RealOpinions: Call of Duty’s addition of Battle Royale shows how gaming is changing

Infinity Ward takes aim at Fortnite, PUBG, & Apex with a BR mode, and one should be worried.

Tom Owen by Tom Owen
call of duty cod mw battle royale season two

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a great shot at being one of the best comeback performances for a long time.

Activision had great success with Modern Warfare 3 in 2011, but the franchise had struggled to recreate those numbers with many from that generation turning its back on the franchise.

With a return to that format and story, they have delivered a game that is already their biggest in six years, despite being less than six months old.

Although this is supported by how gaming is changing and how dominant microtransactions have become – even in non-pay-to-win scenarios. It seems fans of games are desperate to part with cash for their favorite franchises.

With the strong hints of a new battle royale mode on Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Activision is taking on the titans of Fortnite, Apex Legends and PUBG. And one of those should be worried.

Even before the release of the next-gen consoles, it’s likely that a Call of Duty Battle Royale mode will shake up the industry. Players likely won’t have to wait for the PS5 and Xbox Series X to get going on this.

Battle Royale Game Mode

Whether it’s a deliberate ploy to get players excited, there have been yet more leaks of a Call of Duty Battle Royale mode with the release of the Season Two multiplayer pass.

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Reddit user ARedWerewolf shared a pair of images that reportedly were captured after their game glitched out. Both show the Warzone title in the upper left, which lines up with other rumors about the game mode’s name.

reddit leak call of duty battle royale
LEAK: It looks too good to be a fake, and matches other rumors

Looking at the success of Battle Royale games it’s entirely understandable why the developers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare want this to be part of their game.

Battle Royale is simply a constantly shrinking map, with a number of players that are trying to survive to be the last alive.

The big three; Fortnite, PUBG and Apex Legends have all taken the very simple concept to the forefront of gaming news. Whilst they all have slightly different angles, they all have millions of concurrent players and hugely profitable microtransactions.

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Call of Duty is perfectly placed to compete with them due to having a great gameplay engine already built, and a game that offers much more. A campaign mode, special ops missions, multiplayer AND battle royale is a great choice when compared to the one-trick ponies listed above.

That said, the games above are hugely successful in part due to the fact they are free to purchase. With no barrier to entry, they get millions of players and then tempt them into buying items, weapons, and outfits that can make them stand out from the crowd.

pubg's array of characters
COMPETITION: PUBG is the most likely to be worried about COD from the current BR specialists

Of the trio of well-known BR games, PUBG most closely matches what Call of Duty: Modern Warfare would offer. Fortnite has a cartoon/arcade basis which makes it slightly different and a broad appeal that goes much younger than the others.

PUBG is focused on trying to offer a realistic war based experience, which is the same as what Infinity Ward would be doing with Call of Duty. It is expected that there is a lot of cross over in the gaming population of these games, which is where it is easy to see them poaching PUBG players.

Gaming is changing

There are a lot of societal changes that are being reflected in gaming. We are seeing the rise of subscription services over more traditional forms of entertainment. People want to be able to just dive into fun games in the same instantaneous moments as leaving them. There is a fight for people’s time and attention.

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Alongside this, online and offline worlds are merging. People are living through their characters and investing and a lot of time and money into their games.

Games are changing from annual big hits to franchises that have long term investment and development. Look at GTA V, which was released in 2013 and still having better numbers than ever six years later. This has meant the release of GTA 6 is likely to be delayed as they continue to add new content to GTA Online.

GTA Online's base of players is huge
NO BRAINER: When your current GTA game is flying, there’s no need to make a new one

This could mean that we see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare add Battle Royale, as well as other things like new maps, new content, new battle passes with weapons and items. The infrastructure for the game is in place to recreate what Rockstar has done with Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption so successfully.

What comes next?

Sports games are unique in their need to have annual updates, as teams and players change there is a need for the lastest annual release. But this hasn’t stopped the boom of microtransactions in nearly every sports title, as players look to make their star look and play how they want them to.

At RealSport, we expect to see bigger gaps between franchise titles. Developers with the big-name franchises will become more comfortable not releasing something every year. We have already see Take-Two Interactive communicate this stance to investors.

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And with that, the roles in the industry will need to change. More development will be needed for existing titles. The development will go from being very creative to more operational, as they go from creating new concepts to building improvements on old ones. There is now an increased need for community managers, more people reaching out to players to understand what they enjoy and dislike and reacting accordingly.

BBC fortnite headline
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Developers will need to avoid mainstream headlines for negative reasons

Finally, one of the biggest changes is the need to protect gamers. Online worlds have a habit of reflecting offline ones. We have already seen cases of fraud in GTA Online and Red Dead Online which has stolen in-game cash. Where players are investing their hard-earned money into games, the risk gets even higher. Developers need to invest in anti-cheating and monitoring of players that have been reported.

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It’s exciting times for gaming, but particular for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and where they could take this hugely successful title.

Tom Owen

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