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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 6

    Game » consists of 5 releases. Coming Oct 25, 2024

    The 2024 edition of Call of Duty is being developed by Treyarch.

    Microsoft Finally Pulls The Trigger: Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Will Be On Game Pass Day One

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    ZombiePie

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    #1 ZombiePie  Staff

    After Phil Spencer signaled repeatedly that it would eventually happen, Microsoft and its subsidiary, Activision-Blizzard, have confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is going to release on Game Pass day one. The announcement came in a trailer from Xbox which features live action actors playing former world leaders like Margaret Thatcher, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, and Saddam Hussein. In the trailer all of the actors are seen delivering vague hints about the game's setting and timeframe which many have hinted and speculated will take place during the 90s and depict some version of either Operation Desert Storm or the Gulf War conflict. And before we get into the big discussion point about Call of Duty coming to Game Pass at launch, I do want to note that I think it is HILARIOUS that Call of Duty has completely thrown in the towel with its numbering system. Calling this game Black Ops 6 is incredibly funny and absolute cowardice.

    Nonetheless, this move by Microsoft isn't just risky, it might be one of the biggest Hail Mary plays we have seen in the gaming industry in literal decades. As articulated in IGN's report discussing this news, Call of Duty games were one of the last games in Microsoft's portfolio, through its ownership of Activision-Blizzard, that retailed for $70 and, when Bobby Kotick was still in charged of the division, actively avoided Game Pass at launch. Even in a "down year" Call of Duty games would sell around 20 to 25 million units. For reference, 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfaresold over 30 million units and generated over $1 billion. By putting Call of Duty on Game Pass at launch, Microsoft is possibly forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars. Nonetheless, will this decision drive new subscribers to Game Pass? Absolutely. The question then becomes, how many new and renewing subscribers will Microsoft need for them to make the difference of that lost revenue? Here's one estimate, but generally, there isn't a consensus on that number and there's no telling what Microsoft would view as their "magic number."

    One thing that could be working in Microsoft's favor in terms of making the numbers work is a possible price increase to Game Pass Ultimate. The Verge and The Wall Street Journal both reported that Microsoft is aware of the risk of putting Call of Duty and the rest of Activision-Blizzard's upcoming game titles on Game Pass, but believes that a price increase to the higher tiers of the service will hedge their bets. There have been rumors that a special Game Pass tier that nets players access to Call of Duty, and just Call of Duty, is possibly coming and that elite or AAA games like Call of Duty or the next edition in The Elder Scrolls franchise would be locked behind Game Pass Ultimate instead of lower tiers of the service. A free, ad-driven version of Game Pass has been rumored to be in the works for a while as well. Also, with Game Pass on PS5, there's no doubting that it will still have that as an available source of revenue as well.

    To echo a point Grubb made on social media and on Game Mess Mornings, if you are Microsoft and really think the success of Xbox and games within your portfolio can only be marked by Game Pass growth then what you should do is put Call of Duty on Game Pass and don't launch it on Xbox One and PS4. If that still doesn't move the needle even a little bit when it comes to directing people into the Xbox ecosystem of next gen consoles... then that's that. Microsoft is still probably in too deep to justifiably give up on hardware, but if this trump card of putting one of the biggest games of the year on Game Pass doesn't do anything... I don't know what will.

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    cikame

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    #2  Edited By cikame

    There are so many contradictions going on, Call of Duty as a live service requires that players dedicate their time to it, but it's generally understood that the value of Game Pass is having "free" access to a good variety of games and not playing one game for months, it's a cheaper option instead of buying lots of games at least in the short term but they're thinking of raising the price to compensate for the loss in COD revenue, everybody's math including the ex ceo of PlayStation suggests that current subscription models cannot support the budgets of AAA games without unrealistic numbers of subscribers but they can't just not put it on Game Pass because the subscription model would collapse due to anti trust.

    It's a mess, how do you sell investors on a service that reduces the potential overall earnings of a product, especially after you just spent $75 billion for that product.

    They will still make money, this doesn't stop COD being profitable, it just seems obvious that they will be making less money.

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    bigsocrates

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    I don't really think this will work to move Xboxes. People aren't going to spend $500 (or $400 or whatever) to buy new hardware just to get a subscription to play a game when they can already just buy the game for a lot less money. I'm also not sure how many Game Pass subscriptions it will move since many COD players don't play that much more than COD.

