What's next for Call of Duty in 2023

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Captain Price keyart
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty is a franchise that has been going strong for almost two decades, and as the series continues, it's seen annual entries and spinoffs for almost every single year. But that may be about to change. 

Reports indicate that players may not be getting a new premium entry in the Call of Duty franchise in 2023, but that doesn't mean there won't be new content to play in one of the best Xbox games, regardless of whether you prefer multiplayer or single-player content. Here's what we know is next for Call of Duty in 2023, based on reports so far.

Will there be a new Call of Duty game in 2023?

(Image credit: Activision)

Right now, it appears that there won't be a new paid, premium entry in the Call of Duty franchise in 2023. This news first came with a report that Call of Duty was skipping 2023, with Bloomberg sharing that after the arrival of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in 2022, the next game — with development led by Treyarch — would instead be delayed to 2023.

The significance of this really can't be overstated, as Call of Duty has been an annual franchise almost every single year since it originally began with the first game, Call of Duty, in 2003. The only missed year so far was 2004, with Call of Duty 2 releasing in 2005. Since then, there's been at least one game every single year all the way up to 2022. 

This delay was reportedly decided on because sales of the 2021 entry Call of Duty: Vanguard were down year-over-year and the publisher was worried about cannibalization of the franchise.

In response to this report, Activision stated that at the time that "We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right."

Even with the big paid game not arriving until 2024, that doesn't mean there won't still be a new Call of Duty game. Activision confirmed that Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is coming to Android and iOS in 2023. Development of this mobile title is being led by Solid State Studios and Digital Legends, with support from other teams inside Activision.

What does this mean for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2?

(Image credit: Activision)

Because there won't be a new premium game in 2023, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be receiving more support than any prior mainline game. In addition to Warzone 2.0, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be getting a range of new modes and features as updates throughout 2023. 

According to comments (opens in new tab) from Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be getting something akin to a paid single-player campaign expansion in 2023, in addition to more multiplayer support. As such, while there won't be a new standalone game to buy, anyone looking for more Call of Duty will still have new experiences available. 

By extending the lifetime of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with additional content, Activision will be allowing the other teams such as Treyarch additional time to develop the next big paid game.

Is Call of Duty coming to Xbox Game Pass?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

All of this change for the franchise comes as Activision Blizzard is being acquired by Microsoft. The deal, which is worth almost $69 billion, is currently undergoing regulatory review across multiple jurisdictions, including being investigated by the European Commission. When the deal is finalized, Activision Blizzard will join Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks as part of the Xbox first-party family. 

Once that happens, Microsoft has indicated that Call of Duty games will join Xbox Game Pass when possible, including new games launching into the service. Microsoft will still have to abide by any deals previously made between Activision and Sony that prevent certain games from going into Xbox Game Pass for a limited amount of time, as Sony has paid for "blocking rights" on some games. 

Xbox (opens in new tab)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

The latest big Call of Duty game is here, and based on early reports, it'll be the only paid premium experience in the franchise until 2024. If you don't buy Call of Duty games often, this is the one to grab.

Available from:  Xbox (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)| Steam (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab)

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.