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Angels of Death

I don't get the idea of Blueprints?

Blueprints are just really a gun with certain attachments on it. So, if I did not unlock a blueprint, but I look up that same blueprint on Google to see what it involes, then go in game and put those same attachments on the gun....isn't that the same thing?

I get that with the Blueprint you can get those attachments unlocked early if you haven't progressed that gun but progressing a gun is something that can be done rather quickly in MP small maps.
 

Angels of Death

Carlos

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Blueprints are just really a gun with certain attachments on it. So, if I did not unlock a blueprint, but I look up that same blueprint on Google to see what it involes, then go in game and put those same attachments on the gun....isn't that the same thing?

I get that with the Blueprint you can get those attachments unlocked early if you haven't progressed that gun but progressing a gun is something that can be done rather quickly in MP small maps.
Yes, we've known this since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's launch. The thing is, it's meant for newbies who don't know better. Blueprints are cool, but you can get the same attachments/upgrades (perks/attributes), if you just grind for it. The only thing that Blueprints are good for is the cosmetic design. Nothing else.
 

CMCFLYYY

Recruit
I get that with the Blueprint you can get those attachments unlocked early if you haven't progressed that gun but progressing a gun is something that can be done rather quickly in MP small maps.
This is what they're there for. And for people who just have to spend real money to buy fake gun skins in a video game. But make no mistake, selling Blueprints is their #1 priority.
 
Yes, we've known this since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's launch. The thing is, it's meant for newbies who don't know better. Blueprints are cool, but you can get the same attachments/upgrades (perks/attributes), if you just grind for it. The only thing that Blueprints are good for is the cosmetic design. Nothing else.
Cool, thought so....just checking.

This is what they're there for. And for people who just have to spend real money to buy fake gun skins in a video game. But make no mistake, selling Blueprints is their #1 priority.
For real, you can say that again. I wonder what they are going to do with the extra billions they make off of micro-transactions? Oh well, this is what happens when 99% of the people in the world have no respect for money whatsoever.
 

Carlos

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Cool, thought so....just checking.


For real, you can say that again. I wonder what they are going to do with the extra billions they make off of micro-transactions? Oh well, this is what happens when 99% of the people in the world have no respect for money whatsoever.
The money goes back into their the development of their studios' new games. It's this neverending cycle of new game development.

The next title is presumably Call of Duty: Black Ops. It goes by many names but it's got the Black Ops branding.
 

CMCFLYYY

Recruit
The money goes back into their the development of their studios' new games. It's this neverending cycle of new game development.

The next title is presumably Call of Duty: Black Ops. It goes by many names but it's got the Black Ops branding.
This is decidedly not the reason. The money goes into the devs pockets because loot crates and skins are ways A and B to squeezing the most money out of a game. Games used to come all on one cartridge/disc, no DLC or add-ons required to enjoy the full game, with [hopefully] all bugs ironed out in beta testing before launch, for a single price of like what $50? Now games have realized you can charge less (or even make the game free!) and make up the difference AND more via microtransactions and other cosmetic sales.

This is capitalism at its worst. Absolutely nobody needs 913 different gun skins. What we want is the damn bugs ironed out, the audio fixed, matchmaking cleaned up, weapons properly balanced, and new actual weapons and maps. You know, gameplay features. This is why we paid $60 for the game - not so they'd keep rolling out 50 gun skins per "season". Don't even get me started on Tracer rounds and how cartoonish those look. This game is borderlining on Fortnite more and more.
 
This is decidedly not the reason. The money goes into the devs pockets because loot crates and skins are ways A and B to squeezing the most money out of a game. Games used to come all on one cartridge/disc, no DLC or add-ons required to enjoy the full game, with [hopefully] all bugs ironed out in beta testing before launch, for a single price of like what $50? Now games have realized you can charge less (or even make the game free!) and make up the difference AND more via microtransactions and other cosmetic sales.

This is capitalism at its worst. Absolutely nobody needs 913 different gun skins. What we want is the damn bugs ironed out, the audio fixed, matchmaking cleaned up, weapons properly balanced, and new actual weapons and maps. You know, gameplay features. This is why we paid $60 for the game - not so they'd keep rolling out 50 gun skins per "season". Don't even get me started on Tracer rounds and how cartoonish those look. This game is borderlining on Fortnite more and more.
100% agree. I couldn't believe those Tracer Rounds either. I literally thought to myself...WTF?
 

Carlos

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This is decidedly not the reason. The money goes into the devs pockets because loot crates and skins are ways A and B to squeezing the most money out of a game. Games used to come all on one cartridge/disc, no DLC or add-ons required to enjoy the full game, with [hopefully] all bugs ironed out in beta testing before launch, for a single price of like what $50? Now games have realized you can charge less (or even make the game free!) and make up the difference AND more via microtransactions and other cosmetic sales.