    I don't really agree with @cikame that there's a conflict between COD and Gamepass because Gamepass has a lot of all consuming games already and a lot of people DO get subscriptions and only play a couple things when it would be cheaper to buy those things. Some people just do the "$20 now is cheaper than $70" math and don't really think about the recurrence. It's dumb but common.

    I also think that COD makes a lot of its money on microtransactions so if they can bring more people into the COD ecosystem they might ameliorate some of the "full price" downloads they don't get. Gamepass and PS+ launches are just begging for micros because they transform games into sort of an FTP model. The games aren't actually free to play but if you already have the subscription they FEEL free to play.

    But to me this just feels like flailing. I don't think any one game can keep Game Pass growing. I'm not sure anything can. It's not just Game Pass that's struggling. The console business has stopped growing overall for the most part. There are much larger structural issues around how people play and consume games and other media at work.

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    AV_Gamer

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    #4  Edited By AV_Gamer

    The main thing I'm concerned about, is them not bringing the full game to Game Pass. They may have the multiplayer only while you have to pay for the campaign, or zombies mode. This would be a shame, because I play the Black Ops games for the story and zombies, not the multiplayer. And the trailer they released with all the political figures implying that the reasons for the Gulf War were a lie and something else was going on is something I'm all for.

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    bigsocrates

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    @av_gamer: Seems unlikely, especially since they already announced it. The money is in the multiplayer (though zombies IS multiplayer, or at least can be). When they did Halo they put the multiplayer out free and charged for the campaign but put that campaign on Game Pass.

    I think the more likely route is to put the whole thing on Game Pass but maybe lock off some modes as DLC, or just more heavily monetize in general with micros (yay!)

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    tp0p

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    They've already converted all the people they could on their current console base to gamepass. They will need to sell a lot more xboxes to increase their subscribers. Gamepass has not been shown to be killer exclusive for people to adopt xboxes vs exclusive games. It'll be interesting to see how this works out, but I'm not super optimistic.

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    brian_

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    I just don't know where Microsoft expects new Game Pass users to come from. I would assume people that have an Xbox console have already made up their minds on Game Pass. I don't think anyone that just has a PS5 is going to pick up and Xbox just to play Call of Duy specifically on Game Pass. Is it just people that don't have a current gen console yet who seem content to just keep playing games there? Is it the PC market? Are they just hoping to cut into Steam's sales? I imagine PC is probably the one place where there is still some growth left for them.

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    SethMode

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    Anecdotal evidence here but, guy I work with that plays COD on Xbox thinks that this is great, because now he doesn't have to pay 70 bucks to get the game, he can just pay for Gamepass for a month and if he wants to keep playing, re-up for two more months and still save money.

    I feel like for people that use Gamepass like this, this will work great. For those that just want to play COD, they're just going to buy Call of Duty again...not buy an Xbox and/or commit to Gamepass.

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    ZombiePie

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    #10 ZombiePie  Staff

    @sethmode: right, and I think no one is disputing that there are still people out there were COD is one of the five or six games they play per year. I think where this becomes a make or break is how many of the people that do sign up for Game Pass for COD renew their subs beyond the three month mark. This franchise has engaged in the seasonal format that all multiplayer shooters these days utilize for over a decadr, so, there might be something in MS's favor in terms of people sticking around a month after its release. But you need millions to stick around at least four to five months to fully recoup from playerw not buying the game outright.

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    mellotronrules

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    yeah- i'm in agreement with the many that have already said in so many words- it's the right move, but i don't think it necessarily sells Xboxes or changes the Game Pass momentum. i guess we'll know soon enough.

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    Topcyclist

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    #12  Edited By Topcyclist

    "...Calling this game Black Ops 6 is incredibly funny and absolute cowardice..."

    Really? I thought the last thing people were hung up on is the constant need to make Call of Duty names complicated and being confused which comes after which. Now we want them to add on something? Seems simple is best for our current market. People are super knee-jerk to not get something today or get confused with so much to offer to their attention. It's why sequels and prequels are pushed today a lot more in film, the risk is too high to confuse your audience with superfluous info. Silly or not.

