Let me give you a quick background on the individual who made the statement in the headline:
He’s been a friend of mine since elementary school and his gaming history is similar to mine. Although we went in different directions in our college years (I got more into RPGs while he gravitated toward shooters), we still played a variety of games, and we still saw eye-to-eye on many issues.
Anyway, we lost touch about five years ago. I ran into him about a week ago at a housewarming and we started catching up. Eventually, the topic turned to what games we were currently playing and when he mentioned his love of Call of Duty, he watched me especially closely.
He knew I was a games journalist and, obviously, he wondered if I’d just laugh in his face. Of course, I’d never do that but perhaps he had good reason to suspect…
“We’re easily the most hated fans in gaming history”
This comment followed hot on the heels of the one in the title, and he was clearly bitter about the subject. Remember, this is someone who began gaming with me back in the early ’80s, and his portfolio does include a wide array of games over the past 30 years. However, he has loved CoD since Modern Warfare and he claims that CoD has offered him the best multiplayer entertainment since that time.
Even so, despite being a fan of the most popular game franchise around, he has stopped posting on message boards online. He first tried defending one of his favorite franchises but that only resulted in a lot of hostility and immature behavior. He said he even received random death threats because he was someone who was “contributing to the decline of the video game industry.”
“They were disgusted that some crazy CoD fans sent death threats to Infinity Ward and yet, they still sent me death threats.”
Having covered games for a long time, I had to agree: I couldn’t recall a single group of fans who have received more flak than CoD followers.
“I never ran into this when I was playing Quake and Unreal Tournament…WTF happened?”
Clearly, he knew what had happened, but he was being darkly sarcastic. Call of Duty became such a phenomenon that many people started to hate it simply because it was a phenomenon. At the same time, my long-time friend acknowledges that CoD is responsible for further “mainstreaming” the industry, which has resulted in some unpopular trends. For instance, it can be argued that CoD helped pioneer the “annualization” approach to franchises.
However, is it really fair that just because someone likes Call of Duty, as they enjoyed shooters since the days of DOOM and Heretic, they should be hated? He made no bones about it and was quite blunt: “Yes, it seems like the instant I say I play CoD, everyone jumps up to call me an idiot.” This is why you won’t find him posting at any game community these days. He remembers with fondness when gamers didn’t have any trouble supporting Duke Nukem and Half-Life.
“Just leave me alone and go play what you want to play”
This is his summary and I can’t blame him. Over the years, we’ve seen countless negative headlines pertaining to Call of Duty. While I’ve come across some downright nasty fans, one can’t assume that the millions who have bought and played CoD on an annual basis are just dumb, trigger-happy morons who don’t play anything else.
After that party, I reflected that I too had often jumped to conclusions concerning CoD players. It’s difficult not to when faced with the rampant hatred that spreads like wildfire on the Internet. As such, I had to admit, I felt bad for him. Others should, too.
Disclaimer: Despite the relatively dark picture I’ve painted here, this guy isn’t going to go off and kill himself. He’s fine; he’s just a little bitter about the situation. He typically shrugs it off because after all, we have lives and responsibilities that require our attention. 😉