This is capitalism at its worst. Absolutely nobody needs 913 different gun skins. What we want is the damn bugs ironed out, the audio fixed, matchmaking cleaned up, weapons properly balanced, and new actual weapons and maps. You know, gameplay features. This is why we paid $60 for the game - not so they'd keep rolling out 50 gun skins per "season". Don't even get me started on Tracer rounds and how cartoonish those look. This game is borderlining on Fortnite more and more.
How much money do you think development of a game cost? Answer me that, honestly. I know the answer from the back of my head.

I'm gonna let you type the answer.
 
How much money do you think development of a game cost? Answer me that, honestly. I know the answer from the back of my head.

I'm gonna let you type the answer.
I remember seeing a report that they made over a billion in microtransactions in just one year. That's all basically free money because they never saw money like that in the pre-micro days and still had great sales. I don't know about COD but I heard rumors it costs over 300 million to make GTA V. They saw a profit on the first day of sales too!
 

Carlos

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I remember seeing a report that they made over a billion in microtransactions in just one year. That's all basically free money because they never saw money like that in the pre-micro days and still had great sales. I don't know about COD but I heard rumors it costs over 300 million to make GTA V. They saw a profit on the first day of sales too!
I'll talk about some of that when @CMCFLYYY replies. You're right in some respects, but wrong in others. But I'll come back to this.
 

CMCFLYYY

Recruit
How much money do you think development of a game cost? Answer me that, honestly. I know the answer from the back of my head.

I'm gonna let you type the answer.
A quick google says the game costs roughly $50m to make, and then they spend another $200m on "marketing and launch", which tells you all you need to know already about where their true priorities are.

Then I found an article from 2015 that said both MW3 and Black Ops made $1.2b, and that was BEFORE the era where games pump out 100s of gun skins. Per an article from Forbes in May, CoD just publish sales figures anymore and with the introduction of free-to-play it's harder to quantify "sales" anyway. But Activision announced in December they had already made $1b in sales on the game, and then made nearly $1b IN MICROTRANSACTIONS ALONE IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2020. After making $750k in 2019 Q4.

This is why loot crates have to be banned, because for some reason people just CANNOT AVOID buying fake gun skins for a video game. One billion dollars a quarter in microtransactions.

So I'll let you die on that hill where you think a game that made $1b in sales and ~$750m in microtransactions a quarter is just :funding development" of the next $250m game. By that rate, they just funded the next 14 CoDs if they stopped selling everything today. These features exist because people can't avoid not spending money on them and it lines the devs pockets. This franchise is a money printer for them.

Meant to say "CoD doesn't* published sales figures anymore".

Meant to say "CoD doesn't* published sales figures anymore".
LOLOL am I drunk this morning? Doesn't published lmao
 

Carlos

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I'm going to start right here...
So I'll let you die on that hill where you think a game that made $1b in sales and ~$750m in microtransactions a quarter is just :funding development" of the next $250m game. By that rate, they just funded the next 14 CoDs if they stopped selling everything today. These features exist because people can't avoid not spending money on them and it lines the devs pockets. This franchise is a money printer for them.
I thought I told you to watch how you talk to me. I told you to rethink how you talk to me. I'm going to explain something to you: I'm a nice guy. I am very, very lenient. Now, I like that you are a long-time member, and contributing to the site with your insightful posts. Bravo. My main issue with you as of right now, is you are becoming more, and more of a pain in the ass not just to me, but to everyone else. I was just in a thread and I saw you arguing with another member about aimbots. So, I'm going to dole out a warning to you right here, right now: Cool it.

Now, that out of the way: I'm what you consider a "game journalist" (yes, a dying breed at the moment), I look at articles, and write them out. I went into deep dives with Activision's financials, and sales in the past. Each title in Call of Duty, since COD4: Modern Warfare sold at an average of 20 Million units worldwide.

This is what I wrote back in 2011:

COD4: Modern Warfare – 17 million units.
COD: World at War – 11 million units.
COD: Modern Warfare 2 – 20 million units.
COD: Black Ops – 18 million units.

That's where the $100 Million Marketing (per year) budget goes.
A quick google says the game costs roughly $50m to make, and then they spend another $200m on "marketing and launch", which tells you all you need to know already about where their true priorities are.
The other $100 Million goes to... Online servers. Yeah. The very thing that you complain about every year. Don't believe me? This is what I wrote a while ago.

Here's MW3 records, Black Ops 3 records. Pay attention, there's a reason why I'm posting these links.

MW3 moved $400 Million for the weekend, BO3 by contrast did $500M for the same time period. This is before microtransactions were as prevalent as it is now. I'll come back to the BO3 thing soon. At this point, the model has always been: One developer develops a game, the next one in the rotation is released. Look above this post: COD4: Modern Warfare, World at War, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops. Notice anything? Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Treyarch.

All that money goes into both studios, the marketing for both games, and the servers for both games. Which I explain servers ain't cheap.

