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MA#6 - CopyThe rapid rise and popularity of Fortnite has initiated a new mode of competition in the gaming sector—both in games and among content publishers. Notably, one of the longest running game titles, Call of Duty, has taken a page from the upstart and introduced a different format to appeal to players who have come to love Fortnite.

Already in its 15th edition, Call of Duty has a reputation as a great first-person shooter game, with stellar graphics and entertaining storylines. But the publisher Activision realized it also risked growing a little stale, without much new being added over the different iterations. When Fortnite became a global phenomenon, Activision quickly took note.

Part of the appeal of Fortnite comes from the battle royale format it supports, such that hundreds of players start the game, which then continues until there is only one still standing. Accordingly, when Activision released a beta version of its new “Black Ops 4” title, the test featured a similar mode, which previously had not been available in any of the shooter games.

As measures of the success of the experiment, Activision’s stock price rose. But perhaps even more notably, the number of viewers tuned in to livestream feeds of gamers playing the Call of Duty offering rose substantially on the day of the new release. It soon doubled the viewership earned by Fortnite. That’s great news for Activision, which earns approximately one-quarter of all its revenue from Call of Duty.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Activision add this substantial new element to its popular product?
  2. What methods did it use to come up with this idea?



Source: Dan Gallagher, “Activision’s Duty to Challenge ‘Fortnite’,” The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2018