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Modern Warfare Season 2 has ‘great pipeline of content,’ ‘surprises’ to come

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During Activision Blizzard Q4 Investor Call, the company commented a bit on what’s coming to their overall franchises for 2020.

An investor asked Activision during the call how the changes to Modern Warfare’s revenue systems — the removal of the Season Pass and new Battle Pass system — has affected player engagement and revenue.

Activision President Rob Kostich answered this question describing the new features they brought to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and hinted at surprises to come this year.

Our intent was just to create a better overall experience for our player community, and we think we’ve done that,” says Kostich.

The first big thing we did was bring in cross play and cross progression enabling friends that play together no matter what platform they are on. In the case of Modern Warfare, it’s just great to see players come back together after so many years of experience in the franchise in the past.”

He commented then on the Season Pass being removed, which has led to no longer splitting the community anymore in Call of Duty. Kostich also says that player engagement is up year over year.

“Now with season pass, we wanted to do something similar. So instead of certain portions of the audience having certain content, we’re focused now on free content for the entire community to drive engagement with the overall community. We are focusing on the new battle pass and item shop system in the game to give players more transparency to the content they can obtain, focusing on more cosmetic content. The best way to judge all of it is just what the player behavior and what’s the community saying. Our engagement is up significantly year-over-year, and that’s really great for us to see so many people enjoying and playing this fantastic game.”

And then on the player investment side, I’d say fans certainly seem to be appreciating the new system quite a bit. We mentioned kind of the growth year-on-year, but one other thing I might add is that, we’re also see an increased attach rates in game to the new system, which I think is a very, very positive sign for us. And for us, this all signals to a really healthy ecosystem within Modern Warfare, one that we think w can build on and create momentum with our community.”

Kostich then has hinted that 2020 will be a big year for Call of Duty overall with an increase in player base to the franchise and great new content to come.

“It’s really on us from now to really build great content, which we intend to do for the long haul on this game. A great pipeline of content is coming starting with Season 2 next week. And we have some surprises in store beyond that. So I’d say overall, what we expect is a healthier Call of Duty in 2020 versus the previous year. And we look forward to sharing more in the future.”

Activision has not said what the “great pipeline of content” is for Season 2 in Modern Warfare yet. Season 2 begins on February 11 for the game.

In regards to the surprises, there’s no information as to what that means yet. It could be the long rumored Battle Royale mode, or something else.

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Premium Call of Duty games will be revealed later in the year than usual

Activision confirms Warzone’s success has had an impact on Call of Duty marketing decisions.

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With the success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the post launch campaigns, Activision has acknowledged that they are experiencing a shift in their marketing of Call of Duty.

The Call of Duty marketing machine has been in almost a consistent pattern for years. A new game gets announced in May, MP reveal over the summer, potential beta in August/September, and then a release in October/November. It’s been systematic.

That entire process has been upended with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone. With the game’s success and continued post launch campaign seasons ongoing, there’s a lot to talk about now without having to shift attention to the latest premium release so early.

And, Activision’s President is acknowledging this shift in Call of Duty marketing plans. When asked in a new interview with VentureBeat about revealing new CoD games later in the year, Kostich states “we’re probably shifting a bit more in that direction.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the first to experience this. The game, which fans hoped would be announced in the similar schedule in May, was only revealed in end of August. The reveal event occurred within Call of Duty: Warzone, a new way for Activision to engage the fan base.

Kostich says that the reason for the change in reveal time frame is what we’re seeing right now. “You’ve seen what we have in season three this week. We have so much to talk about and so much going on that’s happening this week. We want to focus on that with the community, focus on the journey with them.”

He reiterated how Black Ops reveal was able to be apart of Warzone, something Activision has never been able to do before. “We did some cool things in terms of integrating the reveal of Black Ops into Warzone. Those are the things we want to orchestrate and provide to our community, letting them discover Call of Duty themselves in their play experience.”

Kostich confirms that “marketing is changing within Call of Duty, how we get the community to participate and uncover things for us.

He states that reveals of premium CoD games “might be happening later, but it’s all part of a broader agenda to bring the community along on a fun journey.”

How this impacts Call of Duty 2021 release timing will be interesting to watch. Activision has steep competition this year with EA releasing Battlefield game and Xbox releasing Halo Infinite.

As always, stay tuned for the latest news on Call of Duty.

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Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters

Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.

Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.

Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.

Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.

Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”

They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.

To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”

This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”

Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.

In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.

Image Credit: Activision

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Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate

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A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.

DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.

Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.

The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.

We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.

Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.

Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.

Activision has not commented on this information as of now.

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