World's Most Popular Shooter Game 'Call of Duty' May Scale Back Release Schedule
03:35 GMT 22.01.2022 (Updated: 04:58 GMT 22.01.2022)
Top executives at Activision are reportedly considering a move away from yearly releases of the "Call of Duty" video game franchise. The best-selling first-person shooter game in history has released a title every year since 2005, although popularity and sales have lagged for recent installments.
The news comes following Microsoft's announced acquisition of Activision Blizzard. While there is, as yet, no decision to slow the pace of release for the "Call of Duty" franchise, according to a report from Bloomberg, the move looks to be gaining steam.
Activision Blizzard's $69 billion purchase by Microsoft has reportedly spurred employees at the company to embrace changes to the status quo. "Call of Duty", the best-selling first-person shooter franchise and third best-selling video game franchise, had released 19 games and over a dozen handheld, mobile, and console titles since the original "Call of Duty" was released in 2003.
The series, originally centered on World War II campaigns, has branched out to include the popular "Modern Warfare" series, the "Black Ops" series, and other standalone games. The series commercially peaked in 2010, with the release of "Call of Duty: Black Ops". The title has sold an estimated 30.72 million copies since its release, making it one of the best-selling games in history.
"Call of Duty: Vanguard", however, released in November 2021, saw lower sales and received a tepid response. The title experienced 36% lower sales in the United Kingdom, compared to the previous year's release and was the worst launch for the franchise in 14 years.
Nonetheless, the popularity of the franchise saw "Call of Duty: Vanguard", become within two months of its 2021 release the second best-selling game of the year behind "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War".
While Activision owns the intellectual property rights to the series, game developers are tasked with creating individual titles. As the series has continued to produce new titles, year after year, fans and critics have complained of redundancies.
The demand to produce a new game in such a short period of time reportedly led to grueling hours and widespread overtime for developers. Most console games take three to five years to complete.
If Activision does scale back its "Call of Duty" production it would not be expected to take effect immediately, as a new title is set for release this year.