by Dave Thier via Forbes

Want to play through Treyarch’s gritty futuristic campaign for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3? You’ll need an Xbox One, PS4 or PC. Less than two months out of release, Activision has announced that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game won’t be getting a campaign mode, though they will still be getting zombies and multiplayer. The older machines just can’t take the heat, the company says.

“The ambitious scope of the 1-4 player [co-op] Campaign design of the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware,” Activision said in a blog post. “Delivering the best possible gameplay experience on all platforms is always our highest priority.”

As a result, Activision is dropping the price down to $49.99 for last-gen versions, meaning that it’s effectively pricing the campaign mode at $10. To be fair, most people don’t even play the campaign, and fewer still finish it. Still, it’s a fundamental piece of the experience with each new releases, if only because it serves to ground the multiplayer and give each game something that approximates a distinct flavor. The $10 price drop just doesn’t quite feel like enough — maybe $20 would do it.

Actually, a multiplayer-only version of Call of Duty for $40 would probably something a lot of gamers would be interested in, whether they’re playing on current or last-gen. And that’s also, probably, why we’ll never get it. The decision to ditch the campaign raises the question of whether or not Activision will bother at all with last-gen next year: Call of Duty needs massive install bases to make its numbers, but at a certain point, you’ve just got to pull the plug.

I’m one of those rare players that looks forward to Call of Duty every year, but really only for the campaign. The last two outings haven’t been great, but when this series gets it right it has a control over pacing that only Naughty Dog can exceed. Expect more as we get closer to release.

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