer? OK – take a breather, step back and have a think on what is being said. Right, I’ve had a think and you know what I think he might be right.

I’m not one to select between developer or game due to politics in the games industry, but this is the norm. It happens regularly. Where does it happen I hear you say? You all do listen to music don’t you? Soundtracks on a game? You can’t miss OST for movies?

Yes, that’s right – who is bigger? The sound engineer that made the music or the artist that performs on the music track? I like to create debates with my post, and I like to see how readers react. But Doug is right – people recognise the brand first, and if they’re knowledgeable – then the developer.

Let me know of your thoughts. I’d like to see what you think.

Via CVG


Written by: Madagasca - News Contributor


  1. #1 by L/L on November 11th, 2010 [ 4782 Points ]

    Marketing is a huge part of the gaming industry’s business model. For the vast majority it’s what succeeds in grabbing their attention that dictates what they buy. There is always a selling point that is being pushed, either a well known brand, developer with high profile game affiliations, but they all had to have started somewhere.

  2. #2 by FrenchK on November 11th, 2010 [ 325 Points ]

    My POV :
    Gamer’s will stick to a brand, unless the change in developer really decreased the quality of the product, in which case the next title would definitely be less popular.

    Did i buy COD ? Yes, am i looking forward to infinity Ward’s next game ? Definitely.

  3. #3 by derrickgott007 on November 11th, 2010 [ 871 Points ]

    It all boils down to the developer. Case in point was ATV offroad fury was made by Rainbow Studios at first, then it switched over to Climax being the developers for ATV offroad fury’s 3 till present.

    You could tell a giant difference in the game. The physics were different and so was graphic style. So I learned fast that it all lays in the hands of the developer.

  4. #4 by Cazamalos on November 11th, 2010 [ 94 Points ]

    the developer, look how tony hawk and guitar hero did after their creators left

    but also you don’t necessary have to keep the whole studio, sometimes they are just a group of key people that do the important creative work, those are the one you don’t want to miss

  5. #5 by Oly on November 11th, 2010 [ 131925 Points ]

    I say it’s way more about the Brand than the developer. Most gamers don’t know or even care who developed the game.

    “Activision does all the COD games, they never had a different developer!”

    I’d bet money most people have no clue about developer/publisher differences.

  6. #6 by sirsquirrelly on November 11th, 2010 [ 345 Points ]

    I think it’s developer related. Each developer is different and has different quirks. But Black Ops is a special case this time I do believe. There was so much hate and anger directed towards the nube toob/OMA infestation the game became. With the boosting and all the glitches in the game people really started to hate it to the point of destroying their copies. Black Ops HAD to be better and that’s what people wanted and were going to say whether it was better or not. I personally believe Black Ops could have sucked huge and everyone still would have loved it cause of the game they just left.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. #7 by EdEN on November 11th, 2010 [ 136079 Points ]

    Well, if a developer going somewhere else means the end of the brand then the brand is more important in the end.

  8. #8 by Darrin on November 11th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    For Call of Duty, a big draw is the multiplayer community. Many peer groups in the US have adopted CoD as *the* standard multiplayer shooter that everyone plays together, so it’s understandable that individuals are reluctant to switch.

    For something like Guitar Hero & Rock Band, almost all the enthusiast gamers prefer Rock Band, because it has more innovation and higher quality, but most mainstream gamers stick with Guitar Hero because the brand is more recognizable and the games are close enough to the same thing.

  9. #9 by xDeFcoN_2FasT4Ux on November 11th, 2010 [ 2160 Points ]

    I say that it is the developer becasue, they come up with the game. Expecially if you are the originator. For example Halo was created by Bungie. and they were on it for a decade. Now that they have said that they are done with Halo, a new developer will take the challenge, they will try new stuff, the things will disapoinnt fans and or make them happy. Developers who started halo were good then they went to far and made the game worse then good then bad again good bad so on. Now look at DMC the reboot is being done by new ppl who scraped dantes look and made it new, no one likes the new dante. Ppl loved teh original developers for the game it was, now that its is being done by some1 else then ppl hate the game, bc its ruined. Just my opinion. IDK where i was goin witht his since im still hihg and yet im confused at times, but to me both are important, But if a new developer takes ove then it most of the time kills the game.

