Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Needs to Change How It Implements Microtransactions for Long-Term Success
Infinity Ward looks like they have a winner with Modern Warfare, and now they need to go one step further with their post-launch content.
Right off the bat, I want to say that this is not going to be a standard editorial. Instead, I’d like to frame this as more of a letter to Activision, Infinity Ward, or whoever needs to hear it. I have been a fan of the Call of Duty series for many years; this has been established for a good while now at DualShockers. That doesn’t mean I’m a blatant fanboy, but I like to think that I play the series more than most people would. And throughout the years, throughout all the Call of Duty games we’ve gotten, there’s always been one subject that causes the community to go into an uproar, no matter how bad or good the game is: microtransactions.
The subject of microtransactions, in general, has been around for years, with both sides making (in my opinion) compelling arguments for and against them. That being said, I think microtransactions affect the Call of Duty series in a unique way, as how they are implemented can deceive consumers when the game originally comes out, as well as possibly even break the game later down the road. This year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare absolutely must not go down that road in order to succeed in the long run.
Now, as of the time of this writing, I think Call of Duty: Modern Warfare looks like the refreshment that the series has needed for a while now. The community wanted a campaign that’s dark and gritty, and now we are getting that. The community wanted a multiplayer that shook things up in almost every way: now we’re getting that too. While we have yet to see what the game’s Spec-Ops mode has to offer, I have no doubt that Infinity Ward will cook up something unique, if the other two modes are any indication. But that’s not the point of this editorial/letter. The point is that, while all of those things can be great at launch, if Infinity Ward wants Modern Warfare to succeed down the road, they are going to have to significantly change how microtransactions/COD Points work in the game.
For example, let’s look at the latest title in the series, Black Ops 4, developed by Treyarch. Going into the game, the community was already wary about microtransactions. When the game came out, it had a Tier system (similar to the one found in Fortnite) and each Tier could either be earned or bought using COD Points. Not an ideal system for sure, but nothing too crazy at all. In fact, many thought that it was a nice medium between what Activision wanted and what the consumers wanted. Then just a few months ago, DLC weapons were added into loot boxes and despite Treyarch’s efforts to offer olive branches in the form of earnable weapon bribes, the community by and large feels betrayed and annoyed. In just a few months, we went from one of the series’ best MTX implementations to one of the worst.
To be frank, this is what’s going to happen if the same thing is done with Modern Warfare. The community will walk away, even faster than they did with Black Ops 4, because once again they will feel betrayed and annoyed. Infinity Ward and Activision CANNOT make the same mistakes that Black Ops 4 did.
Now, I’m not saying that Infinity Ward or Activision shouldn’t implement any microtransactions into the game: that’s just unreasonable at this point. But they absolutely need to step back and examine things. That means no DLC weapons in reserve cases/loot boxes/whatever you want to call them, that means don’t add them in so many months after the game has launched in order to deceive early reviewers/opinions, and that means no insane prices (i.e. $30 for a melee weapon like in Black Ops 4).
If you want to make it so that we get stickers, emotes, calling cards, and more in loot boxes, fine. We won’t love it, but we will certainly like that more than adding an overpowered weapon into cases that some people will inherently never possess. Activision/Infinity Ward, listen to these words loud and clear: your game is going to sell like hotcakes without the need of microtransactions, and it will keep selling like hotcakes if you choose to not implement microtransactions in a deceptive way.
Now, is there a chance these words are falling on deaf ears? Maybe. But I have spoken to some of these developers: there’s absolutely zero doubt in my mind that the people at Infinity Ward are proud of the work that they are putting into Modern Warfare, and they have every right to be. I know that they care about what other people think, so I’m hoping that they can do everything possible to consider the community when putting together these microtransaction plans. Infinity Ward and Activision: you have already made strides by making all of your post-launch maps free and adding in cross-play. Now go one step further and say goodbye to inflammatory microtransactions. I promise you, your community will thank you for it.