Activision has confirmed plans to release a new Call of Duty game during the fourth quarter of 2021.
“We will benefit from a full year of Warzone driving upgrades to our premium content and incremental in-game player investment, and we have a substantial opportunity to continue migrating the community to Black Ops Cold War as well as another strong premium release planned for Q4 in 2021,” said Activision’s chief financial officer Dennis Durkin in a financial call last night.
“In our outlook, we are conservatively assuming Call of Duty premium units are lower year-over-year. However, with opportunities in-game across all platforms including the ramp up of Call of Duty Mobile in China we do expect growth in net bookings overall for the Call of Duty franchise.”
So, another big, triple-A PC and console Call of Duty is set to come out in time for Christmas, confirming Activision just won’t give the series a break.
I’ve already reported on how disappointing it is to see Activision leave behind the excellent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare just a year after it came out.
Infinity Ward’s shooter still enjoys a healthy playerbase – it doesn’t take long to find matches at all. And this is why I think it deserves a next-gen update and a full-blown second year of content.
As it stands, there’s no news on a new set of multiplayer maps, new weapons or anything other than integration with Warzone and Black Ops Cold War’s season one battle pass – which does not include content for Modern Warfare.
Given Activision’s handling of the franchise up to this point, I fully expect Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, which is a fun game in its own right and with plenty of players, to be left behind when COD 2021, rumoured to be led by Call of Duty: WW2 maker Sledgehammer Games, comes out later this year.
As I wrote in my Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review, the game offers “solid action with the potential for greatness”. It’s hard to realise that potential, however, in just a year.
Activision’s strategy of releasing a new Call of Duty game every year obviously does the business for the company. In 2020, revenue from Call of Duty approximately doubled year-over-year, Activision said. More than 100 million people play Call of Duty every month.
Full year Call of Duty premium unit sales grew over 40 per cent year-over-year, with a further strong shift to digital downloads, Activision said.
And with the launch of season one for Black Ops Cold War – and its integration into battle royale behemoth Warzone – sales of Black Ops Cold War rose sharply year-over-year in December and January, Activision said. Warzone, clearly, drives demand for the premium Call of Duty games.
The Call of Duty franchise is printing money. There’s no reason for Activision to give the series a year off, because releasing a new game each year continues to do the business.
But it’s a crying shame to see each title effectively dismissed after one year out in the field.