Call of Duty publisher Activision has announced that they will be holding a free mutiplayer beta for Call of Duty Ghosts, running from March 7th to March 10th. The demo will include three multiplayer maps: Warhawk, Srtikezone, and Prison Break, and three mutiplayer modes: Search & Destory, Team Deathmatch, and Domination. You'll also be able to fight off the zombie horde in Nazi Zombie....wait wrong game. I mean Extinction.
"But wait!" you say,
"Hasn't the new Call of Duty been out for like 4 months?"
Well you would be correct, and if Activision didn't announce their beta, I would have just assumed that it was a miscalculation on the intern's part, but it's not. This is NOT a beta, they are not in the situation where they need to test something out. This should be treated similarly to an EA demo. Where it is not necessarily used to test servers or the game in a public setting, but instead used as a marketing campaign to get people hyped.
Mind you, this isn't the first time Activision has held a beta for series. Many Call of Duty games, including Ghosts, have received the free weekend Steam treatment and in the past, console betas have been held for the press.
"But why do this?" you ask.
Well it seems like this iteration of Activision's top-selling November release franchise, the aforementioned Call of Duty: Ghosts, isn't doing so hot compared to its predecessors. A lot of things have contributed to this year's sales being lower than they usually are.
First of all, last fall's gaming season was much more diverse than previous years, not only that, Grand Theft Auto 5 was released only a month prior to Call of Duty. And ever since Call of Duty 4, there hasn't been a game to go toe-on-toe with the franchise financially until now. Next-generation consoles need to be accounted for as well, I mean we can't just ignore those bad boys and how they barely affected CoD's sales for last year. Because believe it or not, people don't have that much cash to go around, and spending over 400 dollars on a console feels like buying an house. Activision, unsurprisingly, knew about these obstructions beforehand and warned investors that their product wasn't going to do as well as it previously did. But analyst Doug Creutz took a closer look of the sales numbers and discovered that the sales were down by 32%. A calculation that even Activision couldn't have accounted for. Though with the rough numbers, the publisher guessed that with the release of the title on next-gen platforms, that it would recover the lost sales, it did, to an extent, but not enough to get out of the hole the publisher has found themselves in.
Activision has made some righteous and unrighteous marketing strategies to attempt to sell Ghosts before its lifespan meets its inevitable deadline. Some examples of the more "ethical" methods they have been employing are new betas, free weekends on Steam, and price cuts. On the topic of price cuts, regions both near and far have seen drastic price cuts. Brazil (where anything video game is ungodly costly) has seen a 50% price cut and close-to-home retailers such as Best Buy have cut down the price of the game on all platforms, saving the consumers up to 33%. Though Activision has done their fair share of good when attempting to advertise their game, they have also participated in their fair share of corrupt endeavours. Famous Youtube commentator xJawz has mentioned in a recent video that famous Youtubers whose channels primarily focused on Call of Duty content have been paid over $20,000 to constantly post Call of Duty: Ghosts content and say positive things about the game. Other failures, such as publishing a non-optimized version of Call of Duty: Ghosts that doesn't even include many features that PC gamers are accustomed to, such as FOV, has angered players on the PC.
I, myself, will participate in the beta for the PC and see if all the bugs and mishaps are indeed real (they probably are). I have never played Call of Duty: Ghosts, so I'll have a fresh perspective after the release.