Reports indicate Activision will not release a new Call of Duty game for 2023. This could impact the games industry as a whole, and possibly lead to lower earnings from PlayStation, Xbox, and even Steam.
Call of Duty is one of the most important franchises in the games industry. Every year, a new Call of Duty is released that helps Sony, Microsoft, Valve, and of course Activision make millions of dollars in revenue. Annualized Call of Duty games have been a dependable, constant source of Q3 holiday revenues for decades now. There's a noticeable earnings spike that accompanies every year's Call of Duty release.
For example, 2020 was Call of Duty's best year with over $3 billion earned. The franchise was firing on all cylinders with a mainline game release and two F2P modes generating recurring revenues. Black Ops Cold War sold 5.7 million copies at launch and was the best-selling game of 2020, made over $670 million in six weeks, and was also the #2 best-selling game in 2021.
Activision earned a record $1.6 billion in November 2020 with the release of Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War.
That same year delivered record holiday earnings for Xbox ($5 billion), PlayStation ($4.6 billion) and the Activision business unit ($1.6 billion). When it does well, Call of Duty literally elevates yearly revenues.
Sony's Q3 2020 revenues spiked to a record high--the same year of record COD earnings.
While 2020 was an anomaly mostly triggered by pandemic spending, the year certainly wouldn't have been as big as it was if it weren't for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War. We don't always know how much platform-holders have earned from Call of Duty, but we do know that PlayStation at least makes most of its revenues from add-on content like microtransactions.
In the world of live games, there are few titles bigger than Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty Warzone.
Xbox video game revenues also hit a high point in holiday 2020.
At the same time, Call of Duty is hitting a content wall. Work is piling up now as Warzone, COD mobile, and other titles continue to grow. The extra time will give Treyarch, who is making the next mainline game, to catch up. Activision is currently working on three Call of Duty projects:
- Modern Warfare II
- Warzone 2
- New F2P COD game
Reports indicate 2023 will see two new games: A free-to-play title alongside some sort of zombies experience.
Modern Warfare II's content is also expected to last through 2023. Warzone 2 will be shipped with Modern Warfare II, sources have said.
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