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Filipino gamers rejoice, for Call of Duty arrives cheaper if you’re subscribed to Game Pass

The next Call of Duty game will be on Game Pass when it debuts later this year. That’s great news for  those who pay monthly for Microsoft’s all-you-can-eat video game subscription service.

In an ostentatious trailer featuring the digital likenesses of Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and Saddam Hussein, Microsoft confirmed we’ll be getting an extensive reveal for the next installment of Call of Duty. That will be Black Ops 6, the latest in the sub-series of Call of Duty games that focuses on clandestine missions of a less than legal, moral or ethical nature.

Tagged at the end of the trailer are the words, “Play it day one with Game Pass.” These six words are synonymous with Xbox Game Studios’ first-party productions such as Hi-Fi Rush, Starfield and Forza Motorsport, which routinely get added to the Game Pass library as they launch. While gamers don’t get to keep the games when they unsubscribe, trying big games without incurring the sunk cost of a purchase is a boon for those with tremendous gaming appetites.

Black Ops 6 will be the first Call of Duty title to debut on the service, and that’s a big deal when you consider the generally thrifty, “wais” nature of the average Filipino gamer. Historically, COD hasn’t had many devotees in the Philippines, thanks to publisher Activision’s insistence on keeping the price of years old installments high. The original Black Ops goes for PHP 2,400 on Steam despite being over a decade old, while the five year old Modern Warfare reboot goes for PHP 3,600.

At best, Filipino players gravitate towards Call of Duty: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale experience and its mobile counterpart Warzone Mobile. On Game Pass, the next Call of Duty has the opportunity to attract a wider audience of people, Filipinos or otherwise, who wouldn’t be willing to throw down that many pesos. At a PHP 119 subscription fee, Game Pass plays to the tingi culture of Filipino consumers, what one might call “sachet gaming.”

Having Black Ops 6 on Game Pass lifts the cordon on a self-styled premium experience and can greatly benefit the potential of the game’s multiplayer experience, which like all multiplayer games, lives and dies by its active user count. One could argue that Microsoft and Activision stand to lose a big chunk of money upfront for every user who chooses to play Black Ops 6 on Game Pass, but many of these players are likely those who would never have opted to pick up Call of Duty in the first place.

Simply put, you play into the existing FOMO for Call of Duty, a series already up against the wall when it comes to user engagement. With games like Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft), Apex Legends (EA), Destiny 2 (Sony/Bungie) and Naraka Bladepoint (NetEase) topping the charts, active users are harder to earn than ever. And results have shown that Game Pass really works best for name franchises that hit the limit on how many units they can sell.

Earlier this year, Microsoft unloaded Diablo IV, another prohibitively priced 70 dollar game, onto the Game Pass service. At a year old, Blizzard’s dark gothic loot-based kill-em-all has likely sold most of the copies it will ever sell. But being on Game Pass invigorated Diablo IV, racking up 10 million hours of play in the first 10 days on the service. While it still doesn’t place on the service’s top 10, the boost to engagement is welcome especially when you factor in microtransactions and season passes.

The potential for Call of Duty on Game Pass is just as incredible, and Filipinos might be among those who will benefit the most. Call of Duty Black Ops 6 will get its worldwide reveal on June 9, following the Xbox Games Showcase.