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.

Aaron Fortune
Guest
Aaron Fortune
imagine how cod would be if it never ever changed. if it was always the same exact thing over and over again just different maps, characters and weapons which sometimes are even really different just have different names and maybe different firing mode or slightly different base look. but imagine if cod was the same game for 12 years. not a single change. sounds a bit boring to me. granted I am a ground pounder kind of guy but also can do the jump pack. doesn’t matter to me. but that’s soley because I am a true fan of cod… Read more »
DamZe
Guest
DamZe

Late to the party here, but not only did they the taint the MWR experience with this update, they purposefully lied to their consumers. Never was it mentioned that they would include micro transactions in MWR, this is classic case of deceit, sell you a product and then put in a feature you never wanted or were informed about in it a month later. As much as EA can be [♪SKELETON WARRIORS♫], Activi$ion will always be the leader of the AAA scumbag division.

Jacob Cox
Guest
Jacob Cox
Black Ops 2 was the last good CoD game. Every game since has been noticeably worse than the previous and as bad as Infinite Warfare is, it will be better than next years CoD (which, if the constantly declining sales are anything to go by, will be the last one). At this point it doesn’t even matter if they go back to WWII because they’ll still have: fee to pay supply drops with duplicates, incredibly expensive map packs, shit to average campaigns, increasingly worsening zombie modes, and (my personal favourite) freakishly overpowered firearms that are only available through micro-transaction store… Read more »
Chris Topher
Member

This is disgusting. I blame us the gamers 100% for.not.only allowing this crap but activity encouraging it .
This will end with an industry on it’s knees but we’ll be the ones taking it up the arse!….so always!!!

Thanatos
Guest
Thanatos

Activision is getting desperate. When they saw the dislike ratio on the Infinite Warfare trailer they realized that this was it – they’d hit peak Call of Duty. Sales reflected the same – finally, finally they’re down over the previous game, and the slide begins. Even their “break glass in case of emergency” move with the COD4 remaster didn’t work.

To Activision, this means they need to milk as much money out of the brand that they can before it’s dead in the water, just like they did with Guitar Hero.

Sam Leheny
Member

People throw out that “It’s only cosmetic!” line at me and I’m always like “…your point?”
What secret council of mole people up and decided that cosmetic content gets a free pass? Sure, you may feel like it’s the mechanics of a game that matters, but I’m way into visual design, and it’s often the main reason I get interested in a game, so to me it’s charging extra for one of the most important parts of a game.

Putang Inamo
Guest
Putang Inamo

Not only is this fucked up, what you can get from the microtransactions are fucking stupid. Not only are the camos ugly as fuck, making the game lose a bit of its authenticity, but holy shit, the melee weapons! A fucking broken beer bottle as a melee weapon!

I was going to buy the game when it inevitably releases standalone, but now I think I’ll pass.

Dave Sanders
Guest
Dave Sanders

And yet, this isn’t anywhere *near* yet as bad as it could be. Imagine if Hacktivision seriously thought the demand was there for a microtransaction hazmat suit for Sergeant Jackson to wear during level 11. Even if it does nothing, could you write THAT off as ‘it’s just cosmetic’ if the sods had the sheer blindness and gall to put in there? The SHIT you could.

tehboomer
Guest
tehboomer

If it did nothing and only looked different, then that is the very definition of cosmetic.

Dave Sanders
Guest
Dave Sanders

I trust you know which scene level 11 *is*? Because it would also be the very definition of missing the point, undermining the tone, and proving to all and sundry that the publisher really REALLY doesn’t give a shit.

Kenny Honeycutt
Guest
Kenny Honeycutt

I agree with everything you just said I enjoyed the game years ago and I enjoy it now (well until the new update) it’s bullshit and very greedy for the company to do so…I have never paid for a Dropbox and never will…They have fallen very far and if you notice COD is getting less and less popular each year…

Keshav Sapru
Guest
Keshav Sapru

Jim, I’m curious. Is the gaming industry of today becoming like the F-35 program, so many fucking sub-contractors (i.e. 3rd party devs) that the US government (AAA devs) shovel off their work too? Gaming industry-> Biggest Entertainment Sector. F-35-> Biggest Defence Program ever.

squid spitt
Member
All of this exists because of the **tards that pay real money for all this VIRTUAL item shit! Online/Mobile games exists solely to part you from your cash not only from day one but, much further down the line. The only time I ever buy a game NEW is when its re-released as a GOTY/ULTIMATE/COMPLETE Edition. Before then, I will either buy a game disc USED or get it in a Steam Super Flash sale. And NEVER ever PAY for DLC or MicroT`s. So blame the addicts! The fans! The Mugs! The Gamblers! If the gaming industry breaks down &… Read more »
Marius Myhre
Member

As an avid gamer, certain words have become a red flag when it comes to which games to stay away from. It used to be terms like “full-motion video”, “shovelware”, “multi-load”, “pixel-hunting” etc. In more recent years, gaming have expanded my vocabulary quite dramatically and I’ve added terms like “achievements”, “DRM”, “free-to-play”, “card packs”, “in-app purchase”, “microtransactions”, “quick-time event” and “walking simulator” to that ever-growing list of words that turn me off certain games.