    Furthermore, I don't get the takes people have online about game pass. Since its start, there was doomsayers stating how it's a bad value at launch and will never last and will harm the industry and devs. Then devs explain that it's actually super helpful in the competitive landscape, and it helps them try creative risky ideas that aren't just "for everybody's appeal" because they get a lump sum guaranteed. And for the price of the single game you can get a walmart 1 year membership, switch it to game pass, and be done. Play the game and more. If you like it, get it reduced price in a year. Buy then you're likely over it. If not, there are 400 games on game pass including ea. For the value of 4 movie theater tickets which gives you 8 hours of content you can get at the lowest assuming each game is 10 min of your enjoyment before you quit, well you get the point. Few downsides unless you just like owning your games or dislike having so many to choose from that you didn't personally buy individually out of interest.

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    mellotronrules

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    Furthermore, I don't get the takes people have online about game pass. Since its start, there was doomsayers stating how it's a bad value at launch and will never last and will harm the industry and devs. Then devs explain that it's actually super helpful in the competitive landscape, and it helps them try creative risky ideas that aren't just "for everybody's appeal" because they get a lump sum guaranteed.

    i think part of the perception problem there is the dark clouds that seem to have settled over Xbox for the moment are also permeating conversations around Game Pass. speaking honestly, i don't think i've ever heard anyone decry the service's value to the consumer- it is The Best Deal in Gaming, after all. sure some people don't love a sub-based business model- but the dollars-per-minute or cost-per-game remains superb.

    and therein lies the rub- is it The Best Deal in Gaming for devs? and perhaps the most importantly- is that value-trade worth it to the most valuable (by market cap) company in the world, Microsoft? signals from devs appear to be mixed (to say nothing of perceived scrutiny of recent 1st party output)- and we know the service hasn't grown as robustly as Microsoft targeted.

    so while the story is still being written on Game Pass, it's facing some present challenges that, in the context of a parent company that now has a world heavyweight title to defend, are probably going to force it into a GROW or DIE situation sooner than later.

    which makes sense- Microsoft won't sustain that consumer-favored value trade forever, and so the piper's going to be paid in either new subs capture (probably best case for the consumer), increased prices (less exciting for consumers), or another 3rd option that a presumed suit (or since this is Microsoft a sentient golf shirt and khakis) is charged with figuring out.

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    Topcyclist

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    @mellotronrules: great points. I guess everyone's just nervous, as gaming always seems to be teetering on some big changes. We let horse armor get the laugh and now look sorta fears. Gaming is also not taken very seriously (well, it used to) by governments until they notice it makes tons of money and has a lot of influence over people and how they spend disposable income.

    Microsoft IMO, was forward-thinking with that always online stuff, and even back then i thought yeah ok makes sense, but to be fair i overlooked the limits in internet connection for many at the time...but in concept i liked that you could get updates, redownload your games, saves in cloud, streaming potential, yadda yadda. But I'm a crazy that streams game pass, so i admit...bias. But my point is M. Xbox seems to be a forward thinking company in a way the more conservative but creative nintendo isn't, and a way the sony is well more follow if it works wait and see approach. So when they make a drastic change like game pass or spending all that money to get call of duty then giving it away sorta for free...I trust they know something doomsayers don't. Not a fanboy i think all the companies mix and match strategies just generalizing.

    On a doom post note: I'm seeing a streaming game service where they control the games, and you have a pick of the week experience seems destined, with the way the boxes feel less and less impactful each new generation and general audiences may get less into the idea. (Could be wrong, the opposite still works for phones). Getting different tiers like netflix and ads and so on where everyone has access to all the AAA games and each game has tons of microtransactions to make up for it, plus forever games where you just update from overwatch 1 to 2, 3 etc. Seems like what they want, cut the servers when it's unwieldy or failing, jump to the next big thing. % wise im seeing less and fewer people even get past the trophy in ps5 games that equates to 2 hours of gameplay so i think they're hoping to just get games out faster update the later levels later if it's popular sorta deals....money fast and now. Even game pass games are more used as demos as most dont get past what would be an extended demo...forget about the game, and when it's off the service they remember it and buy it.

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    sparky_buzzsaw

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    Here's a not-so-batshit crazy question. When does Microsoft push for sequels to Minecraft and World of Warcraft?

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