Why Call of Duty matters
Image: Activision

Why Call of Duty matters

Source Code

Good morning! As Activision Blizzard prepares to release the latest Call of Duty title, we take a close look at what the game says about the future of the industry.

What Call of Duty says about the future of gaming

Call of Duty’s latest title is coming out tomorrow. But the future of gaming’s most lucrative and influential series remains cloudy, Protocol’s Nick Statt writes.

Call of Duty is facing major upheaval. Microsoft’s pending acquisition of the franchise’s parent company Activision Blizzard, combined with a potentially bitter breakup from longtime partner Sony and a gaming industry that’s generally shifting away from consoles, make the game ripe for radical changes.

  • Activision Blizzard had rejected industry trends like live service gaming and free-to-play business models until relatively recently, relying on hardcore fans to buy annual releases, a model that worked until last year, when Call of Duty: Vanguard flopped.

Activision already plans to skip its fall release of Call of Duty next year for the first time since 2005. Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to begin offering Call of Duty on its Game Pass service.

  • The all-you-can-play monthly subscription model stands in stark contrast to how Activision has historically sold Call of Duty. Game Pass also offers a cloud gaming component, which could let users play Call of Duty with no console required. Taken together, these could deal a major blow to the console market.

Whoever is in charge of Call of Duty next will likely need to start thinking outside the box. “Perhaps the transition to different ownership allows for some breathing room to make exactly those types of changes,” Joost van Dreunen, an assistant professor at NYU, told Nick.

  • Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer might be just the change the game needs. At the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference Wednesday, he said “Call of Duty specifically will be available on PlayStation. I’d love to see it on the Switch, I’d love to see the game playable on many different screens. Our intent is to treat CoD like Minecraft.”

The catch? Activision Blizzard's relationship with Sony. The console company has for years enjoyed an exclusive financial relationship with Call of Duty that has helped keep the PlayStation platform dominant. Now, Sony is appealing U.K. regulators to put an end to the merger.

But with the way the game industry is changing, the old models may not be to Sony’s benefit for much longer.

Read More: Call of Duty says farewell to the traditional console gaming model

Selling for the cloud

Enterprise software is notoriously a pain to buy. But cloud marketplaces like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Amazon are trying to change that, Protocol’s Aisha Counts writes.

Cloud marketplaces aren’t new. But as more software is put on the market, the need for digital sales channels that streamline the process of buying software has grown.

  • “Ultimately, no one wants to build software to sell software, and that's why we exist,” John Jahnke, CEO of cloud marketplace platform Tackle.io, told Protocol’s Aisha Counts.
  • Tackle acts as an intermediary between enterprises and the cloud marketplaces, handling the entire go-to-market process.

The pandemic was a big part of the evolution of cloud marketplaces. Because sellers could no longer meet their buyers, they had to figure out how to engage with them in a more effective way. “With all things moving to cloud, the cloud marketplaces accelerated in prominence as being part of the solution,” he said.

What’s so good about buying from a marketplace rather than directly from a software vendor? It’s actually beneficial for both the buyer and the seller, said Jahnke.

  • Having everything in one place helps a buyer with budget and vendor consolidation, so they don’t have to “maintain contracts with 1,000 different suppliers,” he said.
  • For independent software vendors, access to cloud budgets and the ability to co-sell with cloud providers offers major value.

But listing on a cloud marketplace is only the first step. Actually selling an enterprise product successfully requires targeting the right clients, positioning it in the appropriate way, and thinking about pricing and packaging, Jahnke said, which is where Tackle comes in. “There’s a lot of nuances there — in order to get them to launch, sell, and then sell repeatedly over time,” he told Aisha. “Listing is the starting line, not the finish line.”

Read more: How cloud marketplaces became the most vital software sales channel

A MESSAGE FROM CAPITAL ONE SOFTWARE

Many business leaders aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to migrating to the cloud. To help organizations adapt to this revolution, Capital One launched Capital One Software, a new enterprise B2B software business focused on providing cloud and data management solutions.

Learn more

People are talking

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming, likened the metaverse to a “poorly built video game”:

  • “Video game creators have an amazing ability to build compelling worlds that we want to go spend time in. For me, building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room... I just find that’s not where I want to spend most of my time.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he wants to create a “more customized” in-person fan experience by collecting Disney+ viewing data:

  • “We can give you a better experience in the park, because we know what your preferences are in terms of viewing and a better experience on Disney+ because we know what your affinities are.”

Making moves

TikTok is expanding its London footprint. The company is reportedly negotiating a lease for an 11-story, 134,000-square-foot space.

ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott is replacing founder Fred Luddy as chairman of the board of directors. Luddy will remain on the board.

Chris McLaughlin is the new chief revenue officer of Hyland, an enterprise content services provider. McLaughlin joined the company from LumApps, where he was chief marketing officer.

Jay Y. Lee is now officially Samsung’s executive chairman. He’s been the de facto leader for almost a decade.

Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle startup, is shutting down. Its parts are being absorbed by its main backers, Ford and VW.

Seagate is cutting 3,000 jobs as major buyers cut orders of its hard drives.

In other news

Elon Musk showed up at Twitter’s headquarters carrying a sink, in order to tweet “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” Sigh. More importantly: banks started sending cash to fund the deal, and trading of Twitter shares on the NYSE has been suspended Friday. Yep, it’s happening. And apparently without that 75% staff cut, according to Bloomberg.

Meta lost $65 billion in market cap as investors worried about the company’s spending on metaverse technology while its revenues continue to decline.

Tesla is facing a U.S. criminal probe over its autopilot technology. The probe involves the company’s claims that its cars can drive themselves.

A lawsuit against TikTok accusing it of causing the death of a 10-year-old girl by promoting a deadly "blackout challenge" was dismissed by a U.S. District Judge in Philadelphia.

Volkswagen will make only electric cars in Europe within the next ten years.

Federal authorities monitored social media posts following the overturning of Roe v. Wade to gather intelligence on protests.

Turkish authorities fined Meta $18.6 million for breaking its competition law. Regulators claim the company held a dominant position in social networking services and video advertising and obstructed competitors.

Mobileye stock had a nice first day, rising nearly 40% to close at $28.97. The Intel-controlled company sold roughly $860 million worth of stock at the IPO.

Meta confirmed that its Quest 2 virtual reality headset, a consumer-grade device, is arriving next year.

The tech unicorn is rare again

The title of billion-dollar tech unicorn, once commonplace among buzzy Silicon Valley startups, is becoming more and more rare. Amid layoffs, restructuring, and investors tightening their purse strings, only 25 companies reached the status of being worth over $1 billion in the third quarter of 2022, one-fifth the number from the same period a year ago. But investors see a silver lining: “It’s going to get a ton of founders who shouldn’t be doing it out of the ecosystem — people doing it for money and fame,” one told The Washington Post.

A MESSAGE FROM CAPITAL ONE SOFTWARE

The flexibility of the cloud helps companies like Capital One unlock access to their data with performance that can scale instantly. But this flexibility and scale can also create a unique challenge for organizations and users who are not proficient in cloud optimization.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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