Well, that's it. I'm calling it: Call of Duty is in no way different to Angry Birds.
In the years 2005 to 2012 gamers have transcended virtually every stereotype and definition that existed between the years of the ET/ATARI crash and the launch of the XBOX 360.
Bear with me here, as we're going to wander into dangerous "pretentious, elitist gamer" territory before we come out the other side with a (hopefully) legitimate point.
Certainly many 'non-gamers' bought a PS2 or the original XBOX, but mostly for games like Halo 2, Need for Speed: Underground, Grand Theft Auto III and of course the unrelenting tsunami of EA Sports titles; I think we can agree that gaming didn't make its way back into popular culture en masse until the immense success of the XBOX 360.
What the 360 has in common with the PS2 (still the best-selling video game console of all time) is fairly wide in scope; it's always been cheap relative to the competition, it has excellent multimedia functionality (PS2 and DVDs, anyone?) and an incredible software line up.
Now, I know I'm picking on the XBOX a bit here, but it is a console which, despite the multi-platform availability of the Call of Duty franchise, is inextricably tied to both that game and the image of contemporary gamers. XBOX has democratised gaming by making it more accessible to a wider audience by virtue of design and third party support. Call of Duty 2 quickly ascended to the top selling 360 game after release, overtaking the Halo 3 place holder, Gears of War. In short, XBOX has achieved success by being the primary platform for almost all the killer apps of the 7th console generation.
There are many gamers out there who only play Call of Duty games. Who only play the multiplayer. Who's only insight into the world of gaming is a 360 control, headset and nights spent being called obscene & contradictory names like, "f*cking c*nt licking f@$$^&s", by thirteen year olds.
In this day and age Call of Duty has, without a doubt, more oxygen than any other franchise in the industry. The last three releases have been the best selling games of all time. Take a moment to process that. Critically speaking they're not even that good. From a game design point of view, they're the same freakin' games. From an intellectual standpoint they're downright awful. What they do have going for them is the same thing Transformers does; mass appeal.
And you know what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I mean, I've bought Modern Warfare 1 through 3 and Black Ops. Why? Well, they started out good. They really, really did. Then, in my opinion, the potential to sell more units overtook the potential to create a deep, lasting franchise. What remained the whole time was that popcorn-munching experience of playing through a series of increasingly ludicrous set pieces. Infinity Ward/Treyarch have tapped into the developed world's bizarre obsession with seeing all we've built come crumbling down around us, somehow justifying our apocalyptic paranoia.