Yesterday, Call of Duty: Warzone finally landed on GeForce NOW and you can play on your Chromebook. I was very, very excited by this and as soon as it became available for me (around 1PM yesterday), I set about the task of diving into a game that I knew very little about. Sure, I play COD:Mobile, but that’s a completely different thing.
And right away, things were a bit strange. Quirky is maybe a better terminology, but I wanted to share a bit about the experience so that any of you venturing in to play some Call of Duty on your Chromebook over the next few days will be a bit more prepared for the odd interactions you have to go through to play these games.
No XBOX PC Game Pass necessary
First and foremost, you don’t need the newly-added XBOX PC Game Pass to play any game in the Call of Duty:HQ (more on the whole HQ thing in a second). Though this new streaming partnership came to fruition as a part of Microsoft and NVIDIA’s new partnership, the added monthly subscription to XBOX PC Game Pass is not required whatsoever to play Call of Duty. So save yourself the cash if COD is all you are interested in.
Lots of restarts
Unlike what I’ve experienced with most streaming games like Fortnite or APEX Legends, Call of Duty continually updates upon launch and I have to restart. The session stays open and the game will re-open, but they really need to do a better job of getting the game updated in the background on these rigs so that I don’t see that stuff. Streaming gaming has a huge leg up on conventional, local gaming in the sense that you never have to wait on updates to download and install. That feels a bit broken with Call of Duty right now and it’s a shame.
Purchase and pre-purchase confusion
Once you go to launch Call of Duty from GeForce NOW, things get weird pretty quickly. COD:MWII, COD:MWIII and COD:Warzone are all bundled in a new package called Call of Duty:HQ. But when you first launch Call of Duty from the GeForce NOW portal, you’ll likely get a warning that you need to own these games on Steam to play them.
However, since COD:Warzone is actually free to play, you can simply ignore this prompt and continue on. For me, I immediately closed down GeForce NOW, headed to the Steam Store, and realized I’d have to pay at least $69 for either of the Call of Duty:Modern Warfare games, and I wasn’t really excited about that. I really just wanted to play Warzone, and after re-launching Call of Duty in GeForce NOW, I realized that prompt only applies if I attempt to launch either Modern Warfare game from the HQ console.
And if you do want to play MW II or MW III, you’ll need to purchase those outside of the COD:HQ terminal for now. They only show up as “Pre-Purchase” at the moment in HQ, but you can click those links and it will take you to the live listings in Steam for both games. If that sounds a bit confusing, trust me: it 100% is.
The COD:HQ setup is odd
Finally, the entire COD:HQ thing is just strange. The menus and navigation don’t feel great, and I’m a bit confused most times as to what game I’m actually in and what settings I’m changing. Pre-shaders show up as loading upon the launch of COD:HQ, but once I get into one of the actual games, those pre-shaders restart. It’s all just a bit unclear and I’m not 100% sure why they didn’t just simply launch 3 games on GeForce NOW and call it a day.
The gameplay and graphics are awesome
All that said, once you do get going and hop in a match, the game is so fun! With the graphics cranked up and playing at QHD 120Hz, I had a blast getting owned in a few matches. I managed to get a single kill in the Gulag, so I counted that a win and walked away ready to hop in again very soon to get better at this jaw-dropping game that is finally available to play on a Chromebook. You can bet I’ll be getting in some practice over the weekend, all the while hoping Activision cleans up the whole HQ UI a bit in the near term.