The winds of change plague the videogame industry and, although they still do not blow strongly, we have already seen enough breezes to become gales to know that we must remain vigilant. We know the players and, of course, the industry also knows that, with movements such as ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ they give a good account of this.
Maybe the franchise ‘Call of Duty’ of Activision has never been endangered, or at the least that suggest the staggering numbers that harvested year after year, but both competition and the opinion of the public and critics seemed to augur a future much more complicated for the brand.
Return to the origins
The answer, far from staying in his fever of experiments, has been what any fan of the saga could wish for. On the one hand attack your usual PC and consoles audience with a return to the origins. An attempt that was already felt in ‘Call of Duty WWII’ but has been evidenced even more by directly attacking the forerunner of his great success, the subsaga ‘Modern Warfare’ .
Back to the exit box and everyone happy. With a classic game formula with feet on the ground and without jetpacks or futuristic weapons, ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ has proven to be just what the players were waiting for. A good way to recover the faithful who had lost along the way and try to get new attention.
That last milestone is probably the most complex of all that is in front of Activision. Hovering the muzzle among a young audience in which the ‘Call of Duty’ saga is no longer the most relevant name because there are games like ‘Fortnite’ , ‘PUBG’ or ‘Free Fire’ spreading the cake.
Almost as important as the what turns out to be the where and the how , and it is that with a population segment that the concept of console or PC is no longer essential, mobile phones and the free-to-play market have become in the most recommended formula to attract new players.
There, as a cover and almost coinciding with the release of ‘Modern Warfare’ , ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ enters the scene . A move that would result in suicide (after all they are facing two very important pitches) of not being clear from Activision what the objective of each of them is.
Objective: 1,000 million users
In the era of change, with the mobile phone still booming, at the gates of a new generation and with streaming game systems such as Stadia -which could end up joining the players of the first and second segments-, the president of Activision , Bobby Kotick, commented in one of his recent conferences that the goal is to reach 1,000 million users among all his games in five years.
The traditional video game market has a complicated ceiling to overcome. After all, the best selling console in history is PS2 with a total of 160 million. And if we add the units sold from PS4 and Xbox One to date we would stay at less than 150 million .
Activision would need at least 10 games capable of reaping the success of the best face of ‘Call of Duty’ to reach that point or, as they prove to be doing, open to the market to other players.
The Chinese PC market served as an experiment for that expansion. There, with a platform of its own and with a long journey that reaches our days, in 2015 ‘Call of Duty Online’ was launched . A localized and unique version of the franchise that, under a free-to-play model, laid the foundations of what we can find today in ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ .
As if it were a record of great successes, Activision Shanghai, in collaboration with Raven Software, launched a collection of weapons, characters and maps of the different deliveries of the most recent ‘Call of Duty’ . A compendium that, in addition, ended up embracing other game modes such as the campaign, the zombie mode of ‘Black Ops’ and the Survival of ‘Modern Warfare 3’ , both passed through a cyborgs filter to adapt to the Asian market.
The millions of requests that dragged its beta, limited at that time to 200,000 players, proved to be a good indication of how smart that strategy was. A sensation that then dragged into the West with not a few fans claiming that Activision’s next step was to make the leap to that model also in these parts.
The launch of ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ in numbers
Four years later, Activision has ended up responding to that request with ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ . With the Chinese market dominated by its collaboration with Tencent (the Chinese giant owns 5% of Activision Blizzard), it was time to try to drag all those young people who saw ‘Call of Duty’ as a game from another era or simply They did not have a platform to enjoy their shootings.
“ We have these great franchises that have evolved for a long time. Many of these franchises are not yet mobile, so when you realize that these brands could go from consoles and PCs to mobiles, you understand that the growth in audience is going to be amazing. “
Bobby Kotick spoke to the CNBC referring precisely to the need to approach mobile phones to reach the milestone of 1,000 million users and, with this, the step taken by franchises such as ‘Diablo’ , which will also enjoy its iOS and Android version, or the game at hand.
If the map and mode compilation model has worked with those Asians who had no way to access their games, you may also do it here. If the competition is pulling free-to-play , microtransactions for cosmetic elements and battle passes on consoles and mobiles, turning to it may not be a bad idea.