Gaming INTEL has revealed exclusive details, from multiple sources, about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s DLC plans. The current DLC plan is radically different from the current season pass model, giving players free multiplayer maps. Previously, Activision released four multiplayer maps and one zombies map every couple of months. According to the leak, this is changing to a Zombies season pass and a free map every month. As Black Ops 4 doesn’t have a singleplayer, this is another bold change for Treyarch. This leak would explain why Treyarch announced the Specialist Edition, which normally comes with the Season Pass, without an announcement of DLC plans.
Dan Bunting, the co-studio head of Treyarch, in an interview with Polygon, also hinted at a new DLC format for Black Ops 4. He stated “we are pushing hard to release content to our fans in a way that’s going to make them happy and a way that we believe is the right thing to do in this stage in our game’s lifespan.”
Gaming INTEL speculated as to why Treyarch would change the traditionally, and very effective, DLC model. While the Season Pass makes a lot of money, it doesn’t maintain the fanbase. While fans with the Season Pass have new map packs as an excuse to come back to the game, others don’t. With each new map pack, the player base is fragmented. Gaming INTEL state that, while map packs create an initial buzz, there is a steady decline of players following each DLC release. Where this didn’t matter for other Call of Duty games, as the annual release would effectively ‘reset’ the player base, Treyarch appear to be committing to Black Ops 4 in a more long term sense.
There are a few things that point to Black Ops 4 becoming more than just another annual release. The reveal trailer told players to “Forget What You Know”. Establishing Black Ops 4 as more of a “service” based game not only requires long term commitment, but would work perfectly. Activision-Blizzard have already seen insane success through Overwatch’s “service” based model, giving players more free content overtime.
With Call of Duty’s inevitable inclusion of a microtransactions and a Battle Royal mode, along with the new hero based class system, which is reminiscent of Overwatch and Rainbow Six: Siege, another “service” based game, Treyarch could easily maintain their established audience through free DLC. Relying on microtransactions and initial purchases, just like Activision-Blizzard already do with Overwatch, means Black Ops 4 will be funded into the long term. As a result, free maps, and possibly new Specialists, is an easy, and affordable, way for Treyarch to maintain their player base.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is available on PC (via Battle.net), Xbox One and PC on October 12, 2018.