During the latest press conference regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the gaming tech giant ignited rumors that the company’s main profit driver, the Call of Duty franchise, might ditch the yearly release schedule. The world’s most famous first-person shooter gaming series began with its annual releases after Call of Duty 2, inspired by the original game, Call of Duty, released in 2003.
According to GamesRadar+, Activision’s higher-ups are considering slowing down the Call of Duty release schedule, with many employees believing that more time between releases could, in fact, reinvigorate the franchise. These assumptions follow the lackluster performance of the series’ newest release, Call of Duty: Vanguard, which we had previously covered since the game failed to meet the sales expectations. It’s still unclear whether a more spaced-out release model would take effect, but reports suggest it could happen as early as next year, following the release of the CoD game scheduled for 2022.
However, in light of the recent acquisition news, Activision might decide to skip the 2022 release date in favor of 2023. Whatever the case might be, it seems that the Call of Duty players welcome the suggestion that their favorite gaming series might take a small break. It would give them enough time to catch up with the overwhelming amount of content the series has to offer. Not to mention that gamers were disappointed when Activision dropped support for 2019’s Modern Warfare for 2020’s Black Ops Cold War. But then the same thing happened with the release of Vanguard.
Admittedly, Call of Duty: Vanguard sales have been slow, and the creatives at Activision are also considering bringing back a fan-favorite Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard to Call of Duty’s battle royale behemoth, Warzone, which was recently visited by the Christmas-themed opponent. Adding both Modern Warfare, Black Ops Cold War, and Vanguard to Warzone, along with improper weapons and trouble-causing mechanics, could make the game into a Fortnite-like concoction. So Activision might want to consider testing the market first.
These rumors could be a part of the new deal with Microsoft which brings the entirety of Activision and its subsidiaries under the Xbox’s rule. It grants Microsoft the license to make all Activision’s future releases into Xbox exclusives. This could remove gaming titles such as Call of Duty and Overwatch from non-Xbox platforms. However, as we previously reported, the head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, made strong indications that Call of Duty, and other cross-platform titles, would remain available on PlayStation platforms at least in some form for an unspecified amount of time.
In the meantime, Activision Blizzard employees are optimistic about the acquisition, although there is some anxiety about potential layoffs which are usually associated with large-scale corporate acquisitions. The deal comes after a difficult period for Activision Blizzard, following numerous legal battles and government investigations about the sexual misconduct and toxic workplace, and immense pressure on the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick, with employees demanding his resignation. Well, Microsoft has decided that Kotick stays as the acting CEO at least until the acquisition is finalized in 2023.