Why Call of Duty: Mobile is more important than Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Mobile launched earlier this month and while it didn’t have the hype behind it that the upcoming Modern Warfare does, it is likely more important to Activision’s long-term bottom line. A good sign for the American publisher is that the mobile version of its first-person shooter is already quite the success considering it hit 35 million downloads in just four days on both iOS and Android. That’s a huge base of players, and while the game is free-to-play, which means that those downloads don’t automatically equate to sales, it is a sign that Activision has already cleared a huge hurdle in getting mobile players to accept the series on mobile.

In fact, Activision boasted that Call of Duty: Mobile was downloaded “faster than any other mobile first-person or third-person action game on App Store and Google Play.” That means it beat out juggernauts like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which both became hits on console and then successfully made the transition to being playable on the go. While neither Fortnite or PUBG mobile are often viewed as the main way to play those multiplayer experiences, they’re still an important part of the play as it is where many casual and younger players get hooked on the multiplayer. This has led to huge sales in terms of in-app purchases, and we all know Activision isn’t afraid to put microtransactions into Call of Duty.

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One thing that Call of Duty: Mobile has that its main competitors on mobile lack is a huge amount of variety. Despite some timed events, both Fortnite and PUBG are always going to be a battle royale at its core. That’s great, of course, as that genre has become one of the most popular in all of gaming. However, COD Mobile is able to offer up a 100-player battle royale that is just like Black Ops 4‘s mode, while also bringing in the Zombies survival mode, and all of the classic deathmatch modes that players have enjoyed since the series debuted in 2003. There is simply just more to the Call of Duty: Mobile experience than any other competitor can offer up.

Call of Duty: Mobile is a true platform rather than a yearly release

Why Call of Duty: Mobile is more important than Modern Warfare

Despite their differences, Call of Duty: Mobile and Modern Warfare are bought together through how they use nostalgia. Developer Infinity Ward is bringing back the iconic Modern Warfare subtitle to remind players of the peak of the series, 2007’s Call of Duty 4. While it is still a sales juggernaut, the first-person shooter has become less of a critical darling and its launches, which still gigantic when compared to anything else, aren’t the milestone events that they used to be. Even if Infinity Ward can put out the best Call of Duty in over a decade, it is still reaching back to the past in order to gain interest since new ideas don’t appeal as much to its audience.

Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Mobile takes a lot of Black Ops 4 as its core and is unabashedly a mishmash of classic Call of Duty maps from past titles. That’s not all, as weapons and characters return from the past Modern Warfare games. This is a wise decision as Activision is able to load up the game with content that didn’t have to be crafted from the ground up, and players aren’t going to whine about reused content when the game isn’t costing them a penny to start.

It also means that Call of Duty: Mobile can easily be updated with a ton of content as the game continues to be a destination for shooter fans on mobile. If the player base is ever dropping, it can easily reach into their reserves of content to put together a limited-time event with maps from Call of Duty 4 or World at War. There are hundreds of maps at Activision’s disposal, and while it does take work to put them into the game, there are a ton of assets that can be reused at this point and enough development talent to keep content coming at a steady flow. Since it’s a free-to-play platform, there is no reason to limit Mobile to just being supported for a year or two, it can be a cornerstone of Call of Duty for the next decade.

Activision has never found a huge success with Call of Duty on mobile

Why Call of Duty: Mobile is more important than Modern Warfare

The most surprising part aspect around Call of Duty: Mobile is how long it took to happen. While it’s not the first COD game to hit mobile phones, it is certainly the most high profile and the first to accurately replicate its multiplayer. Activision had previously released Call of Duty: Zombies on iOS, but it received limited support and is no longer playable. It then put out some spin-offs like Call of Duty: Strike Team and Heroes, the latter of which is a real-time strategy game, that never quite caught on enough to be deserving of the series name.

However, with over 35 million downloads it is clear that Call of Duty: Mobile will not be a title that is tossed to the side. Activision can now infiltrate a huge base of players that is separate from those that purchase Call of Duty on a yearly basis. For that reason alone, Mobile is a more pivotal release than Modern Warfare. If Infinity Ward disappoints, then it’ll just release another Black Ops game next year, which has quickly replaced the Modern Warfare brand as the prestige sub-series, and everybody will move on with their lives. There isn’t nearly as much riding on the console installment as Mobile can make the series back into popularity levels where it is the most talked about title. If you regularly play Black Ops 4 or already have Modern Warfare pre-ordered then you likely aren’t all that jazzed up about Call of Duty Mobile. That’s not an issue, though. It’s reaching a totally different market that is prime for the picking, and Activision is hitting it hard thanks to a free price of admission and a ton of nostalgic content.