The Bullshit Roundup: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered Just Got Microtransactions

Usually the Bullshit Roundup consists of several stories of industry sleaze culled from recent headlines, but today we’re focusing on just one. Activision’s little stunt with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered deserves a spotlight all its own, because it may be the single biggest liberty taken with fee-to-pay gaming.

The rerelease of Modern Warfare was updated recently to include microtransactions, setting a new garbage precedent in post-sale money-grubbing.

With its December update, the rereleased Infinity Ward classic allows players to directly purchase supply drops in order to acquire cosmetic items. For those preparing an insipid “it’s just cosmetic” defense, you can watch this old Jimquisition episode and forever hold your peace.

The usual weak justifications are in place for this recent move, with news reports already emphasizing how everything can be grinded for in-game by completing challenges or spending Call of Duty Points and Depot Points… whatever those bloody things are. When I last played Modern Warfare, there was none of that fucking bollocks.

By the way, I last played Modern Warfare around eight years ago, because this game is nine years old. It’s a rerelease of a nine-year-old game that quietly smuggled microtransactions into its online mode, and I can’t believe a concept so ludicrous is a real thing. That’s something a parody of the industry would come up with.

It’s one thing to see the sad normalization of fee-to-pay elements within brand new releases, but to witness them shoveled retroactively into an old beloved title from an age before such trash gained traction? Activision has set the bar for “AAA” avarice – a new height for greed and a new low for the games business overall.

Modern Warfare Remastered was already controversial for the shady nature of its release, effectively held to ransom by Infinite WarfareActivision – which normally keeps its head down and lets EA take all the heat – has really pushed the boat out in its desire to milk as much as it can from this remaster.

Most remasters are sold as complete, definitive editions of the original games, packing in all the downloadable content and expansions that may have followed the initial launch. COD4 is paving the way for publishers to triple down – not just make money by selling an old game with updated visuals, but by tacking on DLC and microtransactions too. Should this pay off, I’ve little doubt that other publishers will attempt it themselves.

I guess I should have seen it coming when Gears of War Ultimate Edition had tacked-on pre-order DLC, effectively disproving the claim of being an ultimate anything.

It was a warning sign that old games are just as susceptible to modern skeeze as any fresh release, and with Modern Warfare Remastered “enjoying” F2P economies, cosmetic grinding, and fucking crafting, we’ve got the dismal message that nothing is too sacred, nothing too “ultimate” to avoid violation by unslaked corporate raveners.

The rampant, unchecked greed on display is almost impressive in its audacity. To sneak freemium bullshit into a nine-year-old game that leveraged its own fandom to sell a completely different game is a masterstroke of sliminess, a monument to Bobby Kotick’s notorious lack of shame. It’s also a nostalgic reminder that, while Activision can look positively saintly in comparison to recent publisher excesses, it still knows how to be the biggest vacuum of integrity in the business.

What’s saddest for me is how this will only further normalize fee-to-pay games in general. As companies continue to up the ante in their indulgent greed, previously indefensible schemes become more palatable because they’re “not as bad as they could be.”

Just like Activision usually looks good in comparison to Electronic Arts, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided‘s horseshit moneymaking doesn’t seem so gross when contrasted with Modern Warfare RebastardPersonally, I’ll continue to fight the losing battle in maintaining that none of it’s cool, but I know this latest fuckery will only further aid publishers as they slyly work to make microtransactions a banal occurrence.

Are you fucking kidding me, though? Microtransactions in a remaster of a game almost a decade old.

This industry is fucked up.

Lewis w
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Lewis w

It’s been a while since you last used that picture of the guy with crudely drawn facial features scribbled over him. I’d quite missed it, actually.