If you add it up: $250 Million for two studios alone (since you admit that, that's how much Activision spends every year), is $500 Million. Now, Investors pay out this money to them, but they're expecting 10x the revenue. Modern Warfare 2 was cheap to develop, so their profit margin was 1:5 ratio. But the revenue does not go anywhere else other than corporate issues at the time: They were facing a lawsuit with Vince Zampella and his now-Respawn colleagues. I just explained servers, publishing a game is both cheap, but also expensive, game development is expensive no matter how you spin it. Every employee on payroll is $100,000 a year. [Rockstar says so.]
Then I found an article from 2015 that said both MW3 and Black Ops made $1.2b, and that was BEFORE the era where games pump out 100s of gun skins. Per an article from Forbes in May, CoD just publish sales figures anymore and with the introduction of free-to-play it's harder to quantify "sales" anyway. But Activision announced in December they had already made $1b in sales on the game, and then made nearly $1b IN MICROTRANSACTIONS ALONE IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2020. After making $750k in 2019 Q4.
Right, but Activision isn't one "company." There's a holding company called "Activision Blizzard," and pay attention to that name: Activision Blizzard. Activision itself focuses on Call of Duty, Skylanders, Sekiro, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Blizzard is a different beast. They have Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, and more. Those are just from the top of my head.

That's Billions of dollars going in, and out. Repeat after me: "Money going in, and out." Yeah, there are exorbitant executive bonuses, but to counter that, Bobby Kotick recently gave lifeboats to employees hit by COVID19.
This is why loot crates have to be banned, because for some reason people just CANNOT AVOID buying fake gun skins for a video game. One billion dollars a quarter in microtransactions.
That's not why lootcrates are banned. They're banned because Electronic Arts plastered lootcraes all over the place, and are even transparent about targeting kids with these lootcrates.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJlWr5Ss0Cw

*spits out alcohol and laughs his ass off*
I remember seeing a report that they made over a billion in microtransactions in just one year. That's all basically free money because they never saw money like that in the pre-micro days and still had great sales. I don't know about COD but I heard rumors it costs over 300 million to make GTA V. They saw a profit on the first day of sales too!
I'll strikethrough the first part, since I already explained this. GTAV was $50 Million to develop. But, the rest went to marketing/multiconsole development (originally launched on PS3/Xbox 360 > ported to PS4/Xbox One > now being ported to PS5), and other bills. But the thing is this, we're talking about two different beasts between COD and GTA. GTA is an open-world game with its own semi-open-world multiplayer mode.

You're right in your quote, but off by $40/$50Mill.

Here is the list of most expensive games ever made. Learn it.
 

CMCFLYYY

Recruit
I thought I told you to watch how you talk to me. I told you to rethink how you talk to me. I'm going to explain something to you: I'm a nice guy. I am very, very lenient. Now, I like that you are a long-time member, and contributing to the site with your insightful posts. Bravo. My main issue with you as of right now, is you are becoming more, and more of a pain in the ass not just to me, but to everyone else. I was just in a thread and I saw you arguing with another member about aimbots. So, I'm going to dole out a warning to you right here, right now: Cool it.
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Absolutely nothing I said in that post was disrespectful. Saying "I disagree" with OP is not "arguing" nor "being a pain in the ass". It is called having an opinion, which I very respectfully presented and then restrained myself from responding to the OP who was shouting in all caps that he was right and I was wrong.

The other $100 Million goes to... Online servers. Yeah. The very thing that you complain about every year. Don't believe me? This is what I wrote a while ago.
Okay, so throw another $100m onto my $250m estimate for development and marketing. That's...$350m in expense to develop, market, launch, and maintain the servers.

At this point, the model has always been: One developer develops a game, the next one in the rotation is released. Look above this post: COD4: Modern Warfare, World at War, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops. Notice anything? Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Treyarch. All that money goes into both studios, the marketing for both games, and the servers for both games. Which I explain servers ain't cheap. If you add it up: $250 Million for two studios alone (since you admit that, that's how much Activision spends every year), is $500 Million.
That is not how this works. The cost is $250m to develop and market 1 game, but as you described they are developing 2 at a time because they are on 2-year development and release cycles. But that means they are spending that $250m over a 2 year period. So yes they are spending $500m total, over 2 years, to develop and market/launch 2 games. So if you're counting the production expense for 2 games you would also have to count the revenue streams from both games.

Now, Investors pay out this money to them, but they're expecting 10x the revenue. Modern Warfare 2 was cheap to develop, so their profit margin was 1:5 ratio. But the revenue does not go anywhere else other than corporate issues at the time: They were facing a lawsuit with Vince Zampella and his now-Respawn colleagues. I just explained servers, publishing a game is both cheap, but also expensive, game development is expensive no matter how you spin it. Every employee on payroll is $100,000 a year. [Rockstar says so.]
The Respawn lawsuit settlement required Activision to pay $42m in royalties owed to former employees, which they said "The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter. " AKA they weren't even going to report it on their financial statements because they quote-unquote "made too much money that quarter". Plus not only is this lawsuit from 2012, but for a game currently making >$1b in sales and >$750k quarterly on microtransactions, $42m is a drop in the bucket.

Right, but Activision isn't one "company." There's a holding company called "Activision Blizzard," and pay attention to that name: Activision Blizzard. Activision itself focuses on Call of Duty, Skylanders, Sekiro, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Blizzard is a different beast. They have Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, and more. Those are just from the top of my head. That's Billions of dollars going in, and out. Repeat after me: "Money going in, and out."
Yes and everyone of those games made money. World of Warcraft made $285m in 2020 1Q. I won't even bother looking into the others, but they all obviously made Activision more than it cost to upkeep them or they'd have discontinued the product by now.

