Call of Duty: Warzone has exploded in popularity since its launch in March 2020, gaining over 100 million players globally. This free-to-play battle royale game based in the Call of Duty universe has become one of the biggest games in the world. Now, Activision is set to bring the full Warzone experience to mobile for the first time with Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile launching in 2023.
The biggest question on every fan‘s mind: Will Warzone Mobile be free to play like the original? The answer is yes, Warzone Mobile will be completely free-to-play with no upfront cost to download or play. This is great news for mobile gamers excited to play Warzone on the go.
In this in-depth guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about Warzone Mobile and its free-to-play model including hardware requirements, gameplay features, release timeline and more. Let‘s dive in!
Warzone Mobile Overview
For those unaware, Activision officially announced Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile in September 2022 – a standalone mobile version separate from Call of Duty: Mobile. Warzone Mobile is built natively for mobile devices and will bring the massive scale combat experience of Warzone to smartphones and tablets for the first time.
According to the official announcement, Warzone Mobile will include signature elements like Operators, weapons, locations, and Call of Duty gameplay with matches supporting up to 120 players. As a mobile-first experience, it will also have new content and features tailored specifically for iOS and Android devices.
Activision has not yet provided an exact release date, but they are targeting a launch in 2023. Let‘s look at why Warzone Mobile will follow the same free-to-play model that has made the main Warzone so successful across console and PC.
Why Warzone Mobile Will Be Free-to-Play
The main console and PC versions of Call of Duty: Warzone are completely free-to-play with no paywall restricting access to the core gameplay. This free-to-play model has been crucial in attracting over 100 million registered players and cementing Warzone as one of the most popular games globally.
Activision has confirmed Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile will adopt the same free-to-play approach allowing gamers to download and play without spending money. This makes perfect sense for a few reasons:
Mobile gamers expect free games – The mobile gaming market is dominated by free-to-play titles supported by in-app purchases. Paid upfront mobile games are rare. Warzone Mobile must be free to align with mobile gamer expectations.
Maximizes player base – A free game results in mass adoption and a huge instant player base. This is key for quick matchmaking in a multiplayer shooter like Warzone which requires a large pool of players.
In-game purchases generate revenue – Activision generates ample revenues from optional cosmetic in-game purchases like the Battle Pass. The free entry maximizes players exposed to converting to paid offerings.
Consistency across platforms – Making the mobile version free-to-play maintains consistency with the model that has succeeded so well on console and PC.
In summary, a free-to-play model is standard in mobile gaming and gives Warzone Mobile the best chance of matching the insane popularity of the original Warzone. Activision is clearly committed to making the core game accessible to all mobile gamers for free.
Warzone Mobile Hardware Requirements
To deliver a true next-gen Warzone experience on mobile, the game requires high-end smartphone hardware to run smoothly. These are the minimum specs according to the official announcement:
- Chipset: Snapdragon 865 or higher, HiSilicon Kirin 1100 or higher, MediaTek Dimensity 700U or higher, Samsung Exynos 2100 or higher
- RAM: At least 6GB
- Device: iPhone 8 or newer
- RAM: At least 4GB
These requirements put Warzone Mobile firmly in premium flagship phone territory. The Snapdragon 865 chip was cutting-edge in 2020. 6GB RAM remains high for many current mid-range Android phones.
Apple‘s iPhone 8 was launched in 2017, which suggests those with older iPhones won‘t make the cut. Overall, you‘ll need a fairly recent high-end device to enjoy smooth Warzone Mobile gameplay.
But why are the requirements so steep? After all, Call of Duty: Mobile can run on much more modest phones.
The answer is Warzone Mobile aims to provide the same epic large-scale combat and graphics as the console and PC versions within mobile technical constraints. This demands serious horsepower that only modern premium phones can deliver.
According to Rod Fergusson, who heads the Call of Duty franchise at Activision, "We want to make sure that it is an authentic, great experience. We don‘t want to launch a watered-down WARZONE."
While this does limit the potential player pool compared to a more accessible game, Activision has prioritized quality over reach for Warzone Mobile. They are targeting flagship phone owners hungry for a true Warzone-grade experience untethered from their console or PC.
And for compatible premium phones, Warzone Mobile should absolutely sing.
Gameplay Features & Content
So what can mobile gamers expect from Warzone Mobile gameplay? While built for mobile devices, it aims to retain the distinctive Warzone feel that has made the console and PC version so addictive.
Here are some of the core gameplay features based on initial previews and testing:
Massive maps – Large open world maps spanning up to four square kilometers will support up to 120 players. Console/PC Warzone supports 150 players, but 120 is still huge for mobile battle royale.
Streamlined looting – Inventory and loot systems are optimized for mobile with automatic pickups and improved UI. Quick and easy on the go.
Familiar weapons – Range of actual modern weaponry like assault rifles, snipers and SMGs from Call of Duty. Weapons handle differently tuned for mobile controls.
Signature Operators – Play as and unlock familiar characters from across Call of Duty titles like Ghost, Soap and Price. Adds personality.
