Very few things in life that are guaranteed: death, taxes, and a new annual Call of Duty game.
For years, Activision has prided itself in releasing a new Call of Duty game each year. But, this is about to change soon. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, who is privy to many things Call of Duty, Battlefield, and the video game industry as a whole, claims that Activision Blizzard is looking to make changes to its best-selling franchise.
In a recent Bloomberg report, Schreier detailed how people "familiar with the plan" are saying that Activision is "pushing off [Call of Duty 2023] after a recent entry in the series failed to meet expectations." Schreier added that the same source claimed that some executives think Activision is "introducing new versions too rapidly", a fact that fans have brought up for years. Surprisingly enough, Activision's buyout deal with Microsoft did not play a factor, contrary to earlier reports.
In addition to Schreier, Tom Henderson also shared the information on Twitter and added his thoughts. Henderson added that the "delay" is a sign of "exciting times ahead for Call of Duty.""
The "delay" to Call of Duty 2023 will not only make for a more polished product but be the first "current-gen only" Call of Duty title.
Exciting times ahead for Call of Duty.
— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) February 22, 2022
Delaying 2023's Call of Duty title to 2024 if not beyond is not a bad idea on the face of it. Fans have longed for a "break" for years and it appears that consecutive "disappointing" sales were enough to break the camel's back. It's also telling of Activision's confidence in Infinity Ward that the report comes after the award-winning studio confirmed that it's working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2. This would suggest that Infinity Ward and the rest of Activision's studio will spend the better part of the next two to three years supporting Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 once both games hit the market.
Although Infinity Ward is the same studio responsible for setting a new Call of Duty record for franchise sales back in 2019, this is still a big risk. Despite consecutive "down" years, Treyarch's Black Ops Cold War and Sledgehammer Games' Vanguard still ranked at the top of the list for their respective launch year's best-selling games.
Having said that, the pressure is now on Infinity Ward to deliver a paid Call of Duty game that's worthy of at least two years of support for the first time in franchise history. If it's any consolation, Henderson was right to feel optimistic about the series' future. A delay would give Activision Blizzard time to plan things out for the "next-gen" Call of Duty game, regardless of which studio ends up taking the lead on the game. Not to mention, by the time that the "delayed" Call of Duty game comes out, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X stocks would have likely already caught up with the rest of the world moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic and the microchip shortage.