Friday, April 18, 2008

COD4 Variety Pack Goes Platinum

Infinity Ward are the Kings of the World. Not only has Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare been the number one game on Xbox Live for essentially all of 2008, but it now has the honor of having the most downloaded premium content pack ever.

In its first 9 days, the Variety Map Pack was downloaded over 1 million times. Considering Infinity Ward recently claimed that the game has 1.3 million people playing the game every single day (on Live alone), that's an incredible tie-ratio.

They even managed to get me to buy the damn thing and I am usually repulsed by premium maps.

You know what though? Infinity Ward did it right. The maps are seamlessly integrated into existing playlists as you are simply matched up with other players who have them. People without the maps will be matched up with those who don't have them. It takes no longer to get a game going then it did before.

In Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2, players are automatically booted from a server if a host loads up a map they don't have. In Halo 3, the months old Heroic Map Pack was only just added to regular playlists, now that the new 3-map pack is out. And that pack won't be added to playlists until sometime in July. Who wants to pay $10 for new maps when it's just a huge hassle to play them? Either make the maps free or implement them into the game in a way that people who do pay for them actually get to play them as if they had been included with the game to begin with. IW is the first developer to pull off the latter.

Ubisoft and Bungie could both learn a lesson from IW's integration of the maps as it has no doubt played a big part in their success. I'd love to see how many Heroic Map Packs Microsoft actually sold, because there was certainly never any major announcement about it hitting any kind of sales milestone. Releasing only 3 new maps was a mistake too. When Halo 2 had a 9 map pack a few years ago for $20 it's hard to justify a 3 map pack for $10. Microsoft got too greedy and it bit them in their ass.

I don't think it's a coincidence that COD4 didn't start topping Halo 3 on the Live charts until right after the Heroic Map Pack hit. Logic would dictate that a new map pack would renew interest in Halo 3, but the opposite happened.

[via CVG]

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