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Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles

Call of Duty might be the best-selling franchise on Xbox, but Phil Spencer sees the most potential in Call of Duty mobile, not the mainline games.

Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles
Published Oct 29, 2022 10:10 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Nov 28 2022 4:34 PM CST
2 minutes & 37 seconds read time

The mainline Call of Duty franchise may have sold 25 million copies last year, but Microsoft sees the most potential in Call of Duty Mobile.

Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles 2

Microsoft says that mobile is their main reason to buy Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion. With the mighty ad tech-fueled empire of King, whose digital games reached 240 million players last quarter, and the billion-dollar might of Call of Duty Mobile, Microsoft wants to use these powerful established games to engage a section of the market that it's sorely lacking in: Mobile gaming.

In a recent Wall Street Journal Live event, Xbox boss Phil Spencer shared some interesting insight on Microsoft's rationale for the incoming merger with Activision. According to Spencer, mobile is what Microsoft is really interested in, and rightly so given King's sustainable and stable revenues that are complemented by Activision and Blizzard mobile games that are quickly accelerating.

"The thing that made us really interested in Activision Blizzard King is the great work the teams have done to build such large mobile followings," Spencer said.

"A lot of that with the King studio that they have, with the Candy Crush franchise...but also if you look at Call of Duty mobile, which to me in a strategic rationale of this deal, is more interesting than what's happening on console between Xbox and PlayStation."

This is a pretty bold statement considering Call of Duty has been listed as the best-selling franchise on Xbox on the back of all Modern Warfare 2 Xbox copies, and that the series managed to sell 25 million games in one year alone. It's also worth mentioning that Call of Duty is among the top-earning franchises; Activision says it made 82% of its 2021 revenues from three franchises, Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Warcraft, which amounts to a staggering $7.22 billion.

At the same time, Spencer has a point.

Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles 2020

Call of Duty Mobile is a big success with over $1.5 billion earned since 2019. In fact, COD Mobile made up a significant portion of Call of Duty's record-breaking $3 billion revenues from 2020, which was the best year ever for the franchise (2022 is set to break this record with the arrival of Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0).

Call of Duty Mobile made a further $1 billion in 2021. These earnings are set to expand with the arrival of Call of Duty Warzone Mobile sometime in 2023.

Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles 4

That's just the Activision segment. There's also Blizzard's successful mobile games--Diablo Immortal, for example, is a big hit that managed to hit $100 million in mobile revenues faster than Fortnite.

Thanks to Diablo Immortal's success on mobile, Blizzard actually made more money from mobile gaming than it did from console gaming or PC throughout last quarter.

Xbox's Phil Spencer more interested in Call of Duty Mobile than COD on consoles 30

King needs no introduction. Thanks to games like Candy Crush, King made $2.58 billion in 2021 and accounted for 33% of the company's total record-breaking revenues for the period.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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