The fan favorite Spec Ops Survival mode will only be available to PS4 players for the first year after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's release. The console exclusive was revealed during Sony's State of Play livestream, where Activision dropped a new story trailer for the game. After the trailer, text that read "Special Ops Survival Mode play first on PS4" appeared onscreen, with tiny text at the bottom saying "Timed Exclusive Content Until October 1 2020."
Fans noticed the caveat right away, and immediately took to the internet to voice their opinion about it. Popular Call of Duty zombies YouTuber Mr. Dalek JD pointed out that the zombies mode won't be available for an entire year for those on Xbox One and PC.
Woah... Modern Warfare Spec Ops "Survival Mode" is exclusively on Playstation 4 for an entire year.That really sucks for Xbox & PC players. Imagine not being able to play Zombies for an entire year whilst another platform does... what the heckSeptember 24, 2019
Another Twitter user wondered what Sony was getting out of the exclusivity.
Legit, who would even buy a PS4 just for Survival on Modern Warfare? Imagine working at Sony and offering money for that kind of deal that has 0 benefit to them and only hurts playerbases.September 25, 2019
Other responses from Xbox One and PC players suggested that Activision didn't care about the other platforms, while others said they were cancelling their preorders.
It wasn't until a day after the State of Play Livestream that fans got any sort of response from the developers. On September 25, Infinity Ward's narrative director Taylor Kurosaki replied to Twitter user @EddingsJulian, who asked Kurosaki why he couldn't play Spec Ops for an entire year. Kurosaki corrected the Tweet by writing "You can play Spec Ops and every new bit of content we drop, day one. The only timed exclusivity is Survival, which is a sliver of Spec Ops." He then went on to suggest that decision was not his to make:
Up to you, I respect your decision. We do our BEST every day to give our players the best experience possible. There are decisions that are above all of our pay grades that have to be considered. I understand your feelings, but this is much better than others I have seen.September 24, 2019
Kurosaki then said that Survival mode was only 1% of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Xbox and PC gamers would still get to enjoy 99% of the game. However, that may not feel like an accurate percentage for a lot of gamers.
The entire controversy is eerily similar to the reported disagreements between Treyarch, the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Activision over post-launch monetization efforts. Due to season passes and microtransactions, controversy surrounded the otherwise well-reviewed game, and left fans wondering how the next title would fare.
So far, it seems like the controversy will carry over into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare…
If controversy doesn't bother you and you're still buying the game, here's 7 things we learned from the Call of Duty Modern Warfare beta.