Should Black Ops Cold War Esports Be Played On PC or PS5?
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has already shifted esports in a drastic way compared to this past season. Earlier in the week, the Call of Duty League announced that in 2021, 4v4 play would be returning. This comes on the heels of the community and professional scene complaining about how 5v5 is too chaotic for Call of Duty. While many feel this decision was made a year too late, it will be nice to see Black Ops Cold War played the way it was meant to be played. However, with such a big change already announced, could there be more on the way? In addition to wanting 4v4 back, many in the community have desired another change for COD esports: playing on PC with controllers. Is this something Activision and the CDL should look into?
The pros and cons of playing on PC
As with any major decision, there are going to be pros and cons to either side of the argument. For example, with 4v4, the pros are that it's a better style of play for Call of Duty, it makes for a better viewing experience, and it's what many in the scene wanted. However, the cons are that at least 12 starting CDL players will need to be dropped and could be out of the league in 2021. Obviously, that's a fairly big con to match the many pros that come with 4v4.
In regards to playing on PC, there are some pros to consider. Though, let's first go over exactly what this would entail, should Activision choose to go this route. Essentially, Call of Duty professionals would play Black Ops Cold War on PC with a controller. The game has already been confirmed to be arriving on PC through Battle.net and even features RTX capabilities with an Nvidia GPU. So the PC side of Call of Duty is really stepping up its game, which makes this opportunity even more exciting.
At LAN events or online events, players would simply use their controller on the PC provided for them. Games like Rocket League have implemented this system very well and overall haven't seen many downsides. However, with such a huge title like Call of Duty, there are sure to be a few pitfalls when moving to PC.
For starters, this would change up the formula that's been in place since the beginning of the scene. Consoles have always been the platform of choice and it's what professional players have used since 2008. Of course, there's not a huge difference when playing on a PlayStation 4 compared to a PC in terms of gameplay. The only aspect that changes is the graphics. From the enhanced Field of View to more frames and a faster refresh rate, playing on PC does take some getting used to for console players. This aspect alone could turn some current pros off from the idea.
Not only this, but the new PlayStation 5 is releasing this holiday season. Would Activision really want to break its good-standing with Sony to change up the Call of Duty League entirely? It's unclear at this point. However, the PS5 does feature some advancements in the graphics department, so while it's not on PC, it looks more like it than in previous years.
In addition to that, using a PS5 across the board means complete universal access. With playing on PC, the CDL would need to ensure every player has the same hardware to keep competitive integrity in place. This would entail getting players the same monitor, PC, etc.
As for the pros of playing on PC, players would have access to more customisation than ever. Higher frames mean better gameplay and improved graphics mean more aspects can be seen on the map. As previously stated, this would be a huge leap for many players. Also, console esports are becoming a little outdated, as there aren't too many scenes that still use a console for competitive play.
Overall, the switch to PC could be great for the player base. Improved graphics and frame rates could be a great quality of life change for both the players and viewers. However, this comes at a cost, as Activision would need to completely overhaul its current system. Also, the relations built with Sony could be put in jeopardy as well. All in all, it seems like a switch to PC could be in the cards later down the line but for right now, there are simply too many moving parts.
Images via Activision