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What We’re Looking Forward To in 2020

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2019 and the decade is coming to an end here shortly. Charlie Intel started up in the early part of this decade, back in 2011 with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. 8.5 years later, nine Call of Duty games covered, we’re at the end of this decade.

On Friday, we posed a question on Twitter: what was your favorite Call of Duty game of the decade? The question was so popular it trended on Twitter, and the resounding answer was Black Ops 2 – as that trended worldwide following our question.

Now, with the end of the decade almost here, we wanted to put together a post on what we’re looking forward to going into 2020 – from Call of Duty to consoles and more. Due note, some of the stuff we’re speculating are rumors (and will be noted as such!).

Without further ado, let’s get into what we’re looking forward to in 2020.

Next-Generation Consoles

2020 will be another big year for consoles. The new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will both be arriving in Holiday 2020. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both launched in 2013; so seven years later, we’re getting a new generation of consoles – just in time for the start of the new decade.

PlayStation 5

The next PlayStation console will be arriving in Holiday 2020. Sony has thus far announced just a few details on the new console, including first details on the console’s specs and the controller.

If you missed it, here’s quick recap of the console details:

  • Backwards Compatible with PS4 games
  • Still using Physical Media
  • 8 Core AMD Processor
  • Radeon Navi GPU (Supports up to 8K resolution)
  • SSD and More Storage (Spider-Man loads times from 15 seconds to 0.8)
  • Raytracing

And here’s what’s known about the new DUALSHOCK controller for PS5:

  • New PS5 Controller uses USB Type C
  • PS5 Controller has Haptic Feedback
  • Controller has now adaptive triggers
  • New Speaker system on the controller
  • Better Battery Life
  • Heavier than the DUALSHOCK 4, but will be lighter than a Xbox One controller

There’s a lot more information to come in 2020 as PS5 launch approaches. We’ll be closely looking to see how Sony positions the PlayStation 5 for 2020 and the launch price for the console.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft first announced that a new generation of Xbox would be coming during E3 2019, where the company announced that the new generation is “Project Scarlet.” The told fans it would be a top of the line console with advanced specs and more.

The company then surprised everyone by announcing and revealing the look of the console at the 2019 Game Awards in mid-December. The console is called the Xbox Series X, as shown above, and is launching Holiday 2020.

If you missed any details, here’s a high level recap:

From a technical standpoint, this will manifest as world-class visuals in 4K at 60FPS, with possibility of up to 120FPS, including support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. Powered by our custom-designed processor leveraging the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Xbox Series X will deliver hardware accelerated ray tracing and a new level of performance never before seen in a console.  Additionally, our patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology will allow developers to get even more out of the Xbox Series X GPU and our next-generation SSD will virtually eliminate load times and bring players into their gaming worlds faster than ever before.

We are minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Xbox Series X the most responsive console ever.  Xbox Series X is also designed for a future in the cloud, with unique capabilities built into the hardware and software to make it as easy as possible to bring great games to both console and elsewhere. Xbox Series X will deliver a level of fidelity and immersion unlike anything that’s been achieved in previous console generations. 

Call of Duty

Modern Warfare Content

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched on October 25, 2019 with mixed reaction from the Call of Duty community.

Activision revealed recently that Modern Warfare is the most played Call of Duty game of the last six years, despite a lot of the negativity online about the game. It seems more of the casual players are playing Modern Warfare a lot while some of the long term fans are frustrated with some of the design choices.

2020 is looking strong for the game with more Post Launch content seasons for Modern Warfare with new Battle Passes, maps, and more. With the elimination of the Season Pass in this game, it’s great knowing all players will receive all of the new maps to come for free. We hope to see more Modern Warfare classic makes into this game, like Rust, Terminal, and more.

There’s so many options to pick from – let’s hope Infinity Ward picks the right ones…

Call of Duty: Mobile

Call of Duty: Mobile debuted in 2019 as one of the new ways Activision can bring Call of Duty to more users worldwide. Call of Duty: Mobile has been a hit for Activision, racking in millions in revenue and becoming the most downloaded new mobile game in history.

In 2020, we’re looking forward to seeing how Activision evolves the Call of Duty: Mobile game with more content and new features. They’ve added in the Zombies mode and promised more Zombies maps, new MP maps, and more to come to the game as the year progresses.

We’re also interested to see if they plan to bring any of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s maps and content to the mobile game. The mobile game has brought Call of Duty to a new audience – especially in Asia, where in some regions home consoles are not as popular.

Rumor: Modern Warfare Battle Royale

Another thing we’re also hoping and waiting to see pan out in 2020 is this long rumored Battle Royale mode for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Activision has not officially confirmed a Battle Royale exists, but there has been so many rumors about its release.

The rumors state that the Battle Royale is expected to be free to play, standalone from the main Modern Warfare game, and release in “early 2020.” Rumors also state that Raven Software is tasked with leading development of this project. The studio was recently hiring a Community Manager for the studio, in a sign that they are becoming lead in some regard for Call of Duty.

Even beyond the rumors, so many details on this potential BR have been found in the game files for Modern Warfare, including a look at the in-development map for the mode.

Here’s that leaked map, in case you missed it:

Fans have even glitched in-game to be above the entire Battle Royale map inside of Modern Warfare.

With all of the rumors, the numerous in-game references, and more, we’re patiently waiting to see if this ever pans out. And if it does, it would be remarkable. Free to play Call of Duty BR? That would be a major hit for Activision.

But for now, it’s just a rumor.

Speculation: Call of Duty 2020

Every year, a new Call of Duty game releases, and 2020 will of course be no different.

But 2020 will be different in regards to the release cycle. Since 2013, Call of Duty devs have been on a 3 year development cycle rotating between Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games.

But in May of 2019, Kotaku reported that Activision put Treyarch in charge of 2020 Call of Duty game because of bickering between SHG and Raven. Treyarch even slipped up a bit with a job listing earlier saying they’re working on a “next-gen title for 2020.” This makes Sledgehammer and Raven support studios with Treyarch.

2020 will be the first two-year developed Treyarch title since 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is now a beloved game. It will be interesting to see the direction Treyarch goes with developing a new game in two years, and with that, a new game for new consoles. This will be Treyarch’s first as the leading dev for a new console launch for Call of Duty. 2013 was Infinity Ward with Call of Duty: Ghosts.

The rumors floating around are that the 2020 game from Treyarch encompasses the Cold War era, including the Vietnam War. There is a campaign expected to be part of the game.

With all of this to look forward too, 2020 is looking to be a busy year! As always, stick with CharlieIntel for the latest on all things Call of Duty and new generation consoles.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Call of Duty: Warzone

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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Activision

Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout

Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.

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An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.

The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.

Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.

Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.

“While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.

Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.

Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.

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