Call Of Duty Just Lost 50 Million Players
Nothing lasts forever, and while Call of Duty was once the undisputed king of the first-person shooter castle, the fan-favourite franchise could be losing its grip. The figures speak for themselves, and after Netflix started to haemorrhage subscribers, it seems Call of Duty is following suit with player numbers.
Since Infinity War first released the OG Call of Duty in 2003, we've seen the series come a long way. From the muddy trenches of World War II to the tech-ravaged future, and even alternate realities with zombie Nazis, we've seen it all. With critiques that Sledgehammer's Vanguard was just another WWII rehash, it sounds like fans are finally losing their patience.
Why Is Call Of Duty Losing Players?
A 2022 Activision investor report makes for some pretty grim reading. In 2021, Call of Duty has 150 million monthly active users - which is mainly thanks to Call of Duty: Warzone's popularity. Now, that's dipped to just 100 million.
The press release refers to disappointing Vanguard sales and "lower engagement" in Warzone, while Activision Blizzard itself reported an overall decline year-on-year. It's no secret the publisher has been grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, with allegations of a frat boy culture from within the ranks of its HQ. Then again, Activision Blizzard's massive acquisition by Microsoft should see it in a more financially secure position.
We'd like to reiterate that a monthly player base of 100 million is still massive - and one that any franchise would be happy to see. You only have to look at the dire state of DICE with Battlefield 2042 or even 343's Halo Infinite and their dismal Twitch viewership to see the FPS genre is struggling across the board. Then again, let's remember watching people sleep was a more popular Twitch stream than playing Call of Duty: Vanguard. Was Sledgehammer's rehash of an old formula just a badly-timed blip?
What's Next For Call Of Duty?
Don't worry though, Activision Blizzard remains confident that things will be chugging along nicely with the future. 2022 is set to be a big year thanks to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the much-hyped Warzone 2. Activision Blizzard writes: "Development on this year’s premium and Warzone experiences, led by Infinity Ward, is proceeding very well. This year’s Call of Duty is a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare, the most successful Call of Duty title to date, and will be the most advanced experience in franchise history."
We shouldn't write off the CoDverse yet, but we'd bet we're at something of a crossroads. Considering Warzone is free and is the largest slice of the pie, we'd argue it's more to blame than Vanguard. With hackers and glitches galore, we've also had the disappointing Caldera integration and a bizarre slew of crossovers with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Godzilla. Activision is championing Warzone 2 as the white knight riding in to save CoD, but for the time being, we'll tread with cautious optimism.