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Call of Duty Vanguard sales sucked — now it’s free to play

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot
(Image credit: Activision)

If you skipped Call of Duty Vanguard last November, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to give it a spin as the shooter is now free to play for a limited time. 

For the next two weeks, Vanguard’s multiplayer portion will be free to access on all platforms (that’s PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One and PC). This trial kicks off today (Wednesday, March 30) and runs until April 13, which gives you plenty of time to see the sights of WWII. Although, you won’t have full access to the game as the single-player component remains locked behind a purchase.  

Included in the trial are two brand new maps introduced as part of the game’s second season of content. The first is called Casablanca and is a medium-sized map set within a Moroccan marketplace. The second map is Gondola, another medium-sized environment set on a snowy mountain complete with ski-lifts for quick kills while on route to your objective. Fan favorites maps from the base game, such as Shipment, Hotel Royale and Das Haus are also available. 

The free multiplayer trial also offers access to a new game type: Arms Race. In this large-map mode your objective is to capture specific points on a map while in turn destroying enemy controlled bases using explosives. Classic Call of Duty modes such as team deathmatch, capture the flag and kill confirmed are also available to players during the free trial period. 

Activision has offered Call of Duty free trials in the past but they typically run for a couple of days over a single weekend. This Vanguard trial being significantly longer could be in response to the game’s underwhelming sales, and apparent struggles to maintain a strong player base. 

While Vanguard was still the best-selling game of 2021, its sales were down 36% (opens in new tab) compared to 2020’s Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War. This free trial is likely a last ditch attempt to boost the game’s player base as it could well be dwindling. 

While it would seem that Vanguard has failed to fully capture the interest of the Call of Duty community, we don't expect this year's entry in the annual franchise to suffer the same fate. Call of Duty 2022 is confirmed to be Modern Warfare sequel, which which almost certainty guarantee it stronger sales than the underwhelming Vanguard.

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.