Wall of text warning
After viewing a thread that shows Ghosts currently having under 200k online at any time on both the PS3 and PS4 combined, I began to wonder why.
I know a lot of old school COD fans lost interest with blops 2 due to tiny maps all with 3 channels, sight lines that meant anything longer range than an SMG was nearly pointless, headless chicken score fests since even if you ran headlong into an lmg nest you could run away and live due to hit detection failure which multiplied with fast load outs and perks, dlc that seemed catered to a per-pubescent crowd with it's cartoonish colors, maps on places a 13 year old would like to spend time after school such as skate parks, paintball parks, ski slopes, a rock star stage etc etc. Heck even the camo was neon and made hiding impossible and let's not forget reticules like bacon and scarecrows. Perhaps the "kiddie" tell all was the easiest QSing of any COD.
In addition to the "design" of blops 2, we had lag issues that were reported for the life of the game, freezes, the helicopter sounds, hit detection and matchmaking issues that were never addressed.
A lot of the old schoolers complained about these things and when their calls to Activision fell on deaf ears, they left the game or drastically cut back their play time.
Then we got Ghosts. Larger maps, longer sight lines, maps having areas where different gun classes dominate, sniping is a valid option again, tactical movement is rewarded and headless rushing is punished, the color palette is comparatively subdued. It looked like Activision decided to again cater to the more adult/tactical players, while including Crank for the kiddies.
Unfortunate carry overs are the lag, matchmaking and the worse spawns I can remember.
Now the forums are filled with the young ones complaining about snipers, (well, really about anyone not sprinting with marathon the entire match) about not being able to run headlong into a stream of fire from an lmg without dying, about having to run more than 2 seconds after re-spawning before being in a fire fight again because the maps are too big, about not being able to shoot anything at max line of sight with a smg or pistol.
So, did Activision decide to gear the game more towards the adult/tactical crowd in hopes that slowing down the pace would help with the lag issues and probably more important get the adults with a credit card buying DLC content again (apparently little johnny could get mom to spring $60 for a game, but not another $50 for DLC since DLC sales were way off from previous titles in blops 2).
If that was Activisions intent, were they too late? It appears as if the old schoolers have not come back in strong numbers (perhaps waiting on the sidelines like a number of my friends, perhaps done with COD like a like number of my friends) and while the old schoolers are not back, the kiddies that can no longer QS, trick shot, run headless and survive a tactical player firing from cover are quitting this "stupid game" in droves.
Whether the series has indeed moved the focus back to the tactical player and can draw them back, or if they are going to have to switch back to the kiddie corp in blops 3 will be interesting to see.
More importantly, whether the series can come back from under 200k online right after release will determine if the COD series is viable going forward.