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Call of Duty Reportedly Could Move Away From Annual Releases

Call of Duty Reportedly Could Move Away From Annual Releases - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 04 March 2022 / 2,560 Views

Microsoft recently made the biggest acquisition in gaming history with the announcement it is acquiring Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion. 

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer is excited to work on a variety of IPs owned by Activision Blizzard he grew up with. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is also  excited for the opportunities for Activision Blizzard will have working under Microsoft with the amount of resources available. He has wanted to make a new Guitar Hero, as well as a new Skylanders.

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier has reported high-level employees have discussed the Call of Duty franchise and the potential of it moving away from its annual release schedule. 

"There’s a belief among many Call of Duty developers that releasing games at a slower cadence will please players and help bolster the franchise," Schreier said. He added if a change were to happen it won't be until 2023 or later. 

A Sony spokesperson expects Microsoft to follow contractual obligations that are already in place once the deal closes and that Activision games will remain multiplatform.

"We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform," said the spokesperson at the time.

2022's Call of Duty title is rumored to be a sequel to 2019's Modern Warfare.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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29 Comments
aTokenYeti (on 21 January 2022)

Would be genuinely excellent news if Microsoft liberates all those smaller activision studios that were shoehorned into being COD support studios to make yearly deadlines. The amount of great IP ABK has access to vastly outstrips what they have been putting out every year for a while now.

There is so much potential for cross pollination too. Imagine a Banjo remake from one of those ABK studios, or a Banjo X Crash mashup

  • +19
CaptainExplosion aTokenYeti (on 21 January 2022)

Toys for Bob has proven before they're great at 3D platformers, so I say get them to do Banjo-Threeie!! ^^

  • +10
Leynos CaptainExplosion (on 21 January 2022)

Nah, bring back Star Control

  • 0
CaptainExplosion Leynos (on 21 January 2022)

Heretic!! shotguns Leynos' head off

  • -2
Leynos CaptainExplosion (on 22 January 2022)

Shotgun won't work on a mech

  • 0
CaptainExplosion Leynos (on 22 January 2022)

I was aiming at the pilot.

  • 0
Leynos CaptainExplosion (on 22 January 2022)

Don't need one. Can have one if I want. Much like an orbital frame.

  • 0
CaptainExplosion Leynos (on 22 January 2022)

Ok. plants C4 on Leynos and detonates it

  • 0
Yassgragra aTokenYeti (on 23 January 2022)

Forget Banjo X Crash. What we need is Banjo X Candy Crush.

  • 0
Kakadu18 (on 21 January 2022)

That is exactly what I hoped for them to do.

  • +8
2zosteven (on 21 January 2022)

yes please, lets get a new IP and maybe use it every other year.

  • +7
CaptainExplosion (on 21 January 2022)

I wouldn't mind at all if we didn't see any more COD until a decade from now.

  • +7
V-r0cK CaptainExplosion (on 21 January 2022)

I wouldn't mind either. But I think Microsoft would mind since I'm sure they didn't spend $70B on games just to shelf lol xD

  • +7
CaptainExplosion V-r0cK (on 21 January 2022)

Ok, then at least a 3 year wait for the next one, and that's my final offer.

  • 0
V-r0cK CaptainExplosion (on 21 January 2022)

Sold! lol I think if Activision already has the next CoD underway MS may just let that go through and hopefully afterwards they should take their time with the next one.

  • +2
smroadkill15 (on 21 January 2022)

We see what happens when Activision turns into a CoD factory. Quality declines, and so does creativity. Relying on 1 IP for the majority of your revenue every year is not good for the long-term, and I'm sure MS understands this.

  • +6
scrapking smroadkill15 (on 22 January 2022)

And, to add to that, a lot of Call of Duty revenue isn't in the sale of the game, a lot of it is seasons passes, microtransactions, etc. They can release a Call of Duty game with a two-year roadmap for DLC, seasons passes, and microtransactions. Half as many games, but each one supported for twice as long. It doesn't necessarily mean the Call of Duty franchise will be a lot less profitable than it is now!

  • 0
Darwinianevolution (on 21 January 2022)

Excellent news if true. This is one of the IPs that needs the most rest of all of the industry.

