Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has surpassed $1billion in revenue, and is the best-selling CoD ever in this annual quarter. We look into why...

17:52, 11 May 2020

In recent Call of Duty news, reports found by Forbes show that Call of Duty Modern Warfare is the biggest selling Call of Duty in the first quarter of a calendar year, as it surpasses $1billion in earnings.

Modern Warfare has sold more copies, and had more online players, than any other Call of Duty ever made, during the same time frame. In a total sum of game purchases and microtransactions from the store, Activision’s total earnings show that Modern Warfare has outperformed any other instalment of the franchise since conception.

Modern Warfare evidently has fans hooked, further supported by over 60million players dropping into Verdansk on Warzone. Having Warzone as a free to play addition to Modern Warfare, which can be downloaded as a stand-alone game or played on by purchasing the full game, has meant that an array of gamers have dipped their toe into Warzone, especially fans of other free to play battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. This, plus the inclusion of a battle pass and additional bundles from the store, has seen an increase in microtransactions, as people customise their characters and weapons in a way that has never been more advanced than in the current Modern Warfare. But rivalled with games such as Modern Warfare 2 that has been voted by the fans favourite CoD ever, why is the current Modern Warfare the biggest selling Call of Duty ever?

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The Game Play

Reports also show that the reboot of the fans most loved Call of Duty series, Modern Warfare, bringing the game back to the current day and boots on the ground gameplay has led the current game to be the most purchased instalment of Call of Duty for six years; meaning it has already sold more copies than every CoD since (and including) Advanced Warfare.

Reverting the game back to the current day, with boots on the ground gameplay, has been a huge success for Activision, as the franchise had slipped into a decline due to the futuristic and somewhat frantic gameplay that was introduced. Whilst maintaining as one of the leading gun-game franchises, CoD was becoming increasingly unpopular from those who struggled with the ascending movement dynamics and laser-like weapons, which led to some of the older players not buying the new instalments. However, by stripping the game back to basics, Modern Warfare has seen an array of players buying the multiplayer game, and complemented by the 60 million Warzone players, it’s safe to say Activision pulled this one out of the bag.

Modern Warfare’s gameplay does hinder with very few gripping maps but counters that with great weapon balance that allows for people to use some of the franchises most popular weapons like the M4A1, MP5 and MP7. These have featured in many CoD games in the past, and have always been very good weapons, and have been a huge beneficiary to the gameplay in MW. The gameplay is very fast, but the maps have been designed to allow for both styles of combat (long and short-range) to be successful, and the weapons have allowed for this to thrive.


Whilst Warzone is free to play, it can only be