Call of Duty (CoD) Warzone is a battle royal video game released on March 10th, 2020. The game has been a massive hit with over 60 million downloads in its first two months. Warzone is an entertaining, well-developed game, but it is also much more. Activison, the publisher of Warzone, has employed several innovative marketing strategies to galvanize the game’s rapid success in the crowded battle royale videogame market consisting of established games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
In examining six features of Activison’s marketing success with Warzone, marketers and software developers can learn essential and innovative practices that may enhance customer acquisition, retention, and profitability. This examination includes a thorough analysis of how Warzone’s marketing mix — product, price, promotion, and place — has facilitated its ongoing success.
1. Free-to-Play Model/Customer Acquisition
In the past decade, many games have emerged under a free-to-play (F2P) model. Like Fortnite and Apex Legends, Warzone exists within a F2P model. As a free product, a F2P game has a low buy-in and start-up costs for consumers; anyone with the supported console can download and play the game. Activision could have easily priced Warzone similarly to other CoD games, but such a strategy would have been imprudent. In terms of price, Activision positioned Warzone as an analogous product to its competitors. But by leveraging resources such as the graphics engine and gameplay from its existing product, Modern Warfare, Activision offers a premium product over its competitors with higher production and gameplay value.
Moreover, rather than cannibalizing/splitting its customer-base by launching Warzone as a stand-alone, priced product just a few months after the launch of CoD Modern Warfare, Activision released Warzone as a complementary product to CoD Modern Warfare. Therefore, the player base is not split amongst two products with high start-up costs. Instead, players can seamlessly integrate into Warzone gameplay from Modern Warfare.
Upon downloading and opening Warzone, a consumer is immediately immersed in the CoD ecosystem. Warzone’s main screen exists within CoD Modern Warfare’s menu screen. For players who have…