What you need to know
- The 2023 entry in the yearly Call of Duty franchise is reportedly being delayed.
- According to the report, Treyarch is leading development on the now-delayed game.
- Call of Duty 2022, a sequel to the 2019 Modern Warfare, is still on track to launch sometime in Fall 2022.
- Activision Blizzard is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft.
Update, 8:04 pm ET: Activision reached out with a quote stating that "premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences" are coming in 2022, 2023 and beyond.
Call of Duty 2023 is being delayed, according to a new report from Bloomberg. While 2022's sequel to Modern Warfare is still on track to launch sometime in the holiday period, 2023's game being delayed would mark the first year since 2004 that a Call of Duty game hasn't been launched.
The report indicates that Call of Duty 2023's development is being led by Treyarch, and is being delayed as executives are concerned that sales for the franchise are being cannibalized. At the company's most recent earnings report, Activision Blizzard noted that sales of Call of Duty: Vanguard were down year-over-year compared to prior Call of Duty titles.
Call of Duty 2022's development is being led by Infinity Ward and is planned to launch alongside Warzone 2, the latter of which is described as a next-generation battle royale experience.
This news comes as Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in a deal worth almost $69 billion. The deal is currently slated to close sometime before June 2023, and the report notes that this decision to delay Treyarch's next Call of Duty game was made independent of Microsoft. When the deal is done, Activision Blizzard will join Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks as Xbox first-party publishers. Microsoft is currently committing to bringing Call of Duty to PlayStation even after the deal finalizes.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has talked about wanting to revitalize older Activision franchises, including IP that haven't been explored, as the publisher focused more and more internal efforts on sustaining the yearly Call of Duty releases.
Update, 8:04 pm ET — Activision comments on the report
An Activision spokesperson reached out with the following quote.
"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."
Teams integration is taking longer than anticipated.
By late 2023 meeting financial goals will be somebody else's "problem".😇 This was predictable.
Current gen game development is firmly in CHEOPS's law territory...
...which means that unless game development processes change, (non-sports) annualized franchise game releases are done for. The alternative choice is either buggy and underperforming releases like BATTLEFIELD 2042 and COD: VANGUARD, damaging the brand, or giving up on annualized releases like Ubisoft did with ASSASSIN'S CREED. As far as COD is concerned, that choice will be up to Mr. Spencer. A good guess is he'll use the HALO CAMPAIGN model of an extensible release every two, three years followed by small DLC add-ins and larger expansions on an annual basis. If the deal goes through, MS can afford a longer release cycle by rotating annual releases among COD, DOOM, PREY, GEARS, and HALO or making COD biannual and filling in the off-years with the other franchises. Whatever makes the best financial sense and maximizes franchise values without franchise fatigue. Even without closing the deal we're seeing changes...
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