Activision updated its official Call of Duty site with some new details on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Specifically, those versions of the game will be missing some features. Considering the age of those platforms, that shouldn’t be surprising. But the specifics actually surprised me a bit.

Those old versions of the game won’t contain the game’s campaign.

Over on the PS4, 53.5% of players have completed the first level of Advanced Warfare’s campaign. Only around a quarter of all players finished the campaign.

Weird, right? To hear the official update tell it, the large, co-op nature of the Black Ops III campaign was too much for Beenox and Mercenary Technology to cram into an Xbox 360/PS3-sized hole. Additionally, the gun painting features and “the new suite of eSports tools” will also be limited to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

This sort of thing happens as we turn from one generation to the next. At some point, enough players are playing on the new boxes to make it crazy to continue to hamstring your games by making sure they’re roughly identical on the new machines. The whole thing reminds me of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for the PS1, which was a significantly different game when compared to its PS2 counterpart. That’s certainly not the only example, but you get my point.

The PS3/360 version of Black Ops III will still contain the zombies mode and the competitive multiplayer, and it’ll sell for $49.99. That’s a $10 discount over the “real” version of the game. Feel free to make jokes about the value of a Call of Duty campaign being ten bucks in the comments below. This version will also come with a digital version of the original Black Ops. All told, I guess that doesn’t sound like a terrible value? I don’t know, I’m less-than-sold on Treyarch‘s big co-op campaign ideas based on what I saw back at E3, so it’s hard to judge this situation right now. I’m curious to see how all that comes together.

This generational transition has been a weird one, with publishers hedging their bets at first only to discover that, yes, people are actually buying the new machines. This is how Activision’s dealing with it, but then you’ve got Warner cutting the Nemesis system from the last-gen versions of Shadow of Mordor and… well, you’ve got Warner again with Mortal Kombat X.

Remember when Mortal Kombat X was supposed to ship on the old consoles right alongside the new ones? It finally got officially canceled about a month ago. Here was their official update:

Please know our teams worked diligently to meet the quality standards set by the current-gen versions of the game. We were not able to get the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions to the quality expected of a Mortal Kombat game and are very sorry for not being able to deliver the products as originally planned.

Walmart must not have got the memo, because they’re taking pre-orders right now for a “December 31″ release, which usually translates into “at one point someone told us this version was going to exist but then they didn’t give us a new release date so we’re going to keep it here just in case but we don’t know what’s going on.”

As much as I like the way MKX looks, it seems like some version of the game could have appeared on old consoles. Maybe the cuts were too much? Or maybe most of their player base moved to new machines?

Actually, now that I dig into it a bit, some third-party seller on Amazon is claiming to be selling a “collectable” copy of MKX for 360 for the low, low price of $200,000. Somehow I doubt they’ve got a build of the game.

One has to wonder how long the other big third-party franchises will continue to appear on the old machines. I figure we’ll get down to that “sports only” catalog over the next year. Maybe two? It’ll be interesting to see what that means for Destiny players, what with its whole “ten year plan” and all that. Think next year’s Destiny will still try to maintain parity across all platforms? I don’t.

One last thing… you know, I figured it’d be hard to find anyone angry about this Call of Duty move and that most of the people playing on those old platforms don’t necessarily care enough about video games to follow them too closely, but I didn’t need to look far. Here are the four comments posted to Activision’s official update about all this:

Yep.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+

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