Every year, Activision releases another Call of Duty game, and every year, comments threads and forums overflow with contempt for that game, and every year, that game somehow manages to sell tens of millions of copies regardless. How to explain this phenomenon? Infinity Ward's executive producer Mark Rubin suspects it has something to do with the huge proportion of consumers for whom Call of Duty simply is gaming, the one and only title they feel obliged to play.
"Yeah I think so," he said, when we asked whether he expected the franchise's audience to stay the same following the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts in November. "Because regardless of platform - people's gaming habits aren't going to change just because there's a new platform. We have an enormous amount of players who are more in the casual game space, but they play a lot.
"It's kind of a weird, ironic thing to say," Rubin went on. "They aren't hardcore gamers, or even gamers, but they play Call of Duty every night. And those guys are going to continue to play regardless of platform. So I think not only will we continue to engage with that existing player base, but we'll take next gen and see how far we can go with it."
"Casual" is a hopelessly general term, of course, but you can kind of see Rubin's point. Trading on anecdotal evidence, I suspect there's a sizeable percentage of young male UK players who only buy consoles for two franchises - Call of Duty and EA's FIFA.
Intriguingly, Rubin has elsewhere suggested to Kotaku that Infinity Ward introduced female character to multiplayer for the sake of this vast, nebulous "casual" audience. "We felt that that was something that casual players, who are a huge portion of our fan base, would benefit the most from," he told the site. "Our fan base is huge.
"We cover such a dramatic range of people who play our game that we wanted to be as inclusive as we possibly could with character customization. And that's where the idea came from. Why wouldn't we have a female [option] then?"
Discussing the prospect of more fundamental change, Rubin has also likened Call of Duty to a sport, arguing that "we can't change too many of the core rules" for fear of deterring both the casuals and the tournament crowd.
Convinced? Unconvinced? Here are seven Ghosts tweaks you should be aware of.