That's not why lootcrates are banned. They're banned because Electronic Arts plastered lootcraes all over the place, and are even transparent about targeting kids with these lootcrates.
That's...exactly what I said. Lootcrates are thinly disguised gambling targeted at idiots who get addicted to playing the lottery. Paying real money for fake gun skins in a video game is dumb enough already, but paying money to open a random crate which may or [vastly more likely] may not have what you want in it is just theft. I will never understand the need to pay for gun skins. New guns, maps - sure, those actually add new gameplay. But there are more sprays and emblems and gun/operator skins and tracer rounds than there is actual content in this game.

And to circle back after all that. If we assume a lowball quarterly average for microtransactions (starting at $1b for the first quarter, then decreasing by $250k each quarter as interest wanes before the new game releases) of $500k, $500k x4 is $2b plus the additional $1b+ they made on sales alone means Activision makes roughly $3b+ in revenue yearly on COD. Offset that with whatever expenses you want - they aren't spending anywhere close to that amount developing or maintaining any of these games.

And to throw in projections for the next game which they're currently developing, so we can get back on the 2-year development/release cycle. They will be spending, even at a high estimate of $500m, to each studio over a 2-year period to develop Modern Warfare and the next game. Modern Warfare will make that estimated $3b in 2019/2020, and the next game will then make a similar (but likely higher) $3b in 2020/2021. So that is $6b in revenue over 2 years matched with a generously estimated $1b in expenses. That is $5b in net income for Activision over 2 years from the CoD franchise alone. That money goes somewhere - shareholders, other games, executives - but not into developing any CoD games.

They aren't interested in further developing these games beyond what they currently spend because of diminishing returns - at this point they are [likely] gaining <$1 for every additional $1 they spend on further development/refinement. AKA they don't see enough extra revenue to justify spending more to develop/refine these games. They are at a development "sweet spot" - the game is "good enough" to appeal to the widest majority playerbase without pissing off too many people because they won't "go that extra step to perfect the game", and instead they'll crank out as many skins and other microtransactions to increase their revenue from their addicted playerbase to further increase revenue.
 

Carlos

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Oh, wtf, I pressed your edit button by accident. Whew. Anyhow. That post was good. Okay, I'll admit that. Nice.
View attachment 1130
Absolutely nothing I said in that post was disrespectful. Saying "I disagree" with OP is not "arguing" nor "being a pain in the ass". It is called having an opinion, which I very respectfully presented and then restrained myself from responding to the OP who was shouting in all caps that he was right and I was wrong.
Well, he was trying to explain something to you, and you're like "no, this and that." You should've known that what he's talking about is the aimbot bullcrap that's going on. Hacking in Warzone is far from over. It's not even disputable. Everyone knows there's cheating, and it's still going.
Okay, so throw another $100m onto my $250m estimate for development and marketing. That's...$350m in expense to develop, market, launch, and maintain the servers.
I don't even know what you're trying to do here, but I'll go along with it. I feel like you're trying to update things just to end up right. Most "top 10" lists regarding game budgets don't even talk about the servers, just development and marketing budgets. However, we players can assume servers are lumped in.
That is not how this works. The cost is $250m to develop and market 1 game, but as you described they are developing 2 at a time because they are on 2-year development and release cycles. But that means they are spending that $250m over a 2 year period. So yes they are spending $500m total, over 2 years, to develop and market/launch 2 games. So if you're counting the production expense for 2 games you would also have to count the revenue streams from both games.
No, it is how it works. If you look at the list of the most expensive games ever made, you'll realize most of the budgets are for the entirety of the game's development. For example, in 1997, Final Fantasy 7 was in a cycle where development typically takes 4 to 6 years. Keep in mind, this was after Square decided to shift development from Final Fantasy 64 (obviously for Ultra 64), to Final Fantasy 7. Oh, dumb Nintendo.

Dumb. Dumb. I can't get over that thing.

Destiny is the special case in that list, though. It's designed to be a live-service game. Bungie and Activision butt heads on the whole thing.
The Respawn lawsuit settlement required Activision to pay $42m in royalties owed to former employees, which they said "The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter. " AKA they weren't even going to report it on their financial statements because they quote-unquote "made too much money that quarter". Plus not only is this lawsuit from 2012, but for a game currently making >$1b in sales and >$750k quarterly on microtransactions, $42m is a drop in the bucket.
True. The point I was trying to convey to you is that operation of Modern Warfare 2 went over the budget for the game. Activision absorbed that extra cost. So, say you're a small startup, that $42m is a major error. Companies go bankrupt for this reason. Telltale Games just shut its doors last year, for mismanagement of licensing, royalties, and other development issues. They had too many film licenses, and sold their licensed games at a loss. Story-based games are cool, but their games are basically game novels. Batman Telltale game vs Rocksteady Batman games? Rocksteady won. Because you can't sell a "story novel" game, when Batman is known to be an action hero.

