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Call of Duty • Jan 03, 2019

Is Activision set to make Blackout and Overwatch free to play?

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Is Activision set to make Blackout and Overwatch free to play?
Treyarch / Blizzard

Activision will lean towards an Epic Games-style model in 2019 by making both Overwatch and Call of Duty: Blackout free to play, a gaming analyst says. 

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Epic enjoyed great success in 2018 when it came to generating interest and profits from its popular battle royale game Fortnite, and Activision has publicly admitted that it has had an impact on their business. 

Now, gaming analyst Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities believes that the developer will adopt the same 'free to play' tactics for both Overwatch and Call of Duty in the coming year. 

Blizzard Entertainment
Brigitte, one of the Heroes in Overwatch who specializes in armor.

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"I think that the 18 Overwatch League owners have been assured by Blizzard that it will expand the audience for Overwatch," Pachter wrote for GamesIndustry.biz. "The most expedient way to do this is to make the core game free-to-play in order to attract tens of millions of new users, who ostensibly will convert to OWL viewers." 

The gaming analyst expected this change by mid-June, which will mark the third anniversary of the original game's launch. He also believes that the developer will hand out skins and other cosmetic items for players who bought the core game, before it's made free for all. 

Treyarch
Lighthouse, one of the key locations on Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode.

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Pachter predicted last year that a battle royale mode would be introduced to the Call of Duty franchise and he was certainly right about that. 

The new 'Blackout' game mode was announced in May last year and contributed towards Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 generating $500 million from the first three days it was on sale. But next, he thinks the franchise will go a step further. 

"Blackout will go FTP at least a month prior to the launch of next year's Call of Duty, in order to promote the new game," Pachter added. 

Whether or not Activision make these moves throughout 2019 remains to be seen and the publisher has yet to comment on any of these predictions.