There’s no question that Call of Duty is one of Activision Blizzard’s greatest assets, as well as one of the most popular and beloved franchises in gaming. Today, his situation is much better than that of his great rival, especially after the bump that EA has had with Battlefield 2042, but that does not mean that the Call of Duty saga is going through its best moment, in fact it happens just the opposite.
If we look at the results published by Activison Blizzard, we see that Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War generated $678 million in sales during its first six weeks on sale, becoming the game best seller in the United States during 2020. Quite an achievement, but its popularity remained at such a level that it managed to close 2021 as the second best-selling game in that country.
Interesting, but what was then the best-selling game in the United States during 2021? Well, Call of Duty Vanguard, the latest installment, to date, of that franchise. This sounds good, but when we see that Activision Blizzard itself recognizes that said delivery has sold less than Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War we realize that, in the end, this “twilight” that lives the franchise is very real.
Call of Duty remains, despite everything, the goose that lays the golden eggs
The fact that Call of Duty Vanguard was the best-selling game of 2021 in the United States, even despite having arrived at the end of that year, is one symptom of this, but not the only one. Taking a look at the results that the franchise achieved in 2020, we can see that this represents a huge part of the revenue that Activision Blizzard earns.
For example, in 2020 the saga generated revenue of 3 billion dollars, about 40% of Activision Blizzard’s total revenue. But that’s not all, the franchise also generated $4.85 billion in microtransaction revenue in 2020. On the other hand, Call of Duty Mobile, which arrived in 2019, generated $480 million in revenue in 2020, and Call of Duty Warzone exceeded 85 million players.
On this occasion, Activision Blizzard has not given such detailed information about the results of 2021, but has recognized two important keys in its results. The first we have already said, that Call of Duty has not sold as well as Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, and the second is that the user base of Call of Duty Warzone also decreased, which should translate into less revenue from micropayments.
Personally, I stopped feeling attracted to the saga a long time ago, in fact I think the last title I really enjoyed on PC was the second installment. On Xbox 360 I played Call of Duty 3, but I focused almost exclusively on multiplayer because it was fun to play with my group of lifelong friends. From there, I left the franchise quite parked. A few years ago I tried to give Infinite Warfare a try, but it ended up feeling unreliable.