No Call Of Duty In 2023 Could Have A Major, Lasting Impact On Gaming, Analyst Says
"This would be a huge blow to retail, and to the premium gaming segment as a whole."
It was recently reported that 2023's Call of Duty game, which has not been officially announced, will not in fact launch that year and is now coming in 2024. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said on social media that he believes this would be a "huge blow" to the retail environment and the premium games market overall.
Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, Piscatella said the Call of Duty franchise skipping a yearly release in 2023 would help accelerate the push to live-service games and away from upfront sales of "premium" releases.
"This would be a huge blow to retail, and to the premium gaming segment as a whole. Would also accelerate the shift away from premium releases where consumers purchase upfront, to games supported by sales of DLC/MTX. Not sure that acceleration could be slowed afterwards," Piscatella said.
"Subscription spending growth already turning exponential, and recurring spending already becoming majority of spend on consoles. This would basically cause a leap forward in those trends. Big repercussions possible if true," he added.
Activision also has the free-to-play battle royale game Warzone, and that series is expected to grow with Warzone 2 coming in the future. Piscatella said if indeed Activision does not release a new premium Call of Duty game in 2023, those who might have picked it up may shift their spending to Warzone. This doesn't necessarily mean that all premium games vanish, however, Piscatella pointed out.
Should the report about 2023's Call of Duty game being delayed to 2024 turn out to be true, Piscatella said he would expect Activision to host a "major marketing effort" to encourage people to play Warzone or Call of Duty Mobile as "the de facto COD" that year.
Another impact of Call of Duty skipping a year in 2023, Piscatella said, is it could provide the space and opportunity for other developers and publishers to consider releasing a new title during the holiday period that was previously dominated by Call of Duty.
The Call of Duty series has been released on an annual basis since 2005, so this would indeed be a major shift for the franchise. It's reported that Treyarch, the creators of the popular Black Ops series, is developing the Call of Duty game that might have been delayed to 2024. The reported delay is apparently due in part to Activision's effort to improve its quality and help the Call of Duty series return stronger after Call of Duty: Vanguard missed the mark in some ways.
Call of Duty: Vanguard and Black Ops Cold War were the No. 1 and No. 2 best-selling games of 2021 in the US, and the Call of Duty franchise has regularly topped the yearly US sales charts, except in years when Rockstar releases a major new game, including GTA 5 in 2013 and Red Dead Redemption II in 2018.
While it's been reported that the Call of Duty series won't see a new mainline release in 2023, Treyarch is said to be contributing to a yet-to-be-announced free-to-play online game that will launch in 2023, filling Call of Duty's normal slot.
This is all happening as Microsoft moves to acquire Activision Blizzard and all of its franchises and studios for $68.7 billion. According to Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, the decision to reportedly delay 2023's Call of Duty was made "completely independent of Microsoft."
"Call of Duty Vanguard underperformed and Activision executives have been concerned about the games cannibalizing one another, sources say," he reported.
2022's Call of Duty game is Modern Warfare 2, and it's being developed by Infinity Ward.
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