If you did the same for Call of Duty, Telltale Games would have sold less than the main Call of Duty titles.
Yes and everyone of those games made money. World of Warcraft made $285m in 2020 1Q. I won't even bother looking into the others, but they all obviously made Activision more than it cost to upkeep them or they'd have discontinued the product by now.
The thing you're not getting through your head, is you think Activision doesn't put money back into development of games. These games cost a lot of money to make. It's not like the 90's where development was just as easy as doing sprites, and make levels. I wish I was born in the years before Nintendo took over the industry, or I would have stepped in and made my own game. But it's not easy in this climate to just waltz in, make a game, and distribute it.

Thing is, Activision has more than just Call of Duty is my point. I just listed about 10 games they develop on a yearly basis. Warcraft with World of Warcraft is a live-service game. Diablo is a single player rogue-like game. Starcraft is a strategy game with multiplayer built-in. Call of Duty is a basic FPS title with multiplayer built-in, which is now transitioning into a live-service game. BO4 was a full-fledged live-service game. A poorly made live-service game, if I may add.
That's...exactly what I said.
No, not really. Activision's microtransaction model was not as egregious as Electronic Arts'. There was controversy around lootcrates in BO3/AW/BO4/IW, but those models were light. EA's Star Wars Battlefront II dangled microtransaction in your face every time you go to a menu. You want Master Yoda? $20, please. You want Darth Vadar? $20, please. You want to upgrade to the next level? $5, please. I didn't buy Battlefront II because of this. I realized this early in BETA. They were telling you exactly how they're planning to plaster DLC into your face during beta.

The thing about BO3/AW/BO4/IW's microtransactions, is that you can ignore it. You can opt not to buy those cosmetics, and go about your merry ways in Call of Duty, unlike Battlefront II, where you would have to GO to the actual store to upgrade your character or get new characters. It's right in your way if you want to upgrade your character.

The other thing is, to get those Call of Duty currencies in BO3/AW/BO4/IW, you also have a choice of grinding for that currency, rather than buying it straight up. That's the other difference.
 

CMCFLYYY

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Well, he was trying to explain something to you, and you're like "no, this and that." You should've known that what he's talking about is the aimbot bullcrap that's going on. Hacking in Warzone is far from over. It's not even disputable. Everyone knows there's cheating, and it's still going.
I actually legit thought he was complaining about aim assist, since he specifically is targeting console players with his post. For some reason PC players want to complain about aim-assist helping console players, while not admitting that using a mouse is easier/better than aiming with a joystick. If they turned off aim-assist, it would be a bloodbath in favor of PC players. I'm fine with aim-assist helping joystick users a bit if it helps level the playing field.

I don't even know what you're trying to do here, but I'll go along with it. I feel like you're trying to update things just to end up right. Most "top 10" lists regarding game budgets don't even talk about the servers, just development and marketing budgets. However, we players can assume servers are lumped in.
I was trying to add your estimate for ongoing server cost to the total expense for developing and maintaining the game. I thought from your post you were saying it took $100m a year to maintain dedicated servers, so I added that onto the prior estimate I saw for ~$250m development/marketing. That would make $350m to develop, market, launch, and maintain servers.

No, it is how it works. If you look at the list of the most expensive games ever made, you'll realize most of the budgets are for the entirety of the game's development. For example, in 1997, Final Fantasy 7 was in a cycle where development typically takes 4 to 6 years. Keep in mind, this was after Square decided to shift development from Final Fantasy 64 (obviously for Ultra 64), to Final Fantasy 7. Oh, dumb Nintendo.
I get that. What I'm saying is, you tried to say Activision is paying both IW and Treyarch $250m each to develop games, so that's $500m. And yes, that is $500m, but as you're saying they're paying out that $500m over the full development of those games (which is 2 years in this case), but they get to offset that $500m in expenses with revenues from both games. So we can either focus on what they pay 1 developer (IW) for 1 game and count the revenue and expenses from just that game, or we can do both. But if we do both we have to count the full projected revenue streams from both games.

True. The point I was trying to convey to you is that operation of Modern Warfare 2 went over the budget for the game. Activision absorbed that extra cost. So, say you're a small startup, that $42m is a major error. Companies go bankrupt for this reason.
Yes, they do. But small startups also don't rack up $42m in unpaid royalty expenses, which is why Activision got sued. The CoD franchise did so well yet they weren't paying proper royalties to some of the original programmers (or whatever they were). If a small startup hits it big (like with Pubg) then they can afford to pay the royalties, like Activision ended up having to. This problem only existed for Activision because their CoD games were so popular and making so much money, and then they refused to properly pay the employees that made them.