Pvt Dirt
Guest
Pvt Dirt

How do you avoid achievements when it seems like every game adds them regardless of relevance? Unless one of the non-Steam digital stores doesn’t support them, I don’t think I’ve seen a game later than the seventh gen consoles that didn’t have them.

Mike Hoyer
Guest
Mike Hoyer

In fairness no one ever used “shovelware” to PROMOTE a game. But man if you avoided “full-motion video” back in the day you missed some SPECTACULAR garbage! Though in fairness that is a LOT easier to appreciate in retrospect, with a budget a bit larger than what was available from the lost-tooth and Christmas card economy.

Viking Mana
Guest
Viking Mana
Yep, the future is now officially even bleaker. I can’t wait for remasters to start charging a full price, and then charging extra for remastered bits of DLC to go with it. On top of the now virtually mandatory cosmetic microtransactions. I believe there was a time where some games would give you new weapons, or new skins for the ones you have, as a reward for progress. It was a badge of honor, showing how far you had gotten and what you had achieved. Now it’s just proof that you’re either considerably wealthier than your peers, or an irresponsible… Read more »
Mike Hoyer
Guest
Mike Hoyer
I may have just gotten disenchanted at an earlier time than you, but I don’t think there’s ever actually been a time when “the industry” as an entity was getting better, or even not getting worse. You can point back at things that were new features that revolutionized the industry in the long term, but if you were there you know that almost every one of them was first introduced to us as a crappy gimmick tied to a game that pretty much sucked. The early generations of polygons were brought to us in the form of “adventure games” (Like… Read more »
fireaura08
Guest
fireaura08

Would like to see Jim’s opinion on Titanfall 2’s microtransactions that were added earlier this month. Respawn has managed to stick to their guns and keep all new gameplay content free and opened up a store to buy cosmetics (Titan skins, camos, etc.). They are at reasonable prices and I had no problem purchasing the ones I liked to support such a fantastic game, especially since EA shafted it with the release date.

sillyskeleton
Member
sillyskeleton

I would assume that would instantly disqualify it for his best of Game of the Year awards category.

Viking Mana
Guest
Viking Mana

What’s a reasonable price? Anything higher than 1 dollar/euro for a bit of colorful texture-work isn’t really reasonable, is it?

Aaron Fortune
Guest
Aaron Fortune
thing is though you are not forced to purchase camos/textures in the game period. you are not technically forced to purchase anything. of course they can not give you everything for free considering the fact that in business it’s about sales and reviews. if you are always flatlining $60 for a game or $100 for season pass and game but insist on adding in things that cost money to put in not including paying coders for updating and otherwise including new content you will go broke because your riding on a $60 or $100 purchase while spending an extremely higher… Read more »
fireaura08
Guest
fireaura08

They offer a pack of 20 camos for weapons/Pilots/Titans for $3.99 (I think, didn’t get this one and can’t remember off the top of my head), which was what I was originally referring to. The Titan reskins come with a chassis redesign and a unique execution animation. They’re pricier ($4.99 each I think?), so I only bought one.

Jorge Yokiro
Guest

Definitely is not reasonable. Multiplayer is dead on PC and leaving the microtrans. is unreasonable.

R.D.
Guest
R.D.

Frankly, if I was to get this game it’d just be for the campaign with better graphics, sometime down the line, as I remember COD 4 being a sweet deal when it came out and it honestly holds up, ironically deconstructing a lot of the stories of modern warfare games that would soon be playing it completely straight (like the Medal of Honor stuff). As such, I don’t care about this, but it’s bemusing as all hell.

The Fantastic Paul
Member

This shit makes me glad I stopped playing FPSs after Goldeneye.

Supergoron
Guest
Supergoron

So you never got around to playing Time Splitters ?

Zero K
Guest
Zero K

You did miss a few excellent shooters. Goldeneye was good for the time, but it just doesn’t hold up. That said, I’ve kinda given up on shooters now too. Bioshock Infinite is the last one I enjoyed, and I still say wait for a decent sale for that one, because it is decent, not great. Before that it was… the STALKER series? Yeah, nothing I’ve cared about since then.

