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Call of Duty: Activision prepares ‘premium, free-to-play Call of Duty experiences’, denies postponement report

Activision Call of Duty Modern Warfare - CoD Website

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Call of Duty series will reportedly not get a new mainline title in 2023.

Activision is purportedly trying to push back the impending 2023 chapter in the series after the most recent version, Sledgehammer Games’ Call Of Duty: Vanguard, failed to meet the company’s expectations. Treyarch, the creators of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, are rumored to be working on the 2023 entry.

This year’s Call of Duty is said to include a second free-to-play spinoff called DMZ, which will assist bridge the gap between regular releases. DMZ is influenced by games such as Escape From Tarkov, which combines multiplayer with AI enemies and a high-pressure loot game, according to Tom Henderson, a freelance writer with a solid track record of writing on Call of Duty and Battlefield 2042 leaks.

Activision denies claims

According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who cited insiders familiar with Activision’s plans, Activision has opted to postpone a forthcoming “Call of Duty” title that was meant to be released next year. However, this is not the same as the game Infinity Ward is presently working on, which earlier leaks said was a sequel to “Modern Warfare.”

Activision has subsequently reacted to the report, informing fans that new games for the “Call of Duty” series will be released in the following years.

“We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year, and beyond,” Activision revealed in a statement to The Verge. “Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”

Yet, Bloomberg said that one of the key reasons for the rumored delay was the disappointing sales performance of “Call of Duty: Vanguard.” In the United Kingdom, sales of the 2021 game fell by 26% in physical copies and 44% in digital sales as compared to the “Black Ops Cold War” in 2020. It later raised debate about whether Activision should stop its policy of releasing new games every year since 2005.

Microsoft acquisition may influence the decision

According to the same report, Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard had no impact on the decision not to create a new game in 2023. Microsoft revealed last month that it is acquiring the “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” publishers in an all-cash transaction for about $69 billion. It is still subject to legal reviews, which are estimated to take 18 months to finish.

Activision is hardly the first publisher to forsake the annual release cycle. Ubisoft had to take a break from Assassin’s Creed after publishing a new game for the seventh year in a row.

Origins, which came out two years after Syndicate, was one of the best-reviewed and best-selling games in the franchise’s history, selling more than double the number of copies Syndicate did during its first ten days.

Ubisoft, too, is taking the gap from annual releases a step further, with Assassin’s Creed Infinity, and intends to convert the franchise into a platform. With the breakthrough of Warzone and the upcoming release of DMZ, fans could see Call of Duty follow suit.