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Is Vanguard Becoming Free? The Insider Scoop on Call of Duty‘s Pricing Shift

Hey friend! If you‘ve been hearing rumors about Call of Duty: Vanguard going free-to-play, you‘ve come to the right place. As a gaming industry expert and Call of Duty superfan, I‘ve got the inside scoop on whether Vanguard and other CoD titles are ditching their premium price tags.

In short – Vanguard itself is not going permanently free at the moment. But with limited-time free access events and a new free Warzone title, there are more opportunities than ever to play Call of Duty without paying a cent!

In this detailed guide, I‘ll break down exactly what parts of Vanguard you can play for free, whether its price drop is on the horizon, and what this pricing shift means for the future of the Call of Duty series. Time to dig in!

Free Access Weekends: Sampling Vanguard‘s Multiplayer

Since Vanguard‘s release in November 2021, Activision has been offering regular free multiplayer weekends where you can dive into the full Vanguard multiplayer experience even without buying the game!

These limited-time events typically run from Friday to Monday and provide free access to:

  • All of Vanguard‘s multiplayer maps and modes
  • New content and updates from seasonal refreshes
  • Weapon progression and other leveling systems
  • Battle Pass participation and challenges

Player response has been incredible, with over 4 million players hopping on during each free access weekend. For context, Vanguard normally averages around 50-100k players per day.

Here‘s a quick timeline of Vanguard‘s free multiplayer events so far:

Free Access PeriodDate
Weekend 1Dec. 16-20, 2021
Weekend 2Jan. 20-24, 2022
Weekend 3Feb. 18-21, 2022
Weekend 4March 30-April 4, 2022
Weekend 5May 18-24, 2022
Weekend 6July 14-20, 2022

As you can see, these free periods have been offered consistently 2-3 times per quarter since launch. All progress carries over if you purchase the full game later too!

But unfortunately, Vanguard‘s campaign and zombie modes don‘t get unlocked during the free events. Those remain gated behind the full $59.99+ purchase.

Rotating Free Modes: Trying Small Chunks of Vanguard

In addition to the multiplayer weekends, Activision has been opening up smaller parts of Vanguard for free on a regular basis:

  • New modes like Arms Race when they are added
  • Champion Hill tournament survival
  • Featured playlists like Shipmas
  • Limited time trials via console stores

These are bite-sized samples focusing on specific maps or gameplay modes rather than full access to multiplayer. But they give curious players yet another no-cost way to experience Vanguard before paying!

Warzone Pacific and Warzone 2.0: Major Free CoD Offerings

Now, even though Vanguard itself isn‘t permanently free, the Call of Duty franchise has two major free-to-play titles:

  • Warzone Pacific: Vanguard-integrated map launched in Dec 2021.
  • Warzone 2.0: Brand new Warzone for Modern Warfare 2 in Nov 2022.

Warzone remains 100% free for all players, even after its integration with paid games like Vanguard. You can enjoy signature Call of Duty gunplay, operator skills, and progression systems without spending a dime!

Here‘s a quick overview of what‘s included in Warzone:

  • Battle royale
  • Plunder
  • DMZ mode (Warzone 2.0)
  • Shared progression with paid CoDs
  • Funded by battle pass & microtransactions

Now, owning Vanguard or Modern Warfare provides some benefits in Warzone, like early access to new weapons. But the core experience remains free, providing a quality CoD fix!

Is Vanguard Going Free-to-Play Permanently?

With all these free access periods and free-to-play Warzone titles, you might be wondering:

Is Activision going to make Vanguard permanently free-to-play?

The current answer seems to be no – Vanguard still remains a premium title at $59.99+ with no announcements of a permanent free shift.

Here‘s my take on why Vanguard multiplayer staying paid makes sense:

  • Vanguard sold fewer copies than recent CoDs – devalues the product to go permanently free
  • Warzone 2.0 fills the need for a free CoD experience
  • Free weekends are great for marketing and player spikes
  • Losing full price sales could hurt revenue short-term

However, there are also good reasons why Vanguard could go free-to-play eventually:

  • Maintain healthy player population as new CoDs launch
  • Drive battle pass purchases and microtransactions
  • Compete with other successful F2P shooters
  • Smooth transition to a new Warzone or CoD sequel

But again, Activision has not officially announced or teased any plans to make Vanguard a permanent F2P title. The free weekends seem focused primarily on marketing and promoting engagement.

We‘ll have to wait and see if they increase the free periods throughout 2023 and beyond. That could signal a gradual shift to a free-to-play model long term.

Modern Warfare 2 and Beyond: A Shift Toward Free Content?

2022‘s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also launched as a full-priced $69.99 title. And rather than go permanently free, it has received similar temporary free access periods.

For example, a free MW2 weekend from Dec 15-20, 2022 provided early access to some maps and modes. This allowed players to sample the gameplay before buying.

However, MW2 is deeply integrated with the entirely free-to-play Warzone 2.0. This brand new Warzone offers players a high-quality, cost-free way to enjoy CoD‘s signature progression and combat.

Having this free experience available could reduce the pressure on Activision to make Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer permanently free as well. Players already have a zero-cost way to access CoD gameplay through Warzone 2.0.

But looking to the future, I predict Activision will leverage free or low-cost models even more over the next few years to compete with other successful free-to-play shooters.

Potential pricing shifts could include:

  • Making last year‘s CoD multiplayer permanently free
  • Launching a brand new free-to-play CoD multiplayer title
  • Providing a discounted "low cost" version of current CoDs

This allows Activision to keep revenue flowing in from the latest premium title, while opening up accessibility and driving engagement across the whole player base.

So in summary – don‘t expect Vanguard or even MW2 to go totally free overnight. But do expect Activision to experiment with more free or low-cost entry points as free-to-play gaming continues dominating the industry!

Key Takeaways on CoD‘s Pricing Evolution

Let‘s recap the key points on whether Vanguard and other Call of Duty titles are going free-to-play:

  • Vanguard multiplayer is NOT permanently free: remains a $59.99+ premium title

  • Regular free weekends provide access to Vanguard‘s maps/modes for a limited time

  • Warzone Pacific and Warzone 2.0 are entirely free-to-play experiences

  • Don‘t expect Vanguard to suddenly go free – pricing likely to remain unchanged short term

  • But future CoD pricing shifts toward "free" seem very likely

  • More low-cost versions, permanently free previous titles, and free-to-play CoD entries could be on the horizon!

So while you still need to pay up to enjoy all of Vanguard or Modern Warfare 2 today, take advantage of those free weekends and Warzone to sample the goods.

And keep an eye out for more free or discounted Call of Duty experiences as Activision adapts to the explosive growth of free-to-play gaming!

Let me know if you have any other CoD pricing questions. Happy gaming!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.