Though the System Shock remake might end up being cool… wait for reviews though.

Scott Neil
Guest
Scott Neil

Then you missed Bioshock,Condemned,Half-Life and a ton of other incredible games.Shame.

Craig Rigby
Guest
Craig Rigby

sometimes i feel like the only person in the world who waits for the inevitable complete/collector/special editions or steam releases that have everything contained inside. the only way theyll stop pulling this shit is if we stop going along with it.

The Fantastic Paul
Member

How could you think that? There’s a like a million comments like this on every Anything (video, article, porn parody) about video games, ever. Is this generation this fucked up, that you could think you’re the only one that feels a certain way, even though everyone is screaming about how they’re that way?

Craig Rigby
Guest
Craig Rigby
Nobody's Fanboy
Guest
Nobody's Fanboy

Also known as Exhibit 1 in why boycotting doesn’t work, and chanting ‘don’t complain, vote with your wallet’ (or when it comes to regulation, ‘don’t regulate, vote with your wallet’) is naive at best. Too many people, with too much variance in pain tolerance, to ever unite long enough to make it successful.

Za_Docta
Guest
Za_Docta

I think Activision smells the death of CoD in the air from the backlash they received, so they’re probably just trying to get what they can before they alienate what few fans they have left.

Michael Prymula
Member

Nah, they would’ve done this even if sales were higher, cause they also added MTs to Black Ops 3 a month after launch, and they also added them to Destiny despite how insanely well that game sold, that’s just the Activision way of doing things.

COD still has a lot of fans left.

Janio2
Guest
Janio2

They will probably turn it into CS:GO clone by reusing all the assets ?Look at what was done to the ghost recon with ghost recon : phantoms the f2p shooter it or is even on steam.

Jallen
Guest
Jallen

Anybody notice that “microtransactions” is now part of Jim’s lexicon?

Yeah it’s a perfectly succinct way of summing up the practice, and is probably now industry accepted to the point where I’ve only just noticed, but we’ve fallen for the trap.

Next time the gaming industry comes up with some money grabbing method we should ensure it gets a fitting name.

Janio2
Guest
Janio2

Darn should buy a used copy for 3 euro’s of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for my PS3.
O wait , do i really, want to be remembered when playing a game how Iraq & Syria where destroyed as country in the aftermath to shit of today.

Camilo Fernández
Guest
Camilo Fernández

Games that force ridiculus amounts of grinding to tempt the buying of microtransactions.
Games with microtransactions that completily break the game’s balance.
Games with microtransactions added after the release date (meaning that no game is definitely safe from getting them).
Multiplayer games with pay-to-win microtransactions.
Microtransactions that abuse gambling psychology.
And now re-releases of old classic games with added microtransactions.

All in games that cost anything from $40 to $60 (or even more).

I mean yeah, EVERITHING could always be worse; but from here the situation seems pretty dismal…
So whoever says “it could be worse” is absolutely FULL OF SHIT.

Janio2
Guest
Janio2

They could make you monthly sub to access the multiplayer servers ?

Za_Docta
Guest
Za_Docta

Dunkey put it best: “[Microsoft], we know online gaming doesn’t cost shit, we know you don’t do any kind of maintenance on the servers; Xbox Live is essentially Microsoft taking your money for doing absolutely nothing. No other console manufacturers were charging you money for online, but then Sony saw you could just get money for nothing, and now they charge you for PSN too. So thank you, Microsoft, thank you for inspiring your competitors to sink to your level.”

Michael Prymula
Member

Dunkey is full of shit.

Gurphardt
Guest

We already have to do that to play multiplayer on PS4/XB1.

Oh wait, you were being sarcastic, weren’t you? :'(

Unnoticing Senpai
Guest
Unnoticing Senpai

They actually do that on consoles, though. And if I’m not mistaken PS4 charges you for peer to peer.

Paul Barnes
Member

Microtransactinception.

Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

another bullshite thing about Microtransactions in COD games in general, is that the COD multiplayer bases has been playing COD for so long that it is super difficult to get someone who is new or returning. This means that the microtransactions are even more tempting.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

To paraphrase Jim regarding the MP of Infinite Warfare ‘Fuck COD’s impenetrable MP’

Gurphardt
Guest

Seriously. I tried playing CoDBlOps III last year with a pal in splitscreen (I DO like that they still have that as a feature with online multiplayer) and we spent at least half the time getting stomped on by one or two players on the other team. It was disheartening, to say the least.

Joao Oliveira
Guest
Joao Oliveira

Microtransactions on a remaster of a game (that still runs well on PC and has working multiplayer) that is only acquirable with a special edition of another game. It’s like the Perfect Storm of modern videogame industry bullshit.

