Will Call of Duty: MW II Be a Hit? | Xbox’s Big Mobile Plans | Apple Wants a Piece NFTs

the gaming tap


Modern Warfare
Source: Activision

Will Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Be a Hit? A middling campaign,  but great Warzone 2.0 tutorial

It’s pumpkin spice season, which means this year's annual Call of Duty release – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II – is upon gamers. Activision-Blizzard is counting on developers Infinity Ward to kickstart the upcoming two-year COD cycle. After completing the campaign (light spoilers ahead), do we think Activision succeeded?

Big Shoes to Fill
The franchise has been in a bit of of slump since 2021's disappointing Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone lost its pandemic-era luster. The two immediate comparisons for MWII are 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the original 2009 Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. MWII’s campaign, a partial reboot/sequel, is competent, if less memorable.

  • MWII is sufficiently bug-free & technically impressive – what you expect from the gold standard of AAA shooters
  • Gameplay feels great, even if levels doesn't always take full advantage
  • New mechanics like crafting and more stealth add spice
    • But they’ve been done better in other games (i.e. The Last of Us)
COD may not be known for Oscar-quality writing, but entries has provided ample popcorn entertainment. MWII is more forgettable, an uninspired blend of Narcos, Tom Clancy fan fiction, and real events.
  • MW2's memorable plot twist, shamelessly over-the-top story & levels, & "No Russian" controversy boosted the franchise to new heights
  • MWII’s decision to recycle fan-favorite characters (available as purchasable multiplayer skins, of course) negates the plot twist
    • In MWII's defense, its target demographic may not have played MW2
These shortcomings hardly matter though. COD campaigns largely exist to steer gamers toward post-launch services. MWII makes sure to amply showcase the new vehicle mechanics and armored enemies that will be integral to Warzone 2.0. Given how lucrative the original Warzone was, it’s hard to fault Activision. 

Leaning into Live Service
Activision made a few strategic changes for MWII.

  • Online pre-orders got access to the campaign a week ahead of launch – a franchise first
    • Free grassroots marketing
    • Clever way to outsource some quality assurance testing to gamers
  • Returning to the Steam store
    • COD was a Battle.net (Activision-Blizzard’s launcher) exclusive since 2018-2021
The much maligned Battle.net appears to be here for the long haul. To avoid revenue-sharing, Activision is not transferring COD Points (in-game currency bought with money) to Steam. Expect additional Battle.net-exclusive bonuses for future releases.

Does Activision Have a Hit?

Activision appears to have a hit on its hands this year. With EA still struggling to salvage last year’s horrific launch of Battlefield 2042, there's next to no competition. MWII has the modern setting gamers seem to prefer currently, an acceptable campaign, and the well-executed gameplay needed for multiplayer and Warzone 2.0. In an era of industry consolidation and franchise iteration, that’s good enough. 

-Avery Bissett, Head Writer


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Mobile Gaming

Mobile Gaming Platform
Source: Microsoft

Xbox's Big Mobile Plans Microsoft seems higher on mobile than metaverse

Microsoft’s next big move appears likely to be serious investment into a mobile gaming platform. While not as flashy as the Metaverse, it’s a smart investment in line with its increased focus on platform-agnostic services.

The Plan
Microsoft, usually a step behind in the Asian market, is actively scouting Chinese developers for a title to serve as its response to Sony’s blockbuster Genshin Impact, according to Reuters. 

  • Genshin is a free-to-play RPG from Chinese dev MiHoYo
    • Almost $4 billion in microtransaction spending since Sept. 2020 launch
  • Sony was able to lock out Xbox through a deal with MiHoYo
    • Exclusive to PC, PS4, & PS5, with an upcoming Switch version
Microsoft wants to become a mobile player competing with the likes of Google or Apple, according to regulatory filings related to its pending purchase of Activision-Blizzard. Closing on Activision-Blizzard would bring into the fold experienced mobile studios and their mobile hits, such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty: Mobile.
  •  “Xbox will seek to scale the Xbox Store to mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform”
  • ”Microsoft hopes that by offering well-known and popular content, gamers will be more inclined to try something new.”
Will It Work?
Game development is a fickle endeavor, and there is no guarantee that Microsoft will land a blockbuster mobile title like Genshin. But when it comes to what it can control, it 's making the right moves: acquiring the requisite studios and talent while pushing Xbox subscriptions and cloud gaming to every platform and user base possible.

