Opinion: CoD Needs To Fix Its Esports Model

by Kevin Knocke

Call of Duty has always eschewed the newer trends in games becoming platforms, choosing instead to release a new title every single year much in the same vein as sports games.

But unfortunately, this doesn't really work anymore, and CoD should be moving to a more stable base for the franchise as a platform.

Most major multi-player-first games have been moving to a "games as a platform" model, and most of the time free to play (with exceptions, namely a few titles in the console world and Overwatch lately). CoD needs to follow suit.

Generally, the game is a success each year, but this year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has already been reported to have lower sales and Kotaku is reporting that a sizable portion of Activision Publishing have been laid off.

Also, Activision annoucned that they are going to be taking CoD back "to its roots in 2017" but it's unclear as to what this actually means. Likely this will be a return to more realistic combat without as much advanced movement, but the details are still to be announced.

But to avoid iterating on the game too quickly without community input, the game should go to a platform model where DLC is just released over years, but the core competitive and multiplayer package is there and consistent from year to year.

It doesn't necessarily have to be F2P, but giving fans and developers the ability to take a platform that they know will have long term stability (even if every year there's still a full game sized patch or update that's put in the game).

Essentially CoD has taken for granted the fans being so willing to treat this every year game update as if it's a platform, but there seems to be some cracks in that strategy, not least of which are declining sales.

If players are already spending over $100 a year on the game and DLC packs, then why isn't this content in one updated platform? Then you never force your player base to consider leaving the game because they have to make a large investment each year to stay even close to up to date with the competitive scene.

Plus, ensuring that the game's engine is always being updated on a single platform will help competitive integrity, and with the amount of money going into the Call of Duty World League, the competitive scene can't afford to have a major mistep elsewhere in the game.

More esports influencing from Knocke: Have a Bit More Fun During Broadcasts, PLEASE! | Journalists Need to be More Adversarial in Esports | ESL Didn't Break the Twitch Monopoly. Yet?