Activision is considering free-to-play for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4

free-to-play Modern Warfare 4

Here's an interesting thought and one that comes soon after the latest rumors pointing to the possibility of Anthem going free-to-play: Activision could be considering adding free-to-play components in Modern Warfare 4.

According to anonymous sources who spoke with Kotaku, Modern Warfare 4 could have some sort of free-to-play model, but it's unclear just how prominent this will be. It could be entirely free-to-play, or have some sort of limited free trial… or maybe it won't be free at all. Obviously, this idea still finds some resistance within Activision as it would be the first ever Call of Duty game to be free-to-play. Or at least if we aren't counting Call of Duty Online, the China-exclusive shooter that featured Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America as part of its marketing campaign.

The notion of a free-to-play Modern Warfare 4 – a game that is still shrouded in secrecy but the leaks are plentiful – isn't entirely devoid of consistency. Activision seems disappointed with the sales of Black Ops 4, a game that was off to a great start but ultimately failed to fulfill the long-term expectations. A free-to-play Modern Warfare 4 could potentially result in a better return-on-investment, if the millions of Call of Duty players flock to a game that would surely have a compelling cash shop with dozens of items for sale.

In hindsight, Black Ops 4 would have worked perfectly as a free-to-play game. It was well received and the lack of a single-player campaign pushed it into multiplayer-only territory, something that is prone to free-to-play monetization. No amount of free weekends or having the Blackout mode free for an entire month could hide the fact that it wasn't a true free-to-play game – players still had to purchase it.

It's hard to disassociate Fortnite Battle Royale's success from these Call of Duty plans. Seeing both the player base and revenue that Epic Games' free-to-play shooter is bringing in is enough to tempt even the most resilient publisher. For now, we'll have to wait a few months longer to see if Activision is taking drastic measures for this year's Call of Duty release.

Infinity Ward is developing Modern Warfare 4 for a 2019 release while Treyarch is working on Black Ops 5 for 2020.

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