Battlefield 3 Vs. Modern Warfare 3 – Move Along, There is No War Here

by on September 6, 2011

While many of you may be thinking that Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3 is this year’s gaming equivalent of The Rumble in the Jungle, with Activision’s pacey Muhammad Ali (MW3) taking on the raw power of EA’s lean mean, fat reducing George Foreman (BF3), we don’t think there is any contest. None at all. Before you go into shock, have a little read to find out why.

Firstly, it is easy for anyone to be tricked into thinking Activision and Electronic Arts have a deep disregard for one another. There has been plenty of comments from executives belonging to the two firms in recent months that make it look like they are, in fact, trash talking one another in a boxing ring.

Here’s what Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said earlier this year:

 “We just want to stay true to the interest of the Call of Duty fans and we try to not get distracted by what people are doing. I can’t objectively tell you what I think of other products until I see them. Battlefield I’ve only seen on a PC and nobody’s seen it on a console yet. Most of our consumers play games on a console. Until I see it on a console, I wouldn’t be objective on commenting on it.”

To which EA CEO John Riccitiello responded:

 “It’s the beginning of the war and (Kotick) recognizes they’re going to be threatened. We’re going to have a clash of the titans this fall. The very fact that he’s trying to cast doubt on our game is a perfect example of how we got his goat. In terms of where this goes, we think our PS3 game is better than their Xbox game and our PC game is better than their PC game. If that’s all he’s got to say, it’s obviously going to evaporate as we launch all three. If you went to our press conference, you saw the PS3 footage and the Xbox footage. If Bobby thinks that is PC footage, he’s in real trouble.”

War, clash of the titans? A bit over the top, perhaps?

The media (including this very publication) do tend to directly compare the two behemoths against one another. With both titles being in the same mould, and the fact that they will coming out within a few weeks of each other, it is natural to make such comparisons. But to think that everyone is going to buy one or the other as if it is a type of vote is a massive assumption. Obviously there are plenty of people that will only buy one of the titles. At £40-50 a pop, one can only expect that. But plenty of people that I have spoken to are planning to buy both titles. Maybe not on release date, but many will end up buying both in the run up to, and for, Christmas.

Both titles offer up a unique experience in both single and multiplayer, and that is why I am happy to say I will be buying both games, too. The people in either camp Activision or camp EA will stress that one game has something that is missing from the other; frame rate, the PC version and EA’s Battlelog being free are just a few of the common cases for either game. All a bit petty, dont you think?

The public fighting, particularly on EA’s part is because they have something to prove. EA wants to reach the same dizzy heights that Activision has enjoyed for the past few years with its flagship shooter, and rightly so. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sell 23 million copies and 18 million map packs for one title?

The chances of EA making a big enough dent into Activision’s sales of Modern Warfare 3 to make Eric Hirshberg have a nervous breakdown are extremely unlikely. Looking at the continued shattering of pre-order records goes some way to tell you that Modern Warfare 3 will probably eclipse every record that the franchise has set so far. I am going to go out on a little bit of a limb and say that I think that MW3 will sell in excess of 25 million.

Does that mean that DICE employees will be gathered around a fire in a disused oil barrel somewhere in Stockholm come this Winter? Far from it in fact. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was a rip-roaring success, and any publisher would be pretty pleased with sales in excess of five million for any title. EA has pushed the marketing for Battlefield 3 this year, and pre-orders on Amazon were up 2,000% earlier this year, so that can only improve.

What EA is really looking for is progress. I think the company is fully aware that Call of Duty is a worldwide, iconic franchise, often referenced in films and TV all over the world. Even my Gran knows what Call of Duty is. EA isn’t going to achieve such iconic status with Battlefield 3. What I believe it will achieve however, is a few million more sales than its predecessor. Battlefield 3 looks like a brand new game. The Frostbite 2 engine is a brand new engine. Its marketing has been second to none. All these things get people excited, and so they should. Battlefield 3 looks fantastic and providing the gameplay matches its good looks, it will deserve to sell an absolute bucket load.

I wrote this not just to remind you, but to also remind myself, that it’s easy to get sucked into a “war” between two products. It happens everywhere: PS3 vs 360, BF3 vs MW3, iPhone vs Android, Blur vs Oasis and the list could go on. The point I’m trying to make is that while Blur and Oasis both make music in the same genre, with similar instruments, they create different end products entirely. There are things about both that I enjoy immensely. There are things about both that get on my nerves. I’m sure the same will happen when I sit down in the coming months playing both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 extensively. But that doesn’t mean I won’t like, and buy both. They both have a place in the market and both deserve a place in the market. There is no war, until we the public, make it into one.

I’m not saying that the two titles shouldn’t be discussed or compared. I’ll be doing that right here come November. And I am sure I will end up preferring, and playing more of one than the other. What we should do, is wait for both to be released, and play them both before we join in a slanging match that seems to have been started by respected CEO’s. Agreed? Good.

Battlefield 3 releases October 28 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 November 8 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.