Activision has had to deal with a 50% decline in physical sales in year-over-year comparisons to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. The response to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's slump was unsurprising to gamers, but the company is responding with a way to potentially compensate for the slow sales.
The free trial won't just be another multiplayer weekend with double XP and a few maps to play across with your friends. Activision is stepping up their game, allowing gamers to access three different game modes, including two different missions from the single-player campaign, a capped version of the multiplayer game mode, and a capped version of the zombies game mode.
The two campaign missions include "Rising Threat" and "Black Sky", the first two missions of the game that involve a little bit of boots-on-the-ground gunplay and a small taste of the game's space-oriented dogfighting.
The multiplayer will be accessible up until level 15, and the Zombies In Spaceland level -- themed after a 1980s amusement park -- will allow gamers to reach level 3. In the case of the zombies mode, the low level cap means that you won't get far before becoming mince meat, but it's enough to get you hooked and at least see most of what the level has to offer. All of your accomplishments from the trial will carry over if you decide to purchase the full game.
The free trial seems to be Activision's last ditch effort to increase sales to round out the quarter for one of their biggest franchises. However, a lot of gamers just didn't take to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. They made it known beforehand that they weren't interested in yet another year of future warfare. Activision has been riding the motif hard ever since Call of Duty: Ghosts, and they haven't really let up, giving gamers future fatigue.
The major downvotes on all the trailers stayed consistent for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare from its debut trailer leading up to its launch trailer. Gamers continued to pelt Activision with negativity while showering Battlefield 1 with positivity. Electronic Arts most certainly took notice of this trend and wisely positioned both Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 to launch within weeks of each other and within weeks of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's release.
This maneuver was seen as risky by investors and market analysts, but EA saw it as an opportunity to permanently crush Call of Duty's market share. EA set out to cannibalize the FPS market with two blockbuster shooters, and it obviously worked because despite Titanfall 2 not selling quite as well as it should have, it turned out to be an easy fan-favorite through word of mouth. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, however, hasn't quite received the same level of community or commercial praise as the two EA-published titles and it's been struggling to maintain pace with 2015's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
The diminished physical sales in the U.S., was coupled with the diminished physical sales in the U.K. One caveat is that we don't quite know how well the game is doing digitally, since those numbers haven't been made public; apparently, it wasn't too well given that they're already trying to bolster sales with a free trial just a month after its release.