'Black Ops 4' battle royale is free for a week starting January 17th

The 'Call of Duty' crew wants you to try its centerpiece game mode.

Were you too busy playing Red Dead or Spider-Man over the holidays to give other games a look? Activision would like to talk. It's running a free, week-long trial of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's tentpole Blackout mode between January 17th and January 24th on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. If you've wondered whether or not BO4's battle royale was good enough to tear you away from Fortnite or PUBG, you'll have plenty of time to get a feel for it.

It doesn't take much divination to understand why Activision is doing this. The holidays are over, and this is a way to keep sales humming as the new year starts. It's also an acknowledgment that free-to-play battle royale games like Fortnite have an advantage: you can easily try them without making a commitment. Although Epic Games won't be quaking in its boots, this might pay off for Activision if it leads to at least a few converts.