The thing you're not getting through your head, is you think Activision doesn't put money back into development of games. These games cost a lot of money to make. It's not like the 90's where development was just as easy as doing sprites, and make levels. I wish I was born in the years before Nintendo took over the industry, or I would have stepped in and made my own game. But it's not easy in this climate to just waltz in, make a game, and distribute it.
I get this too. That's why I said even if you over-estimated the cost for development, marketing, launch, and servers to $500m per game, these games still rake in an estimated $3b annually. That is at least a 5:1 profit margin after accounting for other random crap. At $500m estimated expenses, Modern Warfare revenue alone could afford to subsidize the development of the next 5 CoD games on its own. These are cash cows. That's why I've said stop pretending that they're investing all those profits back into the game - it's diminished returns at that point. If IW spent $2b (4x the expense) developing their next CoD game, the game would not rake in 4x the revenue, or $12b. You just simply won't make more money by investing more money at this point. Activision knows this - they're satisfied with the game as it currently sits. It rakes in cash hand over fist and they just keep drawing up new blueprints and skins to sell. Warzone is going to be a staple of the CoD franchise for like the next decade, and every season they'll be selling another umpteen number of skin designs.

No, not really. Activision's microtransaction model was not as egregious as Electronic Arts'. There was controversy around lootcrates in BO3/AW/BO4/IW, but those models were light. EA's Star Wars Battlefront II dangled microtransaction in your face every time you go to a menu. You want Master Yoda? $20, please. You want Darth Vadar? $20, please. You want to upgrade to the next level? $5, please. I didn't buy Battlefront II because of this. I realized this early in BETA. They were telling you exactly how they're planning to plaster DLC into your face during beta.
I am absolutely not disputing this. I used to play Madden and am well aware of EA's affinity for microtransactions. Selling skins are also not loot boxes - I come from Pubg, where mystery loot boxes were a thing for a long time while players complained. But that loot crate lottery brought in so much cash for that tiny dev as the game rode its meteoric rize up the active-players charts. And I'm not accusing Activision of pay-to-win or loot crating or anything. I was just associating the addiction of buying gun skins with the addiction of opening mystery crates - for some reason that I'll never understand, people want to spend way too much money on skins. But apparently they spent almost a billion dollars on it in 2020 Q1, which is just ridiculous IMO. But I guess to each their own, and I 100% know this practice isn't going away - why would it, with how much revenue it brings in.

The other thing is, to get those Call of Duty currencies in BO3/AW/BO4/IW, you also have a choice of grinding for that currency, rather than buying it straight up. That's the other difference.
I fully appreciate that Modern Warfare lets you unlock everything without paying (save for the skins and tracers). I paid $10 once for the Battlepass, and will never have to pay it again. I also started as a free-to-play PC Warzone-only player, and voluntarily spent $60 to have the full game so I could more easily level up guns and get some quick practice in before jumping into Warzone. I liked the Triple A polish they put on their BR Warzone mode enough to voluntarily give them $60 - I would've paid $60 for Warzone alone if there was promise to roll out more maps and guns post-launch.

----

My biggest complaint is, I realize they're at the point of diminishing returns. They're not going to dump a billion dollars into furthering the development and refinement of this game - it woudln't make fiscal sense for Activision to do so. I have like 20 ideas about how I'd like the game fixed/tweaked which IMO would improve how the game plays (again just looking at Warzone because that's really all I play), but they'll never happen because Activision simply doesn't care about improving the game. All they care about at this point is pumping out more blueprints and skins while focusing attention on building the next Warzone maps/guns for future games.
 

Carlos

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I actually legit thought he was complaining about aim assist, since he specifically is targeting console players with his post. For some reason PC players want to complain about aim-assist helping console players, while not admitting that using a mouse is easier/better than aiming with a joystick. If they turned off aim-assist, it would be a bloodbath in favor of PC players. I'm fine with aim-assist helping joystick users a bit if it helps level the playing field.
Both console players and PC players are cheating. Not just PC. I ...here. This is a video recorded a few days ago... On my own PS4...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlJpZHT7P1k

Aim-assist in console is not big of a problem that Aimbot is. Imagine this: You are aiming your weapon somewhere, and it snaps to your opponent without your moving joystick. It is very noticeable. Here, this is nadeshot, former CDL champion...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd1qlMUvLi4
I was trying to add your estimate for ongoing server cost to the total expense for developing and maintaining the game. I thought from your post you were saying it took $100m a year to maintain dedicated servers, so I added that onto the prior estimate I saw for ~$250m development/marketing. That would make $350m to develop, market, launch, and maintain servers.
Its widely known that Activision only spends $100Mill on advertising/marketing. So, the server costs would be inside the 2nd $100Mill.
I get that. What I'm saying is, you tried to say Activision is paying both IW and Treyarch $250m each to develop games, so that's $500m. And yes, that is $500m, but as you're saying they're paying out that $500m over the full development of those games (which is 2 years in this case), but they get to offset that $500m in expenses with revenues from both games. So we can either focus on what they pay 1 developer (IW) for 1 game and count the revenue and expenses from just that game, or we can do both. But if we do both we have to count the full projected revenue streams from both games.
The 2/3 year cycle requires up-front payment advance(s), so yes. Yes, Activision uses the cash-flow from microtransaction. Yes. Especially in COVID19 lockdown which would require employees to work from home.
I get this too. That's why I said even if you over-estimated the cost for development, marketing, launch, and servers to $500m per game, these games still rake in an estimated $3b annually. That is at least a 5:1 profit margin after accounting for other random crap. At $500m estimated expenses, Modern Warfare revenue alone could afford to subsidize the development of the next 5 CoD games on its own. These are cash cows. That's why I've said stop pretending that they're investing all those profits back into the game - it's diminished returns at that point. If IW spent $2b (4x the expense) developing their next CoD game, the game would not rake in 4x the revenue, or $12b. You just simply won't make more money by investing more money at this point. Activision knows this - they're satisfied with the game as it currently sits. It rakes in cash hand over fist and they just keep drawing up new blueprints and skins to sell. Warzone is going to be a staple of the CoD franchise for like the next decade, and every season they'll be selling another umpteen number of skin designs.
As I stated before, these 2/3 year development contracts need at least cash-advance payments. Corporations have to pay out bills, then employees. You're ignoring the fact that Activison manages 10 games a year, not just Call of Duty. $3B a year doesn't go to the executives. Only 2% of that money goes to executives. The big exemption is Bobby Kotick. Which is why investors are pissed off at Kotick, however, it's his company. It's his project, it's his baby. He's the one who took Activision from the small startup it was, to what it is today.

