It's Time for Call of Duty to Ditch PC and Single-Player


  • It's Time for Call of Duty to Ditch PC and the Single-Player Campaign

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
    Yesterday, it was revealed that Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII was going to ditch the single-player campaign due to unspecified "development issues." This begs the question: Is this the beginning of the end for the single-player Call of Duty experience? More importantly, should this be the end of single-player campaigns for Call of Duty?

    In short: Yes.

    According to PSNProfiles, only 31.34% of all PlayStation 4 owners beat Call of Duty: WWII's single-player campaign. Compare that to the 36.51% that hit Prestige 1 in the online multiplayer, and the over 37% that completed the first map of Zombies. For a franchise that once seemed to pride itself on its memorable single-player experiences, this low completion percentage can't be seen as anything but a disappointing figure.

    The numbers on Steam are slightly better, but only slightly. Steam says that roughly 38% of all Call of Duty: WWII owners completed the single-player campaign. The problem here is that there are fewer than 1 million people that purchased and played the game on PC. That figure is just a drop in the bucket to the over 12 million units that have reportedly been sold (via Statista as of January 2018) across all platforms. It just doesn't make much sense for a company like Activision to instruct any of their Call of Duty development studios to focus on the single-player experience. It is a waste of time and resources for these developers and Activision. The future for the franchise rests firmly in the cooperative and competitive multiplayer experiences. The statistics don't lie: Multiplayer is the real draw for Call of Duty consumers.

    Going back to the point that there are fewer than 1 million players for the latest iteration of the franchise on Steam: An argument could be made about how Call of Duty should say farewell to the PC market. Yes, this could potentially mean a reduction in sales of nearly 8% of their total units sold. That is assuming those who purchased the game on PC won't purchase the game on either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. It can be safely assumed that more of the die-hard fans of the franchise will make the move to an alternate platform to get their annual Call of Duty fix, but what that figure ends up being is really anybody's guess right now. Other, more casual fans, may simply move on to other games or activities, including the next Battlefield game, the next surprise hit like PUBG or Fortnite: Battle Royale, or they may even try out a pay by phone casino to get their entertainment fix.

    PUBG screenshot

    The additional resources that developers would have at their disposal by ditching an entire platform could be put towards making the multiplayer into something that pleases old fans and pulls in new fans to the franchise. New features and improvements can be created in the same time that was spent working on the single-player campaign, the PC release of the next Call of Duty, or both. More players that engage with the micro-transaction and expansion filled multiplayer components means more potential cash for developer and publisher. These additional sales could easily make up for the loss in sales from those who purchased the game on the PC or for the game's campaign. Activision has very little to lose and potentially a lot to gain by making this shift.

    Besides, it has been obvious for a while now that the PC Call of Duty community has not been of much importance to Activision. The writing on the wall couldn't be any clearer. The removal of dedicated servers and the ability to rent out player controlled servers some years back could be seen as the first sign of this shift happening. And then you realize that timed-exclusive content made in partnership deals with either Sony or Microsoft both result in delays for the content being released on the PC. This is in spite of the PC market not directly competing with the two major consoles. If you're a huge Call of Duty fan and you're still playing on PC, it may be time to start looking for alternatives if you haven't already.
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