Call of Duty has always had a huge fanbase when it comes to buying and playing the game, yet not everyone makes the transition into becoming a fan of the esports scene. With that in mind, a few long-time pros have some ideas of their own in a bid to give their viewer base a boom.
Being able to turn pro in a vastly popular multiplayer game like Call of Duty means a player has dedicated an incredible amount of time to the game - and probably knows what they’re talking about, especially if they’ve been around the scene for a couple of titles.
So, when they offer up advice as how to get more ‘casual’ viewers involved in the hardcore side of becoming fan and getting more involved with competitive CoD, they might just have a few ideas on what it’s going to take to be a success. That’s exactly what happened when GamesRadar spoke to a number of top pros in the game and sought out their advice.
OpTic Gaming's Seth 'Scump' Abner plus 100 Thieves' Austin 'SlasheR' Liddicoat, Sam ‘Octane’ Larew, and Preston ‘Priestahh’ Greiner all gave their input on how Activision can break into new markets by converting casual viewers into full-fledged supporters of a particular team.
While many fans, and players, are still unsure as to what to expect with Activision Blizzard bringing in the franchising model, Scump believes it will be a significant help to budding players and a new line of fans as there should be added support from the publishers.
"I think franchising will help a lot because it'll be city-based, I think it'll get a lot more people involved and hopefully with that, with the amount of money being put into it, they'll start giving us the support we deserve,” Scump explained to GamesRadar.
“I think we've been cold-shouldered for the past decade – I've been playing Call of Duty for 12 years and it feels like it goes backwards, then forwards a little bit, then the next game goes backwards," he continued. "I feel like they need to keep coming out with more consistent titles and support for esports."
In a similar vein to Scump, both Octane and Priestahh explained that esports needs a bigger presence in the game - be that something as simple as team skins like World War II or being able to watch a live event without needing to leave for a different app.
Those ideas were tried, to varying levels of success, in WWII but the 100 Thieves pair stated that it’s something that should be continued.
Priestahh explained that the esports scene needs exposure - be that the front page of Twitch or in-game - as that would "open up more eyes to esports." Octane echoed those thoughts by stating that casual fans “know about competitive” but don’t actively go and seek it out. Yet, he believes that potentially dropping skins and cosmetics for watching streams could help convince casual fans to tune in.
Since it’s the introduction in Black Ops 2, CoD pros have used League Play as a way to improve their own individual skill against top players that they don’t get to face off against on a regular basis.
While there have been issues with the mode in Black Ops 4, SlasheR still believes it’s one of the best ways to make a name for yourself and giving players an increased insight to the higher quality of play might just turn them onto the professional scene. It's something SlasheR thinks could be key.
"I think one of the biggest things is getting a ranking system in the game, like a good ranking system. Like League of Legends has, CSGO, something like that where people can hop on and try to climb the ladder. Or even Halo 2 for instance, the 1-50 ranking system, I remember as a kid wanting to get on and just try to get my number higher, I was addicted to trying to get to that 50. If people could experience that, they'd have a lot more fun and be more competitive, and I think that's a good place to start."
Considering the fact that the wheels are well in motion for franchising, Activision Blizzard probably has a few ideas of their own in getting new fans involved.
Yet, it remains to be seen if they can capture more members of the huge CoD player base and persuade them to become hardcore fans of the esports scene any time soon.