I still maintain that the money goes back into development. Even Rockstar is doing this. GTA6 could have been announced as soon as E3 2020 would've started. They have the money. They don't need marketing agreements anymore. But they chose to keep the Sony/Rockstar partnership going. There's a reason for this.

Let me put it another way so you understand. Ever wondered why Activision signed a multi-year contract with Microsoft during the height of Call of Duty? It's because, at the time, Call of Duty wasn't as big as it is now. All of those extra 10/20 Million players? Microsoft co-marketed the game. Sony is doing the same right now with Modern Warfare (2019), the difference is they don't need the money. Sony needs it more than Call of Duty needs it. So, Sony pays for the exclusivity rights, so more and more Call of Duty players prefers PlayStation. Activision gets the "cash-advance" for the project they're looking to develop.

Same thing is true with Destiny. Bungie needs Activision in this case, but Activision wanted a Star Wars-like game, or a Halo-like game. Whole thing blew up in their face. Sony co-marketed Destiny, by the way.

Same idea, same schtick.
I am absolutely not disputing this. I used to play Madden and am well aware of EA's affinity for microtransactions. Selling skins are also not loot boxes - I come from Pubg, where mystery loot boxes were a thing for a long time while players complained. But that loot crate lottery brought in so much cash for that tiny dev as the game rode its meteoric rize up the active-players charts. And I'm not accusing Activision of pay-to-win or loot crating or anything. I was just associating the addiction of buying gun skins with the addiction of opening mystery crates - for some reason that I'll never understand, people want to spend way too much money on skins. But apparently they spent almost a billion dollars on it in 2020 Q1, which is just ridiculous IMO. But I guess to each their own, and I 100% know this practice isn't going away - why would it, with how much revenue it brings in.
I agree. That's why I responded the way I did in this thread.
I fully appreciate that Modern Warfare lets you unlock everything without paying (save for the skins and tracers). I paid $10 once for the Battlepass, and will never have to pay it again. I also started as a free-to-play PC Warzone-only player, and voluntarily spent $60 to have the full game so I could more easily level up guns and get some quick practice in before jumping into Warzone. I liked the Triple A polish they put on their BR Warzone mode enough to voluntarily give them $60 - I would've paid $60 for Warzone alone if there was promise to roll out more maps and guns post-launch.
Pro-tip: Collect as much Call of Duty Points as possible until you reach 1000CP. Save it for next Season. You didn't hear it here. +Walks away whistling quietly+
My biggest complaint is, I realize they're at the point of diminishing returns. They're not going to dump a billion dollars into furthering the development and refinement of this game - it woudln't make fiscal sense for Activision to do so. I have like 20 ideas about how I'd like the game fixed/tweaked which IMO would improve how the game plays (again just looking at Warzone because that's really all I play), but they'll never happen because Activision simply doesn't care about improving the game. All they care about at this point is pumping out more blueprints and skins while focusing attention on building the next Warzone maps/guns for future games.
It makes fiscal sense. Economics of Activision relies on how much players are enjoying their games. Players not enjoying game = low word of mouth = low sales, if gameplay sucks = no microtransaction payments, if game doesn't have extensibility = word of mouth is low, conversion rates go down.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sold more copies = 30% more cash by fiscal's end, microtrasaction included. Warzone drops = 60 Million players, estimated 25 Million owns Modern Warfare, converts more player interactivity. Warzone also converts more Warzone owners into Modern Warfare players. So, it's the perfect storm.

By contrast, Infinite Warfare sold a lot of units, yes, but was a decline in microtransactions, decline in interactivity, decline in sales, etc. So, they move to the next project.
 
