During tonight’s PlayStation State of Play livestream, a new story trailer was shown for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It was pretty impressive stuff, but it’s getting attention for one very wrong reason, that being that a short section at the end revealed that the traditional Survival Mode portion of this years Spec Ops mode will be exclusive to the PS4 for nearly an entire year.
Check out the small print at the 2:17 mark of the trailer below, which reads “Timed exclusive content until October 1, 2020”.
Initially there was some confusion that the entire Spec Ops mode was exclusive to PS4 for a year, but Infinity Ward’s Narrative Director, Taylor Kurosaki, confirmed that it was just the Survival Mode when replying to an unsurprisingly angry player on Twitter:
You can play Spec Ops and every new bit of content we drop, day one. The only timed exclusivity is Survival, which is a sliver of Spec Ops.
— Taylor Kurosaki (@taylorkurosaki) September 24, 2019
I’m always advised not to swear too much in my articles on here, but I find it very difficult to do that when publishers (and believe me, this will be down to Activision) pull such shitty stunts like this. Don’t get me wrong, timed exclusivity has been a thing for new content in Call of Duty for years; Xbox had it first and it lasted a month, PlayStation had it for Black Ops 4 and it lasted a week, but locking an entire mode from day one until a year later? I’m sorry, but that is utter bullshit.
Timed-exclusivity is a nasty practice for new content anyway, but this is a whole new ball game. This is part of the games core content that is being completely restricted for two thirds of the player base, and let’s not forget that this is a series that releases a new entry every year. By the time Survival Mode becomes available for Xbox One and PC players, the vast majority of them will be ready to move on to the next entry in the series. This would be somewhat okay if the Xbox One and PC versions of the game were cheaper to reflect this nonsense, but they aren’t, they’re both the same price as the PS4 version. Activision are literally selling players less of a game for the same price. How is this even allowed?
As you can probably imagine, it has stirred up quite a shit storm over on Reddit, with floods of angry players venting their frustration over the whole thing. A key thing to note when reading through that Reddit thread is that a lot of the people voicing their displeasure are PS4 players, further proof that the gaming world is getting sick to the back teeth of these kind of stunts, regardless of whether their particular platform benefits or loses out.
Infinity Ward are likely to be caught in the firing line over this, but it will most certainly be a decision pushed for by Sony and made by Activision, likely to compensate Sony for the ditching of a Season Pass model and the enabling of crossplay. Just yesterday I published an article detailing my opinions of last weekends Modern Warfare beta in which I praised the game’s support of crossplay in helping to break down the boundaries between consoles, and then this happens and I feel like a wall has been rebuilt right in front of my face. I’m gobsmacked. So much for bringing the gaming community together. I know that Sony want to give people a reason to play the game on their console, but for a company that claims to be “for the players” this is a bad look.
Some players are somewhat trying to defend the whole thing by saying “well, it’s only Survival Mode”, but that’s not the point. Forgetting the fact that Survival Mode was a very popular mode in Modern Warfare 3 and I’m sure plenty of players were looking forward to playing it again, this sets a very nasty precedent moving forward and should absolutely not be supported. Where do we go from here? Do we start locking the entire Zombies mode behind timed-exclusivity for a year in Black Ops 5 while still charging the same price?
I hope the severe backlash continues and Activision is forced to wake up and take notice. Completely shafting two thirds of your player base in such a manner is completely unacceptable and enough is enough.