InJo
Guest
InJo

What`s the matter, if there are people willing to spend their money, than that`s their decission. In the end if you hate it just don`t do it. But if people are happy spending money for cosmetics, than that`s fine too… It`s their money not ours.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Shitty practices are still shitty practices regardless of whether they are optional.

Concubinary Code
Member

But gosh they spend so much money making the games they just gotta make their money back somehow!

Unnoticing Senpai
Guest
Unnoticing Senpai

“Frog in the boiling pot” is the problem.

InJo
Guest
InJo

How is that? It is not that video games are needed to “survive”. This phrase is legit in regards of food etc. but not for a luxury product like videogames. As I said, if you don`t like it don`t buy it. It`s really that simple.

BAH!
Member
BAH!
Here’s the problem with that philosophy: The conscientious consumer is in the minority of most industries, but this is *very* true in the gaming industry. People who buy “because they just like a thing” outnumber us greatly; and they’re the ones who, through their purchases, drive the industry to do more and more exploitative things. We’ve already seen the rise of bad DLC practices (and the near-death of good ones), “patch culture”, and microtransactions in premium-priced titles- all thanks to people who buy “because they just like a thing”. These things, wielded by unscrupulous publishers, are actively making games objectively,… Read more »
Gaealiege
Guest
Gaealiege

There are days when I admire your willingness to respond to each idiot in these comments.

I have long since thrown my hands in the air. You will never convince the stupid that you’re right and that their behavior is malignant to the industry.

They’re too selfish and too low on the intellectual scale to utilize any sort of advice.

BAH!
Member
BAH!

It’s more of a compulsion that I have to actively keep in check.

Unnoticing Senpai
Guest
Unnoticing Senpai

The phrase has nothing to do with food. Read the wiki article.
And it’s never as simple as “don’t like it, don’t buy it” and that very notion is incredibly shortsighted especially now after we’re already seen what the mentality that that’s the answer had done to the game’s industry.

InJo
Guest
InJo

You clearly don’t understand what that phrase means…
But I am not here to explain it to you, you can google it.
And nope it is that easy, if you don’t like don’t buy it. What has that done to the industry? Games are cheap, we have a high diversification and so on. You just keep whining and buying stuff you clearly don’t like. Just looking for excuses like “it’s more complicated than that the big companies are evil I have no choice they are opressing me, yadayada…”

Jerome Handy
Member
Alright IJ, I’ll give this a shot: Why are microtransactions in an old game like CoD bad? Because this ISN’T the CoD that everyone fell in love with. There are a lot of people who look back on their gaming time as a part of their history. I’ve been gaming for over 30 years, and one of my defining moments, is still that nuclear detonation in MW1. I remember playing the MP, and finding everything just NATURALLY clicking. I didn’t need to grind content or force unlocks by spending real world money; The game, at THAT time, was just that… Read more »
Za_Docta
Guest
Za_Docta

>games are cheap
except for when publishers try to squeeze money out of them. Which is what most DLC is nowadays. Stuff we used to get for free as part of the base game that’s been carved out and resold to us at a markup.
Like how Star Wars Battlefront had less than 4 maps unless you bought the season pass. Basically, you pay $110 or you have an incomplete game. So yes, modern game-pricing schemes are a completely obvious scam that none of us would ever fall for, but that doesn’t make it good.

Octopus Grift
Member

Well and “the none of us” refers to people who care about not getting ripped off. There are people who wasted all that money on getting the season pass purely because they were “Just so excited that starwars battlefront was being rebooted”

Za_Docta
Guest
Za_Docta

In the words of Rich Evans: “The problem with fandom is that they care more about branding than substance. They’re all ‘It says Star Wars. Here’s my money! It says Spider-Man. Here’s my money!”

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

You can choose not to buy it. The microtransactions still exist even if you choose not to buy it.

There's Always Peng!
Guest
There's Always Peng!

Have you ever seen spongebob? You know how Mr Krabs charges an extra dollar for a menial bit of stuff that isn’t required to enjoy the delicious krabby patty, yet enhances the experience just enough to warrant it, but not enough to include it on the basic patty. You know how it makes the consumer feel that bit more special? You know how he’s portrayed as a manipulative, exploitative fuck. How the poor cod may not like it, but they want it?

Randy Dandy
Guest
Randy Dandy

No, you’re the frog.

Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

@InJo Just so you know, the saying goes “If you put a frog in a pot, and rise the temperature slowly enough, it won’t realize how hot the water got and won’t jump out before it’s dead”. It’s not true, but it’s a nice way to illustrate how everyone can adjust to unbarable conditions if they are introduced slowly enough.

It has nothing to do with the price of the product in question.

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