Veteran Call of Duty player Ian “Crimsix” Porter expressed concern today for the future of the esport’s amateur competitive scene. Without an anti-cheat system and theater mode, the next title in the franchise could result in the degradation of any scene “under the Pro League level,” the Dallas Empire star said.
Professional Call of Duty was played on console before the Call of Duty League (CDL) switched to PC ahead of the 2021 season. The switch should help prevent network and performance issues and create the most balanced experience possible. But the switch also allows players to cheat more easily, especially at the amateur level.
Pro players are less likely to encounter cheaters, but amateur players don't have the same assistance, and the lack of a strong anti-cheat system makes it easier for players to cheat.
Crimsix said the lack of an anti-cheat system will contribute to the downfall of competitive Call of Duty below the professional level as cheaters will continue to be an issue. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War currently has a theater mode that can help players review matches if they encounter a player who might be cheating, but this mode isn't included in every title from the franchise.
Treyarch isn't developing the next Call of Duty title, which means it could ship without a theater mode. This, combined with the lack of a robust anti-cheat system, will make it incredibly difficult for amateur players to catch cheaters and could severely impact the entire scene.
Crimsix mentioned the switch to PC made sense from a financial standpoint since it reportedly helped Activision save money, but it could still negatively impact gameplay below the pro level.
Cheating in the amateur Call of Duty scene is a major issue, and many players have called on Activision to address the problem. If nothing changes, players will be forced to compete with the problems that could ruin the amateur-to-pro pipeline.