Could COD: WWII re-enter esports on PC?

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Call of Duty is still one of the largest esports franchises. There’s no debating that, but its presence on PC has fallen off over the past few iterations. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the last real competitive COD title played on PC, and this was well before the burst of esports. It was competitive and saw a massive rise in competition both internationally, and especially locally. COD4 came out nearly 10 years ago in November 2007, and that’s a long time for a game to remain dormant on one platform.

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The main issue with Call of Duty and its latest iterations was the gameplay just wasn’t that enticing for PC gamers. It was fast paced and took away from the standard of get guns, and shoot people. There was also the change from dedicated servers to peer-to-peer, which was inevitably the death of Call of Duty on PC. Activision has stuck with the P2P model, and it has worked wonders on console adding to the fast paced nature of Call of Duty which thrived in competitions. Many players, locally too, held on to Call of Duty and competed, but the game slowly faded away with the rise of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Call of Duty World War II, the latest addition to the COD franchise, could usher in a new era of esports for PC – but there needs to be a few changes if that’s to be so.

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The annual Call of Duty World Championships run on PlayStation 4.

There has to be dedicated servers, as that’s the biggest issue. There’s a reason games like Battlefield have taken over on the PC market as the two titles competed for quite some time. They are two very different games, but in terms of high-end graphics and combat gameplay, the two have wrestled for the top spot on PC for years, and Battlefield has been winning comfortably. That’s mainly due to the servers available for Battlefield, both locally and abroad. Peer-to-peer can work, but it requires a stable connection for all parties and can become a nightmare when trying to compete.

The gameplay is the next big plus for COD: WWII. The game is going back to its roots as a war-focused combat shooter, and although the addition of advanced warfare was exciting, it never really sat well with PC gamers because of the fast-paced gameplay. It’s odd, because you’d think that PC gamers would love a fast paced shooter, but we already have Quake and it’s not what we wanted from Call of Duty. Console gamers are used to games like Halo where that’s the norm, which is one of the reasons it remained so popular on console. World War II had no exo-suits, flying, invisibility and assisted abilities. You had a gun, you had some trenches, and you had to shoot people to survive. This is, in my opinion, Call of Duty in its truest form, and that shows promise that it could be a competitive title once again on PC.

In the end, COD: WWII’s place in PC esports relies solely on Activision. Their support over the years for console is another reason why the game has thrived, and it’s up to them to show similar support for PC if the need is there. Support also includes updates and stable PC version as opposed to a port from console. I have no doubt that a number of Call of Duty PC fans have been aching for a good title to come their way, and this might be it. Servers, gameplay and support will define the future of COD on PC, but for now I’m remaining hopeful that we do see a resurgence of the FPS game which gave us, locally, some of our best players.

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Last Updated: August 28, 2017

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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