Focal Point

Focal Point: Is Jackal Assault A Missed Opportunity Or Good Marketing For VR?

Focal Point: Is Jackal Assault A Missed Opportunity Or Good Marketing For VR?

We ask our industry panel - the brightest and sharpest VR professionals from around the world - one question about the VR industry, business, technology or trending stories every week. Here’s what they think about Activision’s decision to give away a VR ‘level’ on CoD: Infinite Warfare.


Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare released last week, with the Jackal Assault VR Experience available for free to all on the PlayStation Store, whether they own the game or not. Is this a smart marketing move, or a missed opportunity to offer VR content that has meaningful impact on the core experience of a AAA title? Is it more important to offer consumers experiences or engagement at this stage of VR’s development?


Stephanie Llamas, Director of Research and Insights at SuperData Research 

This is a very smart marketing move by Activision.
Stephanie Llamas

“This is a very smart marketing move by Activision. First, it shows they have an interest in VR without needing to get behind it full-force. This gives them visibility as a tech leader in the space, creating awareness among the VR community so that if and when they do provide more content, users know what to expect. “Second, it markets CoD:IW in a unique, engaging way to people who may not have bought it, while also giving gamers who have VR an added freebie. They make plenty of money off the franchise, but in the end will always want more users. There's no risk on the part of the VR user to try it out, so why not? That means it also helps them experiment with an untapped market using content that is attached to a highly lucrative franchise, so they don't need to monetize off of their experiment, just encourage users to buy the full game.”

Jackal Assault VR Experience: a very smart marketing move by Activision.


Jonathan Wagstaff, Country Manager - UK & IE at CONTEXT 

I'd like major studios to take a risk and release these games with native VR support.
Jonathan Wagstaff

“There's really a wider question of AAA VR titles as a whole at the moment. Oculus have produced some very impressive, high-budget titles early on such as Chronos and the other major vendors must catch up. “We also need to start seeing more core AAA releases available in VR. I've heard that Alien: Isolation has a hidden VR mode for the Oculus DK2 (what a missed opportunity for a brilliant CV1 launch title!) and that there are VR versions of games like Doom coming next year, but I'd also like EA and other major studios to consider taking a risk and releasing these kinds of games with native VR support. “Perhaps short VR experiences are the way to wean consumers onto VR technology, but they need player appetite to be sated by more substantial releases whilst they're still hungry.”

Chronos: a very impressive, high-budget title on Rift

Thomas Ormond, Digital Entertainment and VR/AR business Advisor

“VR is not yet mainstream, as we all know. If the technology is improving day by day, the global content creators aren’t offering AAA due to a lack of investment from major publishers. Therefore, investment remains low to average at the moment. “In order to attract consumers, it’s hard to suddenly impose a new platform like VR without offering a chance to try before buying. End users hear a lot about VR experiences; good ones and bad ones. We have to make them comfortable before asking them to invest heavily in this new format. If we rush, they will postpone their engagement and keep buying 2D [flat] screen videogames.”


Dean Johnson, Head of Innovation at Brandwidth 

This is a bad move if a ‘pay nothing, expect everything’ mentality is encouraged.
Dean Johnson

“Totally missed opportunity to make (even more) money. We released our ‘Guinness World Records: At Your Fingertips’ app for the iPad on the day it launched. Apple’s tablet was an empty vessel with an audience desperate to justify their purchase. Great content sold at premium prices just to demonstrate the capabilities.”

“PSVR owners are in a similar situation where they’ve already committed to the purchase and now want AAA products and experiences. We’re not talking about the mobile market - this lot are willing to pay £40 for a game, so asking £5 and above for VR-specific content would still have been viewed as a bargain. I think this is a bad move if a ‘pay nothing, expect everything’ mentality is encouraged.”

Guinness World Records helped fill an empty vessel at a premium price.

Managing Editor

Steve is an award-winning editor and copywriter with nearly 25 years’ experience specialising in consumer technology and video games. He was part of a BAFTA nominated developer studio. In addition to editing, Steve contributes to,, and, as well as creating marketing content for a range of SMEs and agencies.