Chris
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Chris

That’s Bobby Kotick, who I believe is CEO of Activision

Jarskaaja
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Jarskaaja
Just FYI, even though it’s cosmetic-only right now does not mean that they won’t add weapons later. I’ve played (and quite enjoyed) even the latest COD games and they’ve always pulled the same shit. First there’s no microtransactions, then they become cosmetics only, then they add new guns into them. It has happened every single time. With Infinite Warfare they had the MTs in from the start with all the gun stat boosts included because fuck it, they decided to not even care. So as a player of these recent COD games: It won’t stay cosmetic. Activision fucked it up… Read more »
Dokkar
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Dokkar

CAPITALISM IS A PLAGUE

Analgeton
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Analgeton

CAPITALISM IS PROGRESS

Appretaur
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Appretaur

Even though I would say that there should never be an in-game purchase for a paid game except for gameplay-relevant content created a fair time after the initial launch and that isn’t connected to any competitive or multiplayer element in any way, I might deliberately go and tell Jim “It’s just cosmetic” anyway, the point being that I’d be *expecting* him to send Jim-style retorts and dismissal my way like he’s my performing chimp. *trollface*

Mike Wallace
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Mike Wallace

Fracktivision.

eatmywords
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eatmywords

it’s either fucked up or constantly on the verge of bankruptcy.

Uzuki
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Uzuki

Oh yippy skippy, Activision somehow found the bottom of the barrel, preceded to pull a quantum space and matter disruptor from their asses, and create a new fucked up and twisted reality at the bottom of earlier said barrel.

Like was this the end goal the entire time with MW. Holding it hostage with the latest mediocre version was crap, but as a business choice I could understand, but to remaster it only so you could ADD MICROTRANSACTION TO IT?!

Well fuck you in the ass too, Activision. Fuck you in ass too…

Terriosaurus Hex
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Terriosaurus Hex

Activision: Always Innovating in capitalist greed.

If it makes you feel any better, I have never purchased a single microtransaction ever. In a fee to pay title. Ok, in any title, I am a bit of a tight-arse and a professional [♪SKELETON WARRIORS♫]. But not through choice.

Sapphire Crook
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Sapphire Crook

Spooky precedents this sets:
– It’s okay to retro-fit old games with MT.
– It’s okay to hold games hostage with other, shittier titles to bolster sales.
– It’s okay to do the former two both in tandem.

A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE AAA INDUSTRY.

diamond
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diamond

Infinite Warfare is a good game IMO, and it’s likely MWR will be released desperately in a few months sometimes next year.

Sapphire Crook
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Sapphire Crook

While it’s part of my point, it’s not immediately relevant. The idea is that minimal effort ‘remastered’ titles can be used as nostalgia fuel on newer titles.I.E. a desperate plea to seem relevant.
I’ll edit the point, though, since the way I put it muddles the idea.

Johnny Burnes
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Johnny Burnes

MW2’s release increased the cost of all PC games by $10 and DLC packs by $5 despite less original content, Why? Because they could.

InfamousDS
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InfamousDS

I can’t even… But what about…. No. I’m done. I don’t even like CoD, and this is just too much for me.

Thank God I can escape this mad house we call real life with less shitty games that aren’t just a mound of bullshit masquerading as ice cream.

diamond
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diamond

I still like COD, but I don’t like the terrible precedent this sets.

bruno ribeiro
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bruno ribeiro

Just play Titanfall 2: good servers, no DLC shit just cosmetic, no supply boxes and such…

Vintage
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Vintage

And no sales.

Publishers are seeing what works and it’s not TF2.

diamond
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diamond

cause it got released between BF1 and IW.

bruno ribeiro
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bruno ribeiro

Well then go buy season pass for b1 or infinite warshit..

InfamousDS
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InfamousDS
I just don’t have the energy any more for this. I think I’ll just ignore new releases and remasters for a few weeks or more, and not get KH2.8 or Resi7 at launch like I was planning. Because the last thing I want is to support this after the royal reaming XV tried to pull with its 3 F2P games, massively spread out pre-order incentives which weren’t even all that good aside from the fishing lure, locking a full game behind a GameStop exclusive pre-order, and extra-narrative content that was damn good but still unnecessary. And I fucking love FFXV,… Read more »
diamond
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diamond

I’m going to continue to buy new releases if they interest me, though it’ll be a few weeks before any games I care about actually come out(not til the 17th next month)

Andrzej Sugier
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Andrzej Sugier

I find my escape in Warhammer: Vermintide – they add DLC map pack with addtional weapons…that can be played and earned by anyone, as long as a person who hosts the map has bought it. So most of the community get everything for free, as long as arond 25% of dedicated players buy the new map packs. That policy is so good I buy all of them anyways 😉

MJC
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MJC

“no DLC shit just cosmetic”

Re-read the article, and try to pay attention to the part where “just cosmetic” is still indeed shit this time.

bruno ribeiro
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bruno ribeiro

Well then go buy DLCs for Battlefront and Black ops 3 give your money to then i could Care less idiot.

