Activision Blizzard Inc. will postpone a Call of Duty game scheduled for next year.
Activision Blizzard Inc. will postpone a Call of Duty 2023 game scheduled for next year, the first time the franchise will be without an annual mainline release in nearly two decades, according to people familiar with the plan. The company is working on other projects to fill the gap. A Call of Duty game coming out this fall is getting a steady stream of new content, and a free online title is coming next year, people said, asking not to be identified because they weren’t. authorized to discuss the plans.
Treyarch, the studio owned by Activision that is working on the now-delayed game, will also help with the free-to-play title, people said. An Activision spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The delay will have a huge effect on the video game industry. Since 2005, Activision has released a new, top-notch entry in the lucrative shooting series every fall. Call of Duty games regularly top the annual sales charts and have sold more than 400 million units since the series began in 2003.
The decision was made independent of Activision’s agreement to sell itself to Microsoft Corp. for $69 billion, according to those familiar with the move. Last year’s entry, Call of Duty: Vanguard, fell short of Activision’s sales expectations, leading executives to suspect it had been cannibalized by the previous year’s game. The company also released a free-to-play battle royale game, Call of Duty: Warzone, in 2020, which was a huge success and may have also pulled players away from the premium items.
Activision will remain autonomous and Microsoft could decide to change these plans after the acquisition, which is expected to close in the summer of 2023, pending regulatory approval.
Call of Duty games are developed by a rotating stable of Activision’s development studios. This year’s entry, a new Modern Warfare game, is being created by Woodland Hills, California-based Infinity Ward. Sirbpti previously reported that Activision executives were seriously considering skipping Call of Duty for a year.