Call of Duty: Ghosts is a joke. An absolute, top-to-bottom joke of a game. In the interest of fairness, I haven't actually played it yet. Not out of laziness, but because it's part of my Xbox One pre-order bundle. I thought I was making a safe choice in getting Call of Duty: Ghosts with my next-gen console. But now, it seems, I could be very wrong. Call of Duty: Ghosts is a joke, at least, that's what fans are saying. Critics and reviewers (many of whom are in the pocket of Activision one way or another) are giving the game lukewarm ratings between 6-8. But a quick look at the Call of Duty: Ghosts metacritic scores shows us the disparity between those who are paid to play the game and those who pay to play it. Here's some screengrabs of the 360, PS3 and PC scores:

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The most damning of the three has to be the PC metacritic score which gives the game a woeful 1.7 after a whopping 1077 reviews. If you read review sites a lot you know that achieving this level of awful from that many users is a feat unto itself. Clearly, a lot of fans think Call of Duty: Ghosts is a joke. But they're not alone. Industry pros are coming out to take shots at the franchise, the most notable being Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg. He tweeted the following on the Call of Duty: Ghosts release date:

I agree with Sundberg. With titles like Titanfall and Destiny set to launch in the next-gen era of gaming it's obvious that Call of Duty needs to make some changes to stay relevant as a shooter. Changes like, I don't know, NOT reusing footage from old Call of Duty games! That's right. In the penultimate sign of laziness Infinity Ward decided to lift some work from Modern Warfare 2 and hoped people wouldn't notice. But notice they did. Take a look:

Sure, it's a short clip. You could argue that it's not that big a deal, but I think it points toward the attitude at Activision when it comes to these games. If your work is interchangeable year after year after year you really don't deserve the kind of support they've enjoyed from fans. The Call of Duty franchise is among the highest-grossing in video game history. And Call of Duty: Ghosts was seen as a potential GTA V killer. The company even boasted they were looking forward to the challenge of outselling Rockstar's exceptional game (online issues aside).

Unfortunately for Activision an impressive amount of people aren't buying the game. So, instead, Activision tries to generate headlines by saying it shipped $1 billion worth of units to retailers. Sounds like they sold $1 billion worth of games, right? But that's not the reality. The reality is that $1 billion worth of Call of Duty: Ghosts games are sitting in warehouses and on shelves right now. Obviously the game will sell well just based on the record-setting pre-orders and the fact that it is a Call of Duty game. But I think this is the beginning of the end for Call of Duty because they've lost the fans.

And, with real competition coming in 2014, Call of duty could lose the next generation as well.