The Outsider
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The Outsider

THINK for christ sake! THINK! Use your brain! What is the overall fucking point here? MTs are bad, mkay? No Black Ops 3. No Battlefront. No Titanfall 2. Fuck sake.

yumpyump
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yumpyump

I like mt Jim

oshigoroshi
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oshigoroshi
bruno ribeiro
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bruno ribeiro

if i pre buy it can i get a free theme? hahaha

Johnny N. Gliddy
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Johnny N. Gliddy

That how Breach Mode looks/feels like. Sigh. Unless I’m total shit at it.

uxtull
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uxtull

500 JT for 9.99 offer isn’t unresonable.

CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

Pokémon Picross anyone?

guy smiley
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guy smiley

The 50 jump tokens option is a ripoff!!

Guerilla Grue
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Guerilla Grue

On the one hand I want to agree with this. On the other I’m only 1200 more gems being purchased from having given in completely to their little scheme, so probably can’t talk.
I wanna justify it because it’s the best Picross game out right now, but I wanna scream because it’s microtransactions in FREAKING PICROSS.

This is where my slippery slope starts.

CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

The only good thing is that once you buy all the 5,000 gems (spend about $40 in total), you no longer need to buy anymore. And if you try to buy more, you can’t; the store only gives you the option of 1,500 gems for free. It’s good that you can remove their bullshit restrictions that serve only as paywalls; but I’d totally preferred to be an upfront $40 title with a demo (it works the same way, but it doesn’t make you feel extorted).

Leah
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Leah

It’s so optimistic that you think a company would let you buy ‘infinite’ anything in a game. Then you would never need to buy microtransactions.

RagnarokNCC
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RagnarokNCC

I’m absolutely POSITIVE this has nothing to do with the fact that IW underperformed. That of the reduced percentage who bought it, even less are actually playing it. And of those playing it, even less are buying into the microtransactions. Their player base voted very loudly for MWR – that includes people such as myself, who are content to pass on IW and wait for Activision to start selling it separately out of desperation/avarice.

diamond
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diamond

I think Activision would’ve stuck MTs in MWR even if IW sold better, that’s just how they roll, they did the same shit to Destiny.

The game is actually pretty popular on consoles, just not so much on PC.

bimmyz
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bimmyz

i knew activision was greedy, but damn.

HelixShade
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HelixShade

Guess it wouldn’t be the end of a shitty year without some equally shitty news to pile on. This is pretty repugnant, even by Activision standards.

WhateverYouWantItToBe
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WhateverYouWantItToBe

Wow I did not know about any of this. Will never be picking this up then.

Caleb
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Caleb

Between this game and Gears of War 4’s loot crate/season pass money grubbing, I don’t know who did it worse. It makes me so happy that Titanfall 2 didn’t get sucked into all this.

RagnarokNCC
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RagnarokNCC

I felt good shelling out a little cash to keep the Respawn guys going. It let them know their player base is engaged.

Here? It’s a bunch of executives caught with their pants down trying to pad their humiliating sales numbers.

diamond
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diamond

The sales are hardly humiliating, the game still sold pretty well(which Jim himself admitted in a previous JW) and I personally believe even if the sales were higher, Activision would’ve still done this, after all Destiny sold insanely well and it still got MTs up the ass post release.

Caleb
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Caleb

Honestly the skins you can buy in TF2 don’t even really feel like microtransactions more like small DLC. Not sure what the difference is between DLC and MT’s now. I don’t know how to describe how TF2 and Rocket League (before the loot boxes) did it. Technically the titan skins/cars you buy in those games are MT’s but it’s not a slimy loot box, you know what your getting, it’s under $5, and there’s still plenty of options if you choose not to get it.

Andrzej Sugier
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Andrzej Sugier

Lootboxes are the fucking worst, it’s microtransactions money grubbing crossed with gambling. I hate so much that Blizzard put them in Overwatch, it’s such a stain on an otherwise stellar game (in my opinion).

