If you're buying the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III on release day, chances are you're playing on one of the current generations of consoles. However, there are still fans who have yet to upgrade to an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, though maybe they will some time around the holiday season when both companies are sure to have deals on games and the system itself. But at launch, those fans will buy the game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, some of the content that comes standard in a Call of Duty game these days won't appear in what are now considered the previous generation of consoles.
The biggest change is the lack of a single-player campaign. With the main developer, Treyarch, focused on development on current consoles and PC, the task of creating the game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was left to other development teams, specifically Beenox and Mercenary Technology. Diehards usually forsake the single-player game at the beginning and dive straight to the multiplayer, but there are those who want to spend some time with the game's story and characters before taking on other human opponents. Treyarch said that the reason for omitting the campaign was that it "could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware."
Instead, all of the resources from the other two development teams was put towards the multiplayer experience, so those on older consoles can still enjoy the same online gameplay as their newer counterparts. Even the new 1940s-based Zombies mode called "Shadow of Evil" is still on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. However, the weapon customization feature called the "Weapon Paint Shop" and the various eSports tools introduced a few months ago won't be included on the older consoles.
With the clock winding on development time, it seems that Treyarch is dictating where to put most of the effort for content on past consoles. Spending time on the single-player would detract from the popular multiplayer gameplay, and so the other companies are putting all their eggs in one basket to make the game's competitive modes up to par with fans' expectations.
However, this is also a sign of the times. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are nearing their two-year milestone on the market, which is more than enough time for gamers to get their hands on the latest console. Development on other games, not just Call of Duty: Black Ops III, will still make an appearance on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but in the coming months and years, those games will dwindle, and eventually games won't come out for those outdated consoles at all anymore.