New details have come out regarding the franchised-based format that competitive Call of Duty is moving to next season. The release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare will officially mark the end of what we know as Call of Duty Esports. In a Reddit post on the r/CoDCompetitive, the u/callofduty_esports account provided details to fans on what to expect next season.
The release states that the competitive format will be sticking with 5v5 instead of switching back to the traditional 4v4 from all titles previous to Black Ops 4. On top of this, organizations transitioning to a city-based franchise have the right to sign any active players prior to those players being made available to other teams.
Players who are competing in the upcoming league are also required to sign a new contract before the commencement of the Modern Warfare season. In terms of compensation, the release states, “All pro players in the league will receive a minimum base salary of $50,000 USD per year, health care benefits, and retirement benefits. Teams are required to distribute at least 50% of their prize pool earnings to players directly.” Contracts will also be guaranteed, so any organization that drops a player is subject to paying out the remainder of a player’s compensation.
Another big takeaway is that no player is required by the league to live in the city where their team is based. However, teams will be obligated to figure out housing during the season to ensure all players are available to compete. The release goes on to say that organizations can match offers made on any of their existing players for up to seven days. There also exists a buyout clause where any organization has the right to terminate a contract. Organizations must adhere to the finer points of a contract, including compensation and potential bonuses when initiating a buyout.
Analyzing the Information
There is a lot to digest with the amount of information coming in regarding the new formula of competitive Call of Duty. Players have long awaited the opportunity to work for a guaranteed salary while playing video games. Now that dream is a reality, making as little as $50K USD in salary will elevate Call of Duty to the next level. The fact that players will also be offered health and retirement benefits is just gravy on top. Each day we see gaming become more and more legitimized as a career.
Call of Duty Esports is synonymous with constant roster changes. The term Rostermania was explicitly tied to Call of Duty due to roster changes after significant events. With buyouts and offer matches coming into play, we may see more steady rosters per season. Steadier rosters will ensure more brand loyalty from fans as they will no longer have to worry as much about their favorite players leaving. Call of Duty will continue to grow in popularity, and the CWL Championship proved how many people are interested.
A Promising Future
The CWL Championship peaked at over 117K viewers on Championship Sunday. We have seen Call of Duty viewership fluctuate over the years, but this was undoubtedly a high point. The landscape is actively being reshaped from what we once knew as Call of Duty Esports. Although change can be scary, it may be worth reserving judgment until we see exactly how it plays out.
The amateur CoD scene is not being forgotten as developing future players is essential in any esports title. The release concluded with the announcement of a Path to Pro, amateurs will be able to elevate their competitive status. This will be done in a variety of tournaments online and in a LAN environment. The outlook seems promising, but there is still a lot of time left before we fully immerse ourselves in the next stage of Call of Duty Esports.