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Call of Duty revenue was down on console and PC during the fourth quarter of last year, according to Activision Blizzard’s latest earnings report. Call of Duty: Vanguard had lower sales than its annual predecessor, according to the publisher. Warzone, Call of Duty’s free-to-play battle royale, also had lower engagement. And in response to this, Activision is doing the only sensible thing: making even more Call of Duty.
As part of its financial filing, the publisher confirmed that Call of Duty studio Infinity Ward is overseeing the next annual installment in the series as well as the next major upgrade to Warzone. Infinity Ward was responsible for 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which was a recent high point for the series in terms of critical acclaim and sales.
Here’s how Activision describes the Infinity Ward project — warning, it’s vague:
The team is working on the most ambitious plan in franchise history, with industry-leading innovation and a broadly appealing franchise setting.Activision Blizzard 2021 Q4 financial earnings press release
Infinity Ward is working on a followup to Modern Warfare, which is likely what “broadly appealing franchise setting” means. The studio is also working on new content and modes that may follow in the footsteps of other games like Escape from Tarkov.
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But Call of Duty is hardly a console-and-PC-only endeavor these days. Call of Duty Mobile revenue grew year-over-year thanks to its popularity in China. Total spending for the mobile shooter exceeded $1 billion.
Activision is hiring to make even more Call of Duty games
But beyond the games we know about, Activision is looking to expand to work on even more. Here’s what it said in its press release:
“Studio expansion has continued to add development resources worldwide as plans continue for ongoing live operations and new, unannounced titles in the Call of Duty universe.”Activision Blizzard 2021 Q4 financial earnings press release
Attracting talent is one of the most difficult things for publishers and developers right now. The labor market has a dearth of supply and extremely high demand. This is one area where Microsoft could help. Xbox money might enable Activision to compete for talent that would otherwise prefer to work elsewhere.
On its own, Activision is struggling to simply keep up with making enough Call of Duty content. That’s before it even gets to the prospect of bringing back other unused properties like Tony Hawk or Skylanders.
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