Discerning How Fans Respond to Call of Duty Pre-Launch Official Trailer

Call of Duty Gameplay marketing campaign

The Call of Duty video game series has consistently delivered on its worth and longevity. Aligning with modern industry standards, CoD leads the promotion of their latest installment with a reveal trailer months before the game’s official release. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer aims to excite new and old audiences alike by featuring the face of a popular television series.

Among video game commentators, Kevin Spacey, or should we say “House of Cards’” anti-hero Frank Underwood, is the most talked about persona of the new Call of Duty cast. How are CoD aficionados responding to the trailer and to Spacey’s involvement? How successful is the trailer in generating excitement among online audiences? We set out to answer these questions using the ForSight social listening platform.

The trailer depicts Spacey’s virtual reality clone relaying a dramatic speech scattered between shots of combat that demonstrate the latest character features such as the exosuit, cloak, and hoverbike. Originally scheduled for a May 4th release, clips of the trailer were leaked online days in advance to a gaming audience drooling at the opportunity to compile the full video. The Guardian was one of many major outlets speculating about Spacey’s role as the trailer leaked to the public. Spacey’s involvement with the game has been confirmed since the release of the trailer.

One thing is clear: Twitter waits on no man, and the “advanced” release of the Advanced Warfare trailer has the gaming community brimming with predictions and assessments of its first glimpse at CoD’s latest masterpiece. But do the media voices and predictions line up with the consumer voice?

As fans anticipate Advanced Warfare’s scheduled November 4th release date, we at Crimson Hexagon analyzed the conversation surrounding the cutting-edge trailer. We found in the immediate aftermath of the reveal that the trailer was received poorly by its audience and that gameplay features garnered more discussion than the inclusion of Kevin Spacey.

Of 48,551 relevant posts since the trailer’s debut, 45% were categorized as negative overall response. We see how Kevin Spacey is irrelevant compared to other negative topics of discussion. The negative sentiment breakdown reveals an overwhelming majority of concern regarding what audiences have come to expect from the CoD franchise:

Discussion revolved around the complaint that Call of Duty has assimilated with other combat video games and that the next release won’t stand out. Surprisingly, the differentiation offered by Kevin Spacey’s presence did not drive as much conversation as we might have expected.

Only 15% of online discussion revealed positive sentiment about the trailer. Yet again, Kevin Spacey’s prominent role in the game’s trailer was of little interest to Tweeters. The prevailing opinion of the trailer is frustration expressed by seasoned Call of Duty gamers. The audience identified the use of Spacey as a gimmick, expressing disappointment in how Activision has seemingly lost sight of the most important feature of the user experience: gameplay.

We decided to make our own comparison: which console is making the biggest fuss about the CoD trailer? ForSight’s Affinities tool shows that Twitter authors talking about Advanced Warfare are 68x more likely to have an identified interest in Xbox Live than average Twitter users. The affinitiy that Advanced Warfare authors share with Playstation is weaker. Authors talking about Advanced Warfare are 29x more likely to have an identified interest in Playstation than the average twitter user.

Call of Duty gameplay marketing Affinities

This suggests that either Xbox Live users are more engaged online in general, or perhaps the CoD franchise is more popular among authors with a strong interest in Xbox Live. What we do know is Kevin Spacey is not a popular topic of discussion for the new trailer.

For more insights into how gaming companies can use social intelligence for pre-launch marketing campaigns, we invite you to download our case study that assesses fans response to Madden 25 ad campaign