I’m not agains microtransactions, I’ve spend a bunch of money on Warframe, but as you said – if you don’t know what you’re acctually buying, it just feels….slimy.

RagnarokNCC
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RagnarokNCC

I lent my copy of Overwatch to a friend. I keep forgetting I own it. Plays just fine, love the characters, but I’m not at all interested in the loot system. I like a little more meat to my experience. Also, people suck at moving the payload and Hanzo is THE WORST.

RagnarokNCC
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RagnarokNCC

More of a micro-DLC of sorts. Microtransaction as a phrase implies (to me) the purchase of digital currency. It’s a consumable, not an add-on.

SavingPrincess
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SavingPrincess

Developers will stop wasting money on developing fee-to-pay content when stupid players stop spending money on it.

Chris
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Chris
The problem with that is the vast majority of people who play a game might just spend 1 to 5 bucks once.. Or maybe every few weeks someone will want to spend 5 bucks to speed up progress. And you can say they are dumb but these games are literally designed as psychological torture devices to trick you out of money (don’t be surprised if in 20 years this becomes illegal since it’s like a form of gambling). And of course, unless you’re desperately poor spending 5 bucks on any game isn’t a big deal so it’s not stupidity so… Read more »
MJC
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MJC

It is as simple as “stupid people spend money”. If they were smart, they either wouldn’t fall for the psychological trickery, or they’d just boycott the game entirely.

Chris
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Chris

What ever makes you feel good about yourself, champ.

Andrzej Sugier
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Andrzej Sugier

Vulnerability to psychological manipulation/pressure is not the same as stupidity. I know a couple of really smart people, who just can’t resist those systems, it’s a combination of various character traits more than any arbitrary intelligence score.

Karasu
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Karasu

Oh bloody hell.

Johnny N. Gliddy
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Johnny N. Gliddy

There goes their everything-is-free argument.

goodbyejojo
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goodbyejojo

this is a new low for activision, Good Lord, i think just got nausea and a headache from ingesting this news.

Brendan
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Brendan

Well this doesn’t change much for me as I wasn’t planning to buy the game anyway. However I still find it disgusting when they add microtransactions post-launch. It’s one thing if you buy a game knowing it will contain MT’s, but how the hell are you supposed to avoid this cancer when it can be pumped into any game at any time?

Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines
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Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines

I’m really glad there is a bullshit roundup about this. Though I must say I’m a little surprised it didn’t rile you up enough to make an emergency Jimquisition.

Jim Sterling
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This is going to be wrapped into a wider-reaching episode in the new year.

Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines
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Duncan Parker Newton-Gaines

Excellent to hear. I look forward to it!

Chris
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Chris

Jim’s React to: Microtransactions
Featuring Jim Stirling, Jimmy Fallon, Jim Carrey and Jim Henson (company).

Jonathan Roth
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Jonathan Roth

Are you just going to look at a tombstone for the Jim Henson segments?

(too soon)

Appretaur
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Appretaur

I look forward to how you’ll address how passively resigned you were to the original shadiness of Modern Warfare’s re-release as part of Infinite Warfare in your JQ earlier this year. Namely, do you now regret not being as angry at that scheme as people expected of you at the time?

Jamesworkshop
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Jamesworkshop

But hey you can now play as a woman in the multiplayer, if you unlock one through microtransactions.

Dash
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Dash

Is… Is that a joke?
Please say it is

Jamesworkshop
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Jamesworkshop

Less positive is the fact the female models are unlocked randomly inside loot boxes (though since you can also craft them out of the currency you get inside said loot boxes, you should be able to obtain one after only a few hours of play).

from kotaku

Andrzej Sugier
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Andrzej Sugier

Couldn’t they like, unlock one from the get go? Or a few? This seems needlessly sexist.

Benj
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Benj

To be a woman you either have to pay extra or put in more work than you do if you want to play as a man.

That’s almost poetic.

Aristatide
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Aristatide

…it’s the most beautiful unintended social commentary ever.

bruno ribeiro
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bruno ribeiro

people will pay for the Van Helsing girl and ghostbusters bundle skins lmao

Spectre197
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Spectre197

ಠ_ಠ

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