- Source: Activision

I'm pre-calling the next-generation console wars winner

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War was revealed with an in-game Warzone event this morning, and it changed literally everything.

4w ago

26.8K

If anyone reads much financial analysis or pays attention to video game sales numbers the title of this article was pre-conceived. The Playstation 4 outsold the XBOX One throughout its lifetime multiple times over. Up until this morning though the fight for the 2020 Holiday season of the next-generation console war was up in the air.

Then it happened. This morning at 3:30am AEST or 10:30am PT Activision dropped the Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War reveal in an in-game Call of Duty Modern Warfare event. And extremely observant fans will notice a couple of things.

The first is that all of the footage for the reveal was filmed on a Playstation 5. And it looked bloody gorgeous.

The first is that all of the footage for the reveal was filmed on a Playstation 5. And it looked bloody gorgeous. The fact that Treyarch and Activision came up with such a leap in Call of Duty graphics in a mere two years compared to the flailing HALO Infinite saga from Microsoft is absolutely astounding and a total credit to the developers of the game.

The second was something a bit more interesting. A freeze-frame and subsequent trailer upload to the official Playstation Youtube channel confirmed that the game would have Playstation exclusive content. Something that most have murmured about in the past 12 months as being possible, but wasn't officially confirmed until this morning. This is important because last year with Activision's Call of Duty Modern Warfare release, their Playstation exclusivity deal also ended at the same time.

The last was the sheer popularity of the in-game event and the streams that came from the result. The event was the most-watched in-game event in Twitch and Youtube's history and there were so many players attempting to access it that Activision's servers crashed multiple times. In the hours that followed the Playstation Store's servers also crashed multiple times. And that tells me that the game was being pre-ordered off the shelves. The in-game Call of Duty store also crashed (another way to pre-order the game) and as of 9:00am AEST is down completely.

But wait, there's more. Not that many gamers will pay attention to this, but Activision Blizzard Inc. share prices have been skyrocketing of late. The earnings call for the company a couple of weeks back showed that over the past quarter Activision Blizzard had blown net profit out of the water. However, that's not what's giving me confidence. In the past 3 months the number of insider trades reported on Activision Blizzard has soared. About $5 million USD of internal shares have been bought in the past 3 months. Internal trading is normally an indicator that the company expects big movements in profitability. It also shows strong internal confidence in their own product. In this case? Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War (the Call of Duty titles accounts for almost half of Activision Blizzard's internal revenue).

The earnings call for the company a couple of weeks back showed that over the past quarter Activision Blizzard had blown net profit out of the water.

What does this mean for the console wars? Well, Call of Duty Modern Warfare was the world's number one selling game in the past 12 months and that wasn't accounting for profits made off the Warzone DLCs which can be purchased for a fraction of the complete game. It was also the first time in almost a decade that Fortnite was knocked off its throne as the world's most-played shooter. Call of Duty Modern Warfare contributed almost 30% to the total sales of video games in the past 12 months which is a huge number when you consider the volume of video games that have been consumed during COVID19.

So making the next highly anticipated (best selling Call of Duty game of all time is a Treyarch and Black Ops title) and the first Call of Duty game on next-generation consoles a Playstation 5 exclusive and after all the trip-ups the Microsoft XBOX Series X launch campaign has gone through since June? I'm confidently calling it here. The XBOX is dead. The Playstation 5 will outsell units to the XBOX Series X at an even higher rate to the previous generation and thanks to the pushback and bad reception of HALO Infinite? I'd also be confident in saying there is absolutely nothing that Microsoft can do about it.

And they know this as well. This week Microsoft was offering their XBOX Game Pass Ultimate for almost 30% off for 3 years and trialing the service for $1 per month. A move that Sony countered with a discount of their own on the Playstation Plus subscription.

I do find it sad to a point, the Microsoft Sony two-step pushed the two giants to offer bigger, better, cheaper products. But moving forward, and with the re-emergence of the Gaming PC as a competitor, it feels an awful lot like the XBOX Series X will be the last Microsoft console we see forever. With Microsoft's ownership of the Game Pass platform on PC, what's the point of spending millions on R&D to create hardware that no-one is going to buy? That's the question Microsoft now has 6 years to ponder.

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Comments (47)

  • I have literally no interest in getting a PS5 or playing Call of Cold Duty: Warzone or whatever it is... I'm excited for one game this year and one game only. The game? Cyberpunk 2077 and I'm pretty sure it'll be awesome on PS5 AND Xbox Series X.

      29 days ago
  • To be fair serious gamers will own both as well as 2 PCs, a Mac a Nintendo Switch and some cheap chinese knock-off for emulating retro arcade games.

      29 days ago
  • Wow, what a pointless article written by a PlayStation fanboy. You haven't seen the game on Xbox so you can't say it looks better. You're basing your 'theory' on 1 game demo that may or may not be actual game footage (because they're always so honest on game reveals). Microsoft have been quite open in saying they don't care about selling hardware because most of their income comes from subscriptions. Then you have the childish notion that it even matters. People will buy what they want.

      29 days ago
    • GamePass is the best thing to ever happen to humanity and PS fanboys are just ignoring it like it's nothing. 100s of games for one monthly price with discounts on other game purchases, is that nothing? PS offers nothing like that!

      And...

      Read more
        29 days ago
    • And if I'm not mistaking all xbox exclusives are going to be added in game pass from day one

        29 days ago
  • Crazy that someone still cares about console wars in 2020. Just buy what console you like and play what games you like. I will go with Xbox because I want to play forza. Sure there are some nice exclusives on PlayStation but I don't want to pay 60€ for a game and then you finish the story and never play it again.

      29 days ago
  • Just get a PC and grow up

      29 days ago
    • I want to build a PC for the first time in decades, but I can't stand the PC master race stuff that seems to be everywhere. Also, there's not much point doing anything until the new Nvidia cards are out. I'm stalling…

        29 days ago
    • Personally, I used to build my own PC's for years.......always chasing the bleeding edge to accommodate the next gen game. I got sick and tired of everything being obsolete 6 months (I'm being generous on the timeframe) after being built...

      Read more
        29 days ago
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