  10. #10 by Luke on November 11th, 2010

    @XDeFcoN_2FasT4Ux I don’t care what anyone says you keep posting. Reading your take only to come across “IDK where I am going with this because I am still high…” is just classic.

    HAHAHHAHAH

  11. #11 by Legion213 on November 12th, 2010 [ 675 Points ]

    I think developers are more important than the title. While this may not be true for the majority. Everyone who bought Black Ops is now realizing that developers make the game (Double entendre). COD is the perfect example. You know the quality you will get when you play a Infinity Ward COD title. Then when Treyarch releases their COD game. You can expect that it will not be at the same caliber as the Infinity Ward game. They are now wising up and figured out that trying to copy IW is the way to go. But it’s still doesn’t feel like the same game.

    Quality comes from the developers. But not just the developers name. It’s the individual teams. If you bring in someone new, the player can tell the difference if they are followers of the title or developer.

  12. #12 by Eddie on November 12th, 2010 [ 44542 Points ]

    Its a case by case basis. Certain games sell despite who develops them. Call of Duty is a classic case of brand over developer. Despite everyones undying love for Infinity Ward and how Activsion did them dirty and despite the plague ridden Black Ops, the game is still selling more then MW2 did looking at first day sales.

  13. #13 by Madagasca on November 12th, 2010 [ 6529 Points ]

    Wow, what a response to my article!

    The topic being discussed here has mainly come to light espcially with the way Infinity Ward were treated and the success that became CoD.

    Even though I’m not pointing fingers – every comment has more or less mentioned the two. I played Black Ops (didn’t buy it of course – had a quick go on a friends) and I wasn’t that impressed.

    It felt more like Treyarch trying to be IW’s replacements. Although I’m not trying to take anything away from the game, the game itself showed no major improvements – except some new modes which I must say are creative.

  14. #14 by EdEN on November 12th, 2010 [ 136079 Points ]

    Is Infinity Ward being involved “necessary” for the CoD franchise to be fun? No. MW2 is highly overrated and to me it was a very boring single and multiplayer game. Had more fun with the last entry which coincidentally was developed by the same guys that did Black Ops.

  15. #15 by Darrin on November 12th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    If someone tells you that his boss “did him dirty” and was a real jerk, and quit, it’s hard to say who was really right. It’s ridiculous to assume that Infinity Ward was the good guy and Activision was the bad guy for the same reason. Most people here just have the mindsight that developers are good guys and publishers are bad guys. Realistically, none of us were in a position to make an educated or fair judgement on that.

    Treyarch isn’t terrible. I know serious Call of Duty buffs who can name lots of little things they think World at War did better than Modern Warfare. Most agree that Infinity Ward generally made the higher quality games, but Treyarch has some talent too, and people really enjoyed their games.

  16. #16 by Legion213 on November 12th, 2010 [ 675 Points ]

    You know when you pick up an electronic and sometimes it feels really plasticy and cheap?
    That how Block Ops felt to me. I played it on PC and it just felt really cheap. The graphics are not consistent. Some places in the environment it looks like a FPS that came out in the 90′s. The guns have no “weight” to them. I was firing a gatling gun and moving it around like I would a pistol. Which just doesn’t feel right. The part when you break out of prison and all you have is a knife really let me down. This was a part of the game where they could have really shown some cinematic melee kills and all you get is a quick slash and the guy drops. Then there is the shooting. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m even hitting the guy or if the bullet isn’t registering because they have no reaction when being hit until they die. Since I think they die in 1 shot. I’m going chalk this one up to bullets not registering.

    @Eddie
    I think the reason Black Ops is selling so well, is due to how well received MW 1 and 2 were. Plus the fact that the game looks really good in the trailers. But they made the game to simulate Modern Warfare. So people thought they would be getting the same experience when they bought it. Which is simular, but it is not the same.


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