Esports History: Call of Duty

The next entry on our list of titles in esports history has had a lot of ups and downs, and perhaps a lot more changes than any other game that will find entry into esports. Call of Duty has been through so many different releases over the years that the games have become very distinct from one another – not only the distinct differences in games, but also in the ways they have been played. 

Early titles held the competition on the PC platform, but as the hype behind early games slowly faded the game was able to find a new home on console, but now once again moving back to the PC. 

The first big success for Call of Duty came back in 2007 with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game was an instant hit, so much so that it has been redesigned and re-released for modern platforms to improve of the systems that turned the game into an esports staple. The game wasn’t able to stay on top for too long, however, as big competition at the time took a lot of the attention away. Counter-Strike was the big first person shooter with a much larger following, so it had become difficult for Call of Duty to get off the ground on PC, and with eleven CoD titles releasing over the following decade, it had become difficult for an esports scene to form in an older title when players were all moving over to the newest title in the series. 

Whilst the game wasn’t able to find footing on the PC platform from the original CoD4 days, the successive titles were able to garner a lot of attention on the different dedicated consoles. The first set of games to hit this list that haven’t relied solely on the PC to become an esports game. Each of the games that followed CoD4 had been able to find short lived success, largely in North America, however.

Offline events were held on the different consoles and lived through the franchising that has become more common in modern esports, but the run up to the new CoD Modern Warfare had been fast change year after year and hasn’t slowed now.

The re-release of Modern Warfare brought Warzone, a new take on the growing Battle Royale genre and has been able to launch a esports scene in itself, and the newest title of Black Ops Cold War has also had more movement to esports too. The most recent news comes as event organisers have started to insist on games being played on PC, however, and moving away from the console base that CoD had become known for. This was largely in an effort to help with live streaming events and providing more stability, but whilst still having an expectation that players would compete using controllers. Whilst the transition hasn’t been a complete shift, future rules are looking to lean that way.

Whilst an enormous series of games, Call of Duty plays a very strange role in modern gaming and modern esports betting as a whole. With new releases each year, the game is different from all of the other titles that will make this list as they remain established for longer periods of time. However, with such a huge audience and following, the games are able to remain successful. Is this a product of the games themselves, or just the new audiences that replace the old that leave? Either way, Call of Duty has certainly played a significant role in developing esports in a different way than others, and is deserving of a spot on this list.

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