Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may have just stepped into another controversy. And because this is the AAA games industry in 2019, what else would make people madder than weird and possibly outright exploitative microtransactions in a major video game. This latest controversy surrounds the in-game Marketplace, where players can go to buy different microtransactions, including cosmetics.
As part of helping bring in more cash from the game, Activision packed in a daily One of these packs available in the store is the Royal Armor Bundle. In that bundle is a wide array of items, including, a gun charm that could otherwise be earned freely by completing daily challenges. Specifically, players would spend 1,400 COD Points, or about $14 on the bundle, which includes the Blade of Valor gun charm, which is free in the game’s Season 1 Battle Pass.
Paying $14 for something you can normally get for basically free would otherwise be viewed as a blatant scam in to some, as it’s not like you’re paying for the optimal experience, it’s literally a cosmetic trinket that has no real purpose. But because this is the AAA games industry, this kind of nonsense is acceptable. But hey, this is the same company that called rewriting the history of war crimes with the excuse of “reporting on what is happening in these conflict zones” acceptable. And in an industry where many multi-billion dollar companies regularly refuse to call their gambling what it is, I’m not surprised.
To make matters weirder, Infinity Ward’s social media and community teams recently sent out a survey to players after the most recent patch to the game, asking gamers what would get them coming back to the playing the multiplayer. Obviously, the bottom line of the studio rides on getting these microtransactions to sell, and the game needs players to sell to. But what’s weird about this is that the survey outright admits major problems with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are present, the same problems players are complaining about.
There’s the standard questions like asking if fans want new game modes, weapons and maps that we all expect. But further down the list there’s some pretty glaring responses. There’s references to ongoing issues with match and weapon balance for one thing, but the survey also implies that the team is aware of “match balance issues.” Other prompts include “if match balance issues were resolved,” “if spawn logic issues in multiplayer maps were resolved,” and, “if progression issues were resolved.”
Seeing Activision admit that these issues are something they’re working on is getting mixed responses from fans. Some are happy they’re acknowledging complaints, and more remain skeptical of when or if fixes will arrive. It remains to be seen if the game can bounce back after its problems. It’s still wildly successful, having made $600 million in three days, but players might not stick around.