-Avery Bissett, Head Writer


Mobile Gaming

Source: Apple

Apple Wants a Piece of the NFT Pie App Store will take 30% of sales

Apple updated its app store guidelines this week to include new taxes on NFTs and promoted social media posts. While the NFT craze has died down in recent years, these new rules could be the final nail in the coffin for NFTs on iOS. But will they backfire?

What are NFTs?
In the context of video games, NFTs are unique digital assets that are stored on the blockchain. They can range from simple cosmetics to more substantial gameplay features such as in-game real estate.

New Rules

  • Apple will receive 30% of any in-app NFT sales
    • Viewing owned NFTs is still free as long as “ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app”
  • Apple will receive a 30% tax on revenue from social media post “boosts”
    • Only applies to campaigns purchased in-app
Apple’s Risky Gamble
In the near-term, Apple’s new taxes will have a chilling effect for iOS. Game developers interested in NFTs now have a glaring reason to opt for Android. (For what it's worth, NFTs have not caught on with most devs.) The new tax on social media boosts will be far more controversial; it primarily impacts bigger players like Meta, Tinder or TikTok, as well anyone trying to promote games or gaming hardware. 

Long term, however, Apple is playing with fire. It’s already embroiled in an antitrust legal battle with Epic Games over restrictive app store policies, and these will only add fuel to the fire.

-Avery Bissett, Head Writer


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Supply Drop: Games & Players

Upcoming Games (October 28 - November 3)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II  - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
The Chant- PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Die By The Blade - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
The Entropy Centre - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Factorio - Switch
From Space - PC, Switch
Horse Tales - Emerald Valley Ranch - PC, PlayStationSwitch
How to Say Goodbye - PC
Kingshunt - PC
Insomnis - Switch
Live by The Sword: Tactics - XboxSwitch
NecroBoy: Path to Evilship - PC
Resident Evil Re:Verse - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Outshine - PC
The Unliving - PC
WRC Generations - PC, PlayStation, Xbox


Editor's Most Anticipated: Call of Duty? Never heard of it. Without a doubt, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) is this week's most anticipated release. Despite the full multiplayer experience not being unlocked until October 28 (ahead of schedule), those who pre-ordered the latest title from Activision-Blizzard got immediate access to the single-player campaign this week.

The franchise made its debut in 2003 with it titular launch on PS3-era consoles and PCs, though most would consider the release of 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as the ignition that pushed COD into the mainstream.  In 2019, the Modern Warfare title was completely remade with the exact same name as the original title and its remaster (Why? I don't know.), with the latest title as the follow up to that "new" Modern Warfare story.

History of Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (2016)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered (2020)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)

Call of Duty has long been synonymous with FPS gaming, and Activision-Blizzard's incorporation of new titles like Modern Warfare II into the COD ecosystem that includes its popular Warzone battle royale game helps to create awareness and cross-promotion of its titles, incentivizing players to make purchases of/in one game to gain benefits in another. Activision-Blizzard seems to be concerned about franchise fatigue and is planning to skip a 2023 release, leaving MWII to be its first COD with a multiyear life cycle since 2003. 

-Dustin Downs, Editor

Source: Twitchtracker.com, Twitch.tv

Comms: Social Campaigns

Source: Twitter

The Tap: News to Go

  • Esports: Extreme sports property X Games, which was just got new majority owners in MSP Sports Capital, is planning "to integrate competitive gaming" at its live events (via the Verge). X Games, which is partnered with ESPN, is bringing aboard former Twitch VP of original content Steven Flisler as CEO.
  • Xbox: Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer hasn’t ruled out a price hike for Xbox consoles, walking back previous guarantees to not increase prices (courtesy Tom Warren). He also left open the possibility of increased prices for Xbox subscriptions.
  • PC: Steam set yet another user record last weekend, with over 30 million concurrent users (courtesy Tom's Hardware). Even accounting for seasonal trends, it looks like PC gaming will break even more records this winter.
  • GPU: Nvidia is launching an RTX 3060 8GB (courtesy Video Cardz), featuring cut down VRAM and memory bandwidth compared to the $329 RTX 3060 12GB. It's likely to be around $279-$299 and will compete with Intel Arc's flagship cards.