I'm 45 years old. I have been gaming since 1976. I actually *owned* a games company. One of my RTS games went to #1 on re-release in the last 6 years. I know how to make games. I know how to support gamers (and I made *lots* of mistakes while learning). I have spent about $30,000 on hardware and about $10,000 on games since 1990. I have 100Mbs internet, a dedicated gaming router, and a dedicated gaming PC. I've ranked in the top 10% of Battlefield, and being in top quartile of most MW games.
I spent at least 4000 hours learning FPS games from Quake III through Unreal, Battlefield and now COD.
And now I am just not going to bother any more. Ever.
How bad does a game experience have to be to make someone as dedicated as me give up?
Let me explain: it is the P2P matching service. Just that. It is broken. It could never have worked (actually, it could be better, I'll explain later). It does not work. It is just plain horrible. Recently IW and Activision actually managed to make it worse, which is, frankly, beyond belief. They made this worse by punishing people who invest in good bandwidth and good hardware.
I live in the UK. For some reason, no one at Activision or IW understands that "the speed of light is not a chew toy", and they think it reasonable to match me with players in Moscow, Sophia (Hungary), Southern Spain, and the East Coast of the USA. Sometimes all at once. They won't let me filter my connections by ping. They won't even let me see the ping times. They have some crappy green bars that mean nothing, and they won't let me see those until after I am commited to a game. When I could see some decent information (in MW2 by amending the config file), they took that away in MW3
Then they apply a "lag compensation" to an already broken idea. This is putting toxic lipstick on a dead and rotting pig.
This means that players in Russia get about 1/2 a second to see me, kill me, and move on, before the broken piece of crap that is IWnet actually lets me see what is going on. What part of "good game experience" is that helping exactly? It shatters the pleasure, makes me feel like a fool, makes a mockery of the hours of learning, and reduces fun games to utter screaming frustration. It creates rage, where there should be smiles.
In fact, has anyone from IW or Activision actually every tried to play in Europe? Seriously? Drop round. I'll show you.
And it is all YOUR FAULT, Activision and IW.
And then there are the hackers. Three in Five games probably have a hacker. I don't mean "people who score lots and have an incredible K/D ratio", I mean people who just stand in a spot, spin round and shoot through walls. People with no profile, no hours, no friends, no history and (usually) abusive or sexual avatars.
You have done nothing about hackers. Nothing. The Steam reporting system is a mockery. VAC bans mean nothing. You have no algorithms to spot the Moab boosters, wall hackers, aimbotters or perma-jacket wearers. Yet, as a human we can see them. So why can you not generate Behavioural Algorithms that spot and insta-ban them? Not so hard?
If you get 50 kills in a game, 40 of which were wall penetration without a UAV up, and a MOAB, and (say) 3 other players press a "suspected hacker" report, WHY NOT DEAL WITH THEM?
If a player has not created a profile (or locked it), has no friends, and then - in their first game ever - scores 40 kills / 3 deaths and a Moab, they are probably a hacker. Just temporary ban them until they create a profile and then track their behaviour for a while.
If I want to blacklist a player because of racism, sexism, or suspected hacking, why can't I? That alone would kick about 90% of the hackers off the system. A simple blacklist / whitelist system. So simple. I could probably even code it for you.
But you don't. I think I know why. I think the reason is that, in the last two months, about 50% of MW3 players have stopped playing. Lobbies are down to about 800 simultaneous, from over 3,000 on hardcore. You need the hackers to create numbers, or the P2P system just falls over for lack of matches.
Don't get me started on dedicated servers. Just don't. They have issues, but the issues are so much smaller than those that consoles have.
So, you bet the farm on the console market. Brilliant plan? No, not really. It is already clear that the console market is in massive decline, that smart devices, mobile, cloud and general purpose computing are way ahead in terms of adoption. Consoles were an eddy in a stagnant pool, and are certainly not the future. You wanted to play with the big boys, and you forgot your roots, and the people who actually created and drove your business.
Then you created a massive "egg on face" moment with ELITE. This is beyond pitiful. I hope you have fired a lot of people over that one.
So, that is it. You won't be getting about $200 off me over the next 2 years. PC vendors won't be selling me a new gaming rig. I won't be that interested in releases of anything from Activision, and I will be sure to express my displeasure in every way I can, to every one I can make listen; both in the trade and in public forums.
You killed it, Activision, and not in a good way.