My biggest complaint is, I realize they're at the point of diminishing returns. They're not going to dump a billion dollars into furthering the development and refinement of this game - it woudln't make fiscal sense for Activision to do so. I have like 20 ideas about how I'd like the game fixed/tweaked which IMO would improve how the game plays (again just looking at Warzone because that's really all I play), but they'll never happen because Activision simply doesn't care about improving the game. All they care about at this point is pumping out more blueprints and skins while focusing attention on building the next Warzone maps/guns for future games.
I had an idea about a fix that would be pretty quick and probably help out a lot to combat aimbot/cheating. People using aimbot often are scoring incredible headshots. Why not just remove the headshot multiplier and make the whole body count for the same amount of damage, no matter where the body is hit? Yes, the aimbotters are still cheating but at least if we have a close encounter, I still stand a chance because his headshots count the same as my body shots. I don't know but just an idea. Or, the company could actually give a damn, support their product, and develop top notch anit-cheat systems. Can't believe in the year 2020 some 16 year old kid could develop cheats that shit all over an experienced developers code, lol.
 

Carlos

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I had an idea about a fix that would be pretty quick and probably help out a lot to combat aimbot/cheating. People using aimbot often are scoring incredible headshots. Why not just remove the headshot multiplier and make the whole body count for the same amount of damage, no matter where the body is hit? Yes, the aimbotters are still cheating but at least if we have a close encounter, I still stand a chance because his headshots count the same as my body shots. I don't know but just an idea. Or, the company could actually give a damn, support their product, and develop top notch anit-cheat systems. Can't believe in the year 2020 some 16 year old kid could develop cheats that shit all over an experienced developers code, lol.
The problem isn't the multiplier. Headshots has been a staple of Call of Duty for years. The issue is that the engine is still the old IW engine. I don't fucking care how many times Activision says "it's new engine." It's not. There wouldn't be this many cheats by launch or post-launch. The IW engine is based on the Quake 3 engine, so hacking/cheating/whatever game-breaking-mechanisms are available are easy to do.

Completely new engine... Activision. Every sense of the word.
 

CMCFLYYY

Recruit
The 2/3 year cycle requires up-front payment advance(s), so yes. Yes, Activision uses the cash-flow from microtransaction. Yes. Especially in COVID19 lockdown which would require employees to work from home.

As I stated before, these 2/3 year development contracts need at least cash-advance payments. Corporations have to pay out bills, then employees.
Sorry just getting back to this - had some things come up for work and then got busy after.

As an accountant for a large healthcare corporate who helps manage hospital IT deployment projects including captial and operating expenses, I can't fathom how Activision would have to pay up front cash payments for any services. That seems so backwards, and it's pretty much our policy to never enter into contracts that require up front or calendar-based payments (where you pay for services according to a set of calendar dates, regardless of how much progess is actualy made). Everything we do is milestone-based payments where vendors get paid for completing percentages of work and large milestone tasks.

But even so, cash payments made up front are still not recognized as expenses until the services are actually rendered. Prepaid expenses are classified as balance sheet assets so this doesn't affect their income statement earnings for that respective quarter.

And I still don't buy it - if these games are making $3b a year now with microtransaction sales then Activision is pocketing $2.5b minimum on each of these games. They aren't investing that all back into CoD games. The only way it makes sense is if CoD is literally subsidizing the rest of their games, almost like how college football programs make enough money to subsidize the rest of a university's sports programs that all lose money.

Also about the 1,000CP - I did that for this season. I bought the Battle Pass at the end of Season 3 and quickly finished it in like the last week, and it gave me Season 4 for free. I don't see a need to ever spend those points on anything else.

Side-note - just started leveling the MK2 today after finishing the AX-50. Is that thing a piece of junk or what.
 

Carlos

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Sorry just getting back to this - had some things come up for work and then got busy after.

As an accountant for a large healthcare corporate who helps manage hospital IT deployment projects including captial and operating expenses, I can't fathom how Activision would have to pay up front cash payments for any services. That seems so backwards, and it's pretty much our policy to never enter into contracts that require up front or calendar-based payments (where you pay for services according to a set of calendar dates, regardless of how much progess is actualy made). Everything we do is milestone-based payments where vendors get paid for completing percentages of work and large milestone tasks.
I don't mean "up-front" payments immediately to employees. I meant up-front as in "money available" for services rendered, avoiding the old Infinity Ward issue. You have to remember, the Respawn employees were withheld money before they finished MW2/3. MW2 shipped half-finished. Devs were replaced during MW3 development.
And I still don't buy it - if these games are making $3b a year now with microtransaction sales then Activision is pocketing $2.5b minimum on each of these games. They aren't investing that all back into CoD games. The only way it makes sense is if CoD is literally subsidizing the rest of their games, almost like how college football programs make enough money to subsidize the rest of a university's sports programs that all lose money.
What would these people do with all that billions, then? Did you know they own King? Did you know they own MLG? Did you know they want to get into films? Call of Duty film?
Also about the 1,000CP - I did that for this season. I bought the Battle Pass at the end of Season 3 and quickly finished it in like the last week, and it gave me Season 4 for free. I don't see a need to ever spend those points on anything else.
I never spent a dollar on the last 4 seasons. Wink, wink. I saved my old CP points from over the years, from there... all I had to do is collect CP points from inside the pass. Wink, wink. ;)
 
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