Mobile Games Hotspot: Usage Rises Amid Lockdown; Big Update for 'Call of Duty Mobile'

Courtesy Activision

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: 'Candy Crush' offers free lives to players once again; 'Pokémon Go' introduces long-awaited Remote Raid content; and 'Fishing Strike' celebrates second anniversary.

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

A new season of Call of Duty Mobile launches Friday and with it come Western-themed rewards and the promise of new maps, modes, challenges and more. 

The battle pass for season six ditches the previously used task system in favor of simply earning experience points and leveling up your pass as you play any of the game's three main modes. A new event system also helps streamline in-game events by placing them within the Featured, Seasonal, Daily and More categories. Daily login bonuses have been replaced with a new monthly calendar in which each day, players will be able to claim a universal reward available only for that day.

The premium track of the new battle pass features the Cowboy variation of the Ghost skin along with the Desperada variation of the Seraph skin. New Heat Stroke weapons are also featured, including the Outlaw sniper rifle. Those sticking to the free track of the battle pass can get the base Outlaw sniper rifle and the new Annihilator Operator Skill, which allows you to launch high-penetrating tracking bullets.

Rust, a classic multiplayer map from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, is making its mobile debut and will be playable in most of the game's modes, such as team death match and Domination, available now. Saloon is Call of Duty: Mobile's second original map and will release sometime in mid-May. The map will only be available in the 2v2 Showdown and 1v1 Duel modes. Kill Confirmed, a classic mode where dog tags are collected from fallen soldiers, will arrive in early May. As for the Battle Royale mode, a new Helicopter Flare has been added and allows players to deploy a defensive flare against incoming FHJ rockets.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

Free Lives in Candy Crush

The Candy Crush series of games is once again releasing free and unlimited lives in all its titles in an effort to promote the #PlayApartTogether campaign, an initiative with the World Health Organization to keep players at home. Active through Sunday, the following games will let you play without having to purchase any additional lives: Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Candy Crush Friends Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, Bubble Witch 3 Saga and Pet Rescue Saga. A similar event took place earlier this month that saw 8.6 billion free lives used. An in-game fan event is planned Thursday in which 20 of Candy Crush's most dedicated fans will get a level created based on their favorite game elements.

Mobile Gaming Use Continues to Rise

Social distancing continues to provide mobile gaming a noticeable boost in stats and downloads. A new data report by App Annie shows mobile gaming accounts for 40 percent of the 31 billion total new app downloads in the first quarter of 2020. Demand for multiplayer focused mobile games also got a boost with the top multiplayer game download in the U.S for the month of March being Words With Friends, followed by ROBLOX, Call of Duty: Mobile, Coin Master and Magic Tiles: 3

Remote Raids Come to Pokémon Go

Remote Raids have finally arrived in Pokémon Go. Instead of joining a timed raid gym battle when physically within the small radius of the gym, players can now use the Remote Raid pass to join any raid that appears on their map or on their nearby radar. These special passes can be purchased in the shop for 100 PokeCoins. 

In addition to Remote Raids, season two of the GO Battle League kicks off tomorrow with the first of three leagues, the Great League. While season one saw the addition of a leaderboard, this new season will focus on changes and improvements on the ranking system, encounters, rewards and more. Trainers will also be able to participate in Trainer Battles through QR codes, no matter the trainers' friendship level or distance.

Celebrating Two Years of Fishing Strike

Fishing Strike, a mobile fishing simulator, is celebrating two years since its release with new events and rewards. Club Competition is a new real-time battle mode in which players and their affiliated clubs fight to be the highest ranked club in the game. The Pearl Collection Event sees players collect pearls in missions that can later be exchanged for rewards like gold, legend boxes and medium-quality energy drinks. The Bingo event offers additional rewards and will fill in as players use other modes.