The Call of Duty League will officially be transitioning to PC and controller gameplay from the start of the 2021 season, Activision has confirmed, after a decade of professional Call of Duty being a console-only esport.
The top-level professional Call of Duty scene will no longer be a ‘console esport’: from 2021 onwards, all official CDL matches will be played on PC. Controllers will remain the required peripheral for the global competition.
“Today, the league is announcing it will move pro competition to PC + controller, beginning with the 2021 season,” CDL administrators wrote on Sep. 13. “This means that all pro matches will be played on PC and all pro players must use a league-approved controller of their choice.”
This change is expected to “provide players with expanded choice of controller.”
Activision has confirmed that further details on official Call of Duty League rules regarding PC peripherals will be released “at a future date.”
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) September 14, 2020
The CDL’s shift to PC heading into the Black Ops Cold War season marks the first time Call of Duty has moved away from consoles for a full professional season.
The franchise has long been played on console, all the way back to Xbox 360 in the early MLG days. Call of Duty XP 2011, regarded by many as CoD’s first true championship calibre event, was also played on Xbox 360, during Modern Warfare 3.
The Call of Duty League also stayed on console in its inaugural year, playing out 13 events and its first Champs tournament on PlayStation 4. The CDL now shifts to PC alongside the return to the 4v4 format for its sophomore season.
The shift to PC isn’t the only change the Call of Duty League announced late on September 13 either. Activision also confirmed the Challengers scene would move to crossplay in 2021, allowing players in the second division to play on either computer or console.
Controllers will still be required in Challengers, and mouse and keyboard peripherals “will not be allowed.” Any LAN events played throughout the Challengers season will be played on PC.
The Call of Duty Challengers next season will also have altered broadcast plans to “continue to spotlight top Challengers talent” across the second-tier competition.