The Call of Duty video game franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, and it remains a popular choice among fans of first-person shooters. The newest title in the series–Black Ops III–is set to debut in November 2015, and in order to stay relevant in a changing video game landscape, the development team at Treyarch is looking online. In a recent edition of the Official Xbox Magazine, Treyarch developer Dan Bunting explained how the rise of gaming videos on sites like YouTube and Twitch have influenced his team’s decisions.
“I’d be lying if I said that [the emergence of video platforms such as Twitch and YouTube] didn’t factor into Black Ops III’s design,” said Bunting. “Now, we have to think not just about whether our game is fun to play, but also what it’s like to watch.” As GamesRadar notes, that comment is similar to previous statements from Mark Lamia, Treyarch’s studio head, who explained how his team is “developing better tools, more accessible tools and then getting it in [content creators’] hands and seeing what they do with it.”
Call of Duty is particularly popular on YouTube, where it ranked as the fourth-most popular game franchise in the latest edition of Octoly and Newzoo’s Game Franchise Rankings. Call of Duty titles have frequently cracked Twitch’s leaderboard as well, though the franchise was absent from the streaming service’s most recent rankings.
Treyarch certainly isn’t the first developer to take YouTube and Twitch into account, but Call of Duty’s recognition of streaming culture is significant. It’s evidence of online video’s crucial role in game development, from the smallest indie titles all the way up to the “AAA” class. Call of Duty is a $10 billion franchise–and it’s taking its cues from the Internet.