Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard says the annualized franchise will see a "full premium release" in 2023.
During its Q3 2022 earning results, Activision Blizzard wrote about Call of Duty heading into next year, revealing that the company has plans for "the most robust Call of Duty live operations to date, the next full premium release in the blockbuster annual series, and even more engaging free-to-play experiences across all platforms."
However, whether this means a brand new game or more premium-priced content for this year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remains unclear. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier addressed Activision Blizzard's wording, saying the "full premium release" Activision Blizzard is talking about is "a continuation of Modern Warfare II. It's called a full premium release because they're probably going to market and sell it as a $70 game with new single- and multiplayer content. But it's more MWII".
Man lol you keep falling for the same PR language. It's a continuation of Modern Warfare II. It's called a full premium release because they're probably going to market and sell it as a $70 game with new single- and multiplayer content. But it's more MWII
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 7, 2022
Schreier also clarified his knowledge of the upcoming Call of Duty timeline. According to Schreier, 2023 will see a Modern Warfare 2 paid, premium expansion from Sledgehammer, which is set to have a lot of content. Apparently, the size of the expansion is what could justify Activision's "full premium release" wording. Then, Schreier claims the next Call of Duty entry is coming from Treyarch in 2024.
Officially, Call of Duty 2023 has not been delayed. In a statement to IGN earlier this year, Activision said “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."
Activision Blizzard's revenue drops
Elsewhere, the company also reported its revenue dropped nearly $300 million year-over-year from the third quarter in 2021, and is pointing the blame at 2021's Call of Duty: Vanguard. In Q3 2021, the company's net revenue was $2.07 billion, compared to Q3 2022's $1.78 billion.
Activision Blizzard wrote that the lower financial performance was due to "reduced engagement for Call of Duty following the weaker reception for last year's premium release." The company is expecting to see improvement for the rest of 2022, thanks to the blistering hot start from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Modern Warfare 2, which just became the fastest Call of Duty game to cross the $1 billion sold mark, is also seeing great success on PC. Activison Blizzard said Modern Warfare 2 PC sales are around double the level of "recent strong titles in the series." The game is also setting franchise records for engagement, with with hours played in the first 10 days over 40% higher than the previous record.
Vanguard's comparitive sales struggles when pitted against the rest of the franchise have been well documented. Even though it was the best-selling game of 2021, Activision Blizzard was unhappy with its performance, saying “The game’s World War II setting didn’t resonate with some of our community.”
For more on Call of Duty, check out why the future of the franchise on PlayStation is safe, according to Xbox's Phil Spencer.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.