Tactical combat – Gunplay, movement and controls are tuned for touchscreens. Aim assist option helps precision.
Iconic features – Gulag 1v1 for redeployment,Contracts, Buy Stations, Ping system and more create an authentic Warzone mobile experience.
Vehicles – Range of ground vehicles like ATVs and SUVs to traverse the large maps. Vehicular combat brings new dynamics.
Social features – Party up with friends, use proximity voice chat, and share across platforms via account syncing.
Battle Pass – Free and premium reward tiers unlocked by playing and completing challenges. Provides tons of content.
This shows Warzone Mobile will pack the frantic action, weapons and features that make Warzone so compelling into a mobile package. While some graphical compromises are inevitable, the goal is retaining the look and feel of Warzone as much as possible.
According to Activision‘s Chris Plummer, "It‘s critical for us to bring a compelling experience in a native mobile package, but also be true to the look and feel of Warzone."
Besides the standard battle royale mode supporting up to 120 players, Warzone Mobile is also slated to include other familiar multiplayer modes tailored for mobile. There is no confirmed list yet, but based on Call of Duty: Mobile we can expect options like Team Deathmatch, Domination, Search and Destroy, and Free For All.
Combined with full account integration and progression sharing with console/PC Warzone 2.0, this will be a very complete portable Call of Duty experience for players to enjoy on the go. The free-to-play model maximizes the potential mobile audience that can experience Warzone‘s renowned action at no cost obstacles.
Regional Beta Testing Progress
Warzone Mobile is currently undergoing extensive quality and performance testing ahead of its full launch. The first closed beta began in September 2022 in just Australia allowing Activision to gather initial feedback and fix early issues.
This alpha test phase expanded to more regions including select areas of North and South America and Europe in March 2023. Further beta testing rollout is planned for East Asia.
These regional tests have been critical to optimizing Warzone Mobile for a diversity of devices and networks around the world. The goal is eliminating performance issues and bugs ahead of global release. Players in included regions can pre-register for access.
While details and feedback are limited given the closed nature of testing, early reactions seem largely positive. Key advantages called out include fluid graphics on high-end phones, controls well-tuned to touch input, and quick matchmaking thanks to growing player numbers.
Some concerns raised by testers include moderate battery drain, occasional glitches, and warm device temperatures after long competitive play sessions. But Activision is using the beta window to fix problems before launch.
Release Date Expectations
Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile was announced in September 2022 with a targeted global release in 2023. No exact launch date has been set yet.
However, given the progress in beta testing so far, industry analysts expect Warzone Mobile will likely hit worldwide availability in May 2023. This lines up with typical major mobile game release cadence.
The staggered regional beta rollout through March 2023 should ideally provide sufficient time to squash the biggest issues before the floodgates open to all mobile gamers in May.
But bear in mind the launch timing is still subject to change depending on development progress. If Activision feels the game needs more refinement, Warzone Mobile could slip to later in the year. We‘ll have to wait for official confirmation.
Either way, the free-to-play model means you‘ll be able to download and play Warzone Mobile at no cost as soon as it drops for your region.
Warzone Mobile vs Call of Duty Mobile
importantly, Warzone Mobile is being positioned as a standalone title separate from Call of Duty: Mobile. It will not replace COD Mobile, which has been massively successful with over 650 million downloads worldwide.
Activision has confirmed Call of Duty: Mobile will continue to receive regular updates and support as normal following the Warzone Mobile launch. The games will complement each other, with Warzone Mobile delivering the large battle royale experience while COD Mobile focuses on multiplayer arena modes.
This should reassure COD Mobile fans concerned support would cease. Think of Warzone Mobile as expanding the franchise on mobile rather than replacing existing games.
Both titles will share account integration allowing unified progression and inventory across the platforms. This enables playing on whichever device suits you best at the moment.
The Bottom Line
The countdown is on for Warzone Mobile‘s launch andActivision‘s efforts to bring the full free-to-play Warzone experience to the global mobile gaming masses. While an exact release date is still unconfirmed, the smart money expects availability by May 2023.
Despite high minimum hardware requirements, Warzone Mobile going completely free-to-play is fantastic news for mobile gamers. Unlocking the full slick Warzone gameplay to anyone with a compatible device should create a huge and active player base basically overnight.
Based on testing so far, players can expect an authentic Warzone-caliber experience expertly optimized for touch controls and mobile hardware. Quick looting, fluid combat and signature features like the Gulag pave the way for intense portable battle royale action.
While graphical compromises are inevitable, gameplay is king. And Warzone Mobile certainly aims to deliver the heart-pounding and addictive Warzone gameplay loop that has captivated so many for free.
For the millions who have wished they could enjoy Warzone on the go, that wish is set to become reality in 2023 thanks to Warzone Mobile. The ability to squad up with friends across platforms is just icing on the cake.
As a long-time Call of Duty fan, I for one can‘t wait to drop into a mobile Verdansk or fired up Al Mazrah map from anywhere when Warzone Mobile launches soon. See you in the Gulag on mobile!