  • +2
zero129 (on 22 January 2022)

Anyone ever think this could be so that if Sony does have a contract for CoD its to let it run out without having to put many new CoD games on PS. Like think about it, Lets say Sony has 3 years left on their contract that would be 3 CoD games they will get before the contract ends. If the game moves to a 2 or 3 year release it means Sony will get the next one but the one after that is then a question mark. By that time they could also announce a Warzone 2 exclusive on Xbox Series and PC.

  • 0
scrapking zero129 (on 22 January 2022)

Good point. It would be interesting to know if Sony'c contract is for a certain number of Call of Duty games, or for a certain number of years.

  • +1
Mr Puggsly (on 21 January 2022)

I personally think this is a bad idea. A yearly release would bring in Gamepass users.

But if they want to keep it annual, it needs another studio or two in the cycle to increase development time. And we all know MS has other FPS studios that could do unique stuff with the IP.

  • 0
Azzanation Mr Puggsly (on 22 January 2022)

GP will have plenty of other games to carry it when COD is not out. Also gamers can play the same COD for more than a year, they don't need a new game every year. They can release one, support it with patches and allow the next COD to cook more in the oven which is what the series needs.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly Azzanation (on 22 January 2022)

I agree the series needs more development time with each release, which is why they should add another studio or even two. That way each release could have maybe four years or more if needed. I don't think the problem with Vanguard was fatigue as much as the game is just uninteresting and seemingly poorly designed.

I feel something with series certainly needs to change, but it isn't necessarily the yearly cycle. Especially if studios are given plenty of development time. Also, maybe not every campaign needs to be a heavily scripted linear campaign.

  • 0
scrapking Mr Puggsly (on 22 January 2022)

They already have three studios making Call of Duty games, and turned every other Activision studio into a Call of Duty support studio! And Call of Duty might be starting to slowly decline in sales. So just throwing more developers at it doesn't seem reasonable to me.

This would be absolutely the right call, but it should be done by having a two-year road-map for supporting each game with seasons passes, DLC, and MTX.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly scrapking (on 22 January 2022)

I am not just suggesting more studios. I keep saying more development time (MS now has numerous studios notable for FPS games) and more unique experiences with the campaign.

Activision's strategy has been three studios, some support studios to help push it out and probably the shortest development cycle in AAA gaming.

Hence, there are a lot of changes that could be made without getting rid of annual releases.

  • 0
scrapking Mr Puggsly (on 23 January 2022)

Ah, so seconding some of Xbox Game Studios' existing studios to Call of Duty, in other words? The trick there is that they're all already working on one or more projects. That might make sense if they deliver a game, but have nothing new lined up to work on immediately afterward, perhaps?

Your strategy might lead to more Call of Duty in exchange for less Halo/Gears/Doom/Quake/Perfect Dark/Prey/Wolfenstein/etc., though. I'm not sure that's a good trade.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly scrapking (on 24 January 2022)

Well lets be frank, CoD is more popular than many of those IPs could ever be. So if a studio like MachineGames got the chance to work on a CoD, that could be interesting.

More importantly, I'm not suggesting they just make another CoD game per se. I would like one of those studios do something unique with the IP, a more ambitious campaign as opposed to heavily scripted action movie. The core gameplay of recent Wolfenstein games aren't far from some CoD games.

Looking at commentary of CoD: Vanguard, people hate how nothing about it feels fresh and its such a linear experience. That's when people start to question why is this an annual game.

  • 0
JackHandy (on 24 January 2022)

I wish this would have happened back during the THPS era. Activision pretty much COD'ed that thing to death.

  • -1
Manlytears (on 21 January 2022)

As a gamer: great news! absolutely fantastic if true! Opportunity for good and varied games to emerge, and an end to the madness that is annual CoD! More Diablo, Tony Hawk, Warcraft, overwatch, Starcraft, skylanders, new IPs... incredible potential! Very good, it's a dream that comes true, devs will have more freedom and Gamers will have something not named CoD to play (me included)!

Financial logic side: This makes no sense! CoD is always among the 3 best sellers of the year, usually in 1st place! The IP is still extremely strong and selling, this proves that there is a big market for annual releases, people still want to buy the " CoD of the year"!
In addition, the end of annual CoD may end up giving space for other similar IPs to gain more market dominance (Battlefield looking and salivating for the opportunity to gain more sales)

Also, Fear of layoffs... sadly it will happen! No doubt, redundancies will be a thing and many will lose their jobs.

  • -1