Since the release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare reveal trailer on YouTube on 2 May, viewers have been expressing their disapproval of the futuristic title by giving the video a thumbs down en mass. The trailer has garnered more than 10 million views and over 590,000 dislikes making it one of the most disliked videos on YouTube. In comparison, the trailer has got only 214,000 likes.
According to a playlist that keeps track of the most disliked videos on YouTube, the trailer is currently sitting as the 21st most disliked YouTube video of all time, behind Justin Bieber's music videos Sorry and One Time. Bieber's video Baby holds the top spot at number one. There are no other gaming videos featured in the top 100.
During Activision Blizzard's quarterly earnings call on 6 May, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg was asked about the dislikes. Hirshberg responded saying there is a positive side to the massive backlash.
"First of all you got to love the passion of gamers," Hirshberg responded. "This is an industry like no other, and a fan base like no other and we love that our fans treat this franchise like it's their own and have such strong points of view about it. There just aren't many entertainment franchises on Earth that can generate the kind of passion that Call of Duty can and that's a good thing."
Most YouTube commenters have complained about the series' futuristic move to space and made comparisons to franchises like Star Wars and Halo, arguing that they prefer more realistic, Earth-based Call of Duty action. Others have objected to Activision's decision to release the remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as a bundle with Infinite Warfare and not sell them separately.
"Of course we know that there are people in our community who are nostalgic for the boots-on-the-ground-style gameplay, and that's why we made Modern Warfare Remastered," Hirshberg said. "But we also have millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that. And the good news is this year we found a way to deliver both in one package while keeping our community together."
He also mentioned that this is not the first time fans have been upset with an upcoming title, saying the company also drew criticism for Black Ops 2.
"We've seen this in the franchise before," Hirshberg said. "The reveal trailer for Black Ops II, which took the franchise into the future for the first time, had the most dislikes of any reveal trailer we had ever made at that time. And that, of course, went on to become our most successful game ever."
Besides looking at the opinions online, Hirshberg says the team also looks at other measurements as well, saying pre-orders for Infinite Warfare are "off to a strong start." He also points out that the number of likes per view on the new trailer is also the highest they have ever seen.
"Right now, the franchise has never been stronger," Hirsberg said. "We have more people playing Black Ops III, a game that takes place in the future with boost jumps and fictitious weapons and all the rest, than any game in our history. So what we know for sure is that if we always just did what worked in the past and never took any creative risks, we wouldn't have a franchise. The day to worry is the day we stop trying new things."
Activision Blizzard reported record quarterly revenue with earnings of $1.46bn (more than £1bn) in its earnings report on 5 May.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is slated for release on 4 November.