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Windows 10 Store refunding ‘Call of Duty’ players

by Kat Liu
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Courtesy of Activision.

From Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Courtesy of Activision.

I stumbled across a link on Reddit titled “Windows 10 Store refunding Call of Duty players..”. That immediately caught my attention because it’s a known fact that the Call of Duty franchise is wildly popular. Since it’s inception in 2003 with the OG Call of Duty to it’s most popular spin-off Modern Warfare 2: Black Ops, released in 2010, to more recent spin- offs like Advanced Warfare, COD has grossed over 10 billion dollars in US sales alone.

So why is Microsoft issuing refunds?  It’s a “micro” cross-platforming issue. So general cross-platforming refers to a player’s ability to play against other people who are playing the same game but from a different console. Generally, you can’t– if you play the game on PS4, you can’t play with people on XBOX One or PC, not a huge deal. But in this situation, Activision sold the PC version of COD from two sales platforms– the Steam store and Microsoft gaming store. Fair enough, they wanted to sell their products from as many distributors as possible presumably in order to maximize sales potential.

Here’s where it gets wonky- people who bought the game from Microsoft’s store couldn’t play with people who purchased the game through Steam, even though they were essentially the same PC version. Why you do dat Activision?? Surely you knew that a disproportionate amount of people were going to purchase the game from Steam. Yes, you did,  and you can’t even deny it because you sold it for less from the Window’s store compared to the Steam edition– $63.99 vs. $79.99, respectively.

But where did that leave the Microsoft store buyers? Angry as shit and waiting in 10-minute queue lines only to be matched to a handful of equally disgruntled gamers who made the mistake of buying the game through Microsoft. The player pool from Microsoft’s proprietary sales platform was so small, in fact, that Microsoft had to issue refunds to players that essentially had no one else to play with. It seems like Activision priced the two PC versions differently in order to attract more customers to buy from Microsoft 10’s platform, but clearly, that completely backfired. Yuckerz.

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