Nostalgia sells, here’s why.

This is the title screen for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered. Even though it has no multiplayer, people who are familiar with the series will buy it anyway because of the nostalgic gameplay that they loved during release. (Photo courtesy of Greyson Rupert)

Nostalgia is a feeling of longing for the past. It makes us want what we used to have, so maybe we can feel happy again. We think that when we get the cause of our nostalgia back, the memories will come flooding in, letting us relive our glory days. 

For me, I find my most nostalgia within video games. One of my favorite franchises to play when I’ve got the time is the Call of Duty series, which I started to play when I was around nine or ten. With the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered, I think it’s pretty safe to say that if you tap into the right generation, marketing to those who had a certain product at a certain time, sales for that product will skyrocket. This point is evident, as seen in the sales of the remaster– a total of 4.7 million copies sold on the first day of it’s launch. 

If more evidence is needed, take a look at a more recent example, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Pretty much any 2000’s kid can sympathize with an Animal Crossing game, as the series started in 2001, and released a new game around every few years. Fans who loved the string of games wanted to go back and relive their days as a villager in their happy little town. This is one of the main reasons that New Horizons sold 5 million digital copies in March, even out shadowing Doom: Eternal, which sold 3 million digital copies in March, also it’s first month.

However, remastering or introducing a game in a series does not always go well. Sometimes the developers introduce new aspects of the game that infuriate players and make for a painful experience instead of a happy nostalgic feeling. One great example is one of EA’s bestselling list of games, the Battlefield series. Battlefield used to be a mainly WWII first-person shooter with great multiplayer aspects of the game, such as it’s drivable vehicles and immersive gunplay. So after hearing that it was going to go back to its roots as a WWII game in 2018, you’d think it would actually do well, and people would be happy with a throwback. Unfortunately, the developers didn’t have a very good start with the game, delaying it and making statements on social media like, “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.” Even after a delayed launch, players were spotting problems with the game left and right, such as invisible enemies, server lag, and, most importantly, an extremely high time to kill (The average amount of time it takes to kill an opponent in a firefight.)

This isn’t the only time people have had problems with EA and new games they introduced. 

Flashback to 2017, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was introduced in one of the worst launches in EA’s history. The part that people loved was the reintroduction of a great looking Star Wars game with a good single player. Unfortunately, this was heavily overshadowed by the worst part of any EA game — it’s microtransactions. Newer EA titles have paid shortcuts that make any player with deep pockets insanely strong before even playing the game. This was the cause of many peoples’ frustration with EA and the game, giving rich players the advantage and leaving players who don’t want to spend any money at a massive disadvantage. This situation with EA gave a new sort of genre for games, the “Pay to win” genre, which is a problem in most modern triple A titles. 

Knowing some nostalgic introductions to big franchises that do well and some that don’t, there are also oddball games that are just straight up weird in their introduction, but do strangely well. Take the Half Life series that had fans begging for a sequel for twelve years. That’s how well the previous titles did. After refraining from releasing any details about a third game for twelve years, Valve, the developers, released a preview for a new game in the series, Half Life: Alyx. Fans of the series would get exactly what they have been asking for. But the strange thing about the game isn’t the game itself. The strange thing is the system it’s played on. Previous installments have been on PC and even Xbox. Half Life: Alyx was released… for virtual reality. This was bizzare for many fans, as VR was still relatively new. Some lost interest because they simply couldn’t afford a VR system. However, those with VR systems were delighted to have a new game on the way after twelve years of begging for another installment in the Half Life series.  

As evident from these examples, reboots, remastered, and new installments of long running series’, if made good, sell pretty well to fans from all over the globe. People are looking for the happiness that they once experienced when they played it for the first time. 


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