Can CODM maintain the market advantage as PUBG is all set to make a comeback?
I was one of the many people who were very disappointed when PUBG got banned due to Chinese connections and Privacy Issues. This ban came amidst the rapid growth of the eSports and game streaming culture in India, resulting in a lot of full-time gamers and their respective audiences to be severely affected.
I enjoy Battle Royal and I was looking for a switch to kill time post my work schedule. Hence CODM was the best alternative for my leisure. Upon playing the game for the past couple of weeks, I was able to crack into the Legendary Tier. Here are a couple of insights that can help both the companies understand their product gap better.
The transition of Combat Style
In PUBG, I used to be a very safe player. I would be all set for the match if I had a suppressed AVM along with a compressed M416. But the chances of getting this combo were only around 60% depending upon how lucky I was to the drop. I enjoy sniping and my combat style was more laid back and defensive. My win rate while going berserk in PUBG was very slim. Hence maintaining a combat style that was balanced when needed, proved to guarantee a higher win rate.
When it comes to CODM, the entire combat style took a 180 turn. With an LMG, it was easier to go berserk in multiplayer and the high capacity bullet sprays were very helpful in battle royal matches. I had to only hold back a bit once I got to Masters 5 which followed the Legendary Tier.
This transition did feel a bit strange to me cause technically, berserkers don't tend to last long unless they are on a strong roll. There were two possible reasons for this.
The general Jump, move, and spray tactic from PUBG proved very beneficial for the CODM transition.
The ranking system is not very competent in assigning the right matching tier level players to the room.
Back in PUBG, I used to sign in from a different account to get a lower-level profile and get matched to noobs for breaking some records. But after 1 or 2 matches, the algorithm detects the Kills to Death ratio and I don't get matched to the same type of players despite being in the same tier.
This detection of the K/D ratio is not present in CODM. Hence people who are professionals in other TPP combat games, find it easier to dominate once they get in.
Concerning Tier Ranking, PUBG takes a lot of care to split the rankings based on the server in which the player plays. I've never tried to go past Crown 5 because it took too much effort and investment in time. Each tier jump required a minimum of 6 successful matches.
In contrast to CODM, it took me 3 weeks to crack into Legendary, with a minimum of 5 successful matches or less to jump the tier.
PUBG has done a good job of having multiple maps in Battle Royal but a few in Multiplayer Maps. But in this aspect of Maps, CODM does fall short in Battle Royal but they've compensated for this in their Multiplayer Modes.
While introspecting the decision of having only one BR map, it does make sense because BR players like to be very familiar with a single map that they are good at.
Balance of MP vs BR
CODM is clearly the winner in this segment because it does a brilliant job in balancing both the modes as compared to PUBG, along with a couple of additional features in each of the formats. PUBG is known for its Battle Royal experience, but it is still lagging behind the multiplayer format.
Avatars & Graphics
Each game strongly revolves around the influences of the designers and the theme with which the game wants to be associated with.
PUBG inclines a post-modern theme design and its avatars have strong Asian influences. While comparing with CODM, the avatars are very contemporary with a dash of futuristic design themes.
Concerning in-game graphics, CODM does fair better in terms of the lobby screen, pre-game & post-game transitions, in-game design, and color schemes. PUBG could work a bit more for its design themes. The postmodern theme could have a bit more depth in terms of shadows, a more close up view of the avatars, and a higher saturation in the tones.
CODM is known for bringing Operator Skills into the Gameplay. Depending upon how tight your teammates are, these operator skills do come well in hand in sticky situations.
PUBG relies straight up on the gamer's use of the weapon along with the tactical equipments to aid the strategy. The team strategies could generally be flanking, snipe cover, and more, depending upon what your team wants to achieve based on the match stage.
To date, I've not used any of the PUBG tactics in CODM because the operator skills do compensate well for what a team can achieve with respect to what happens in PUBG.
Player & Weapon Physics
In the higher tiers in CODM, the most annoying thing that I've found is the lay and spray tactic that players use while the opponent comes head-on. When you lock onto the opponent and account for the recoil control during the shot, the player lays down completely and sprays on the target. While looking at this undue advantage, CODM doesn't account for stray bullets that are shot during the position change. Thus when a player decides to do this, they land perfectly vertical recoil shots without any strays.
This same player physics applies to shooting your targets while jumping from a height. CODM has not corrected this aspect of the gameplay.
Whereas in PUBG, every nonfluid movements contribute to stray bullets, especially the full body lays and altitude jumps.
Weapon Performance Tuning
In PUBG, with or without attachments, you can manage. While I am looking at a good assault rifle, a vertical foregrip and an AR suppressor would be gold during a Battle Royal. The guns don't have many options for performance tuning other than adding 3 to 4 attachments.
But COD takes weapons tuning to a different level altogether. The specialized Gunsmith section requires you to research the varying degrees of the attachment and how it contributes to the overall stats of the weapon in 6 different categories.
The only flaw that I see in COD concerning attachments is that the suppressor is absolutely useless. I have not found much of a tactical advantage in using suppressors. Whenever I've used them, it significantly reduces gun control and range. Hence I prefer a compensator that aids in the overall accuracy and control.
The experience I've had in controlling vehicles in CODM has been absolute Kakoos. The only vehicle I can control is the helicopter. Even though CODM offers a wide variety of vehicle options, all of them are really hard to control. But PUBG has nailed the in-game vehicle physics. While transitioning from PUBG to CODM vehicles, the gap is huge and very evident.
Marketing of Lightning Deals
I've never spent money on any game's in-app purchases, especially for a battle pass. But CODM did a good pop up marketing ad that showed a 95% reduction in battle passes at the end of the season. As a result, for the price of Rs. 75, I managed to get 4 premium characters and mystic weapons that I frequently use for my Multiplayer matches.
I was using an iPad mini iOS 8 for PUBG. The main reason that I did not venture into CODM was that the game was not supported on iOS 8. Even though I wanted to try it out, the game switch inertia was strong from my end. It required a lot of adjustments to transition to a new phone and try it out. The eventual PUBG ban was the catalyst to try it out once and for all.
While comparing all these factors, I feel CODM can still maintain a good market share and an industry advantage. If CODM does address the following product gaps, it can solidify its stance for the long run.
Tunning player, weapon, and vehicle physics to as real as possible.
Improving the ranking algorithm to detect abnormal K/D ratios to find out hidden professional players in lower tier levels.
Bringing in more tactical advantage for suppressors especially for BR as it doesn't seem to have a stark difference with a compensator.
Extending the game compatibility to older software versions.
There are still many more evident product gaps that can be found in the game. But from my limited gameplay experience with CODM, I conclude that by addressing the above product gaps, it can have a significant market advantage over PUBG.