Call of Duty: Mobile gives players a chance to try the iconic series on their phones, but it’s also playable for free on PC with the kind of precision that can only come from a keyboard and mouse. After its October 1 launch, the free-to-play Call of Duty: Mobile was downloaded more than 35 million times in just the first three days.
This isn’t the first Call of Duty game to appear on a mobile platform, but it’s by far the largest. Call of Duty: Zombies and its sequel appeared on iOS, as did a follow-up to Modern Warfare 2 and a strategy game similar to Clash of Clans called Call of Duty: Heroes. However, none of these games has had much success, and most of them bear little resemblance to the rest of the series. Activision seems to have much higher hopes for Call of Duty: Mobile. Developed by Tencent subsidiary TiMi Studios, it’s a much more polished production than a typical mobile game, and even features lots of familiar locations that have shown up in previous Call of Duty games. As with most free-to-play mobile games, it’s also packed with microtransactions, which Activision is likely banking on to make its expensive development worth it.
One less predictable element of Call of Duty: Mobile is that it’s fully playable on PC with mouse and keyboard controls. In fact, doing so is incredibly simple. To get started, players just need to download Gameloop, an Android emulator built by Tencent, and install Call of Duty: Mobile. According to the Gameloop website, playing that way allows a wider field of view - which can be very important in competitive shooters - as well as remappable keys and the accuracy boost that comes from using a keyboard and mouse. Taken together, it’s clear that playing on PC will be a massive upgrade over playing on a phone with touch controls. That doesn't mean that phone players will get the short end of the stick, though, since opponents will be separated by input method.
While downloading an emulator to play a mobile game on PC may sound sketchy, it’s actually legal and officially supported in this case. Gameloop is run by Tencent, the owner of Call of Duty’s developer, and it’s useful for more than just playing Call of Duty: Mobile. The most well-known game on the service is the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but it also hosts Ragnarok M: Eternal Love - a sequel to the hit old-school MMO Ragnarok Online - and a variety of other games.
It may seem strange to play a game built for phone on PC, especially one with mobile right there in the title. The upsides are pretty obvious, though, from the more comfortable control scheme to not having to worry about limited phone battery life. For those without a phone fast enough to run Call of Duty: Mobile or a PC powerful enough to play the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it’s an even better deal, letting them keep up with the series without breaking the bank for a new gaming system.