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Analysis of the Infinity Ward situation

March 2, 2010

Infinity Wardgate is the hot-button topic in gaming right now and in a recent analytical article, Gamepro spoke with a legal expert of the video game industry and a brand marketing expert to find out what effects this could have on Call of Duty.

Tom Buscaglia, the legal expert, said to Gamepro that insubordination (a term used in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Activision) is used as a last resort reason to let go of an employee because of its subjective nature.

If I see that [in a wrongful termination lawsuit], it’s usually complete bullshit, Buscaglia said in the interview.

What core gamers with an ear to the industry really want to know is how losing these two senior employees will affect the Call of Duty franchise. Mike Tran, the brand marketing expert from the marketing service JVST  and who has worked on franchises such as Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Dragonball, gave his take to Gamepro. Tran said that losing Vince Zampella and Jason West, the two senior employees, will not have an immediate effect on the brand but it will have a long-term effect on core gamers who are aware of the game’s pedigree.

With a well-established brand such as Modern Warfare and Infinity Ward (which are brands themselves), their consumers are accustomed to a level of quality that only Infinity Ward can put out, Tran said.

Call of Duty games are on a-year pattern with different developers at the helm each time. Tran said this tactic makes the mass consumer see Call of Duty as a franchise and not as “Treyarch’s Call of Duty,” or “Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty.” Tran said Modern Warfare has hit the mass market so well that internal politics won’t convince the average gamer to not buy Modern Warfare 3 when it comes around.

The article has more from Tran and Buscaglia and really well written analysis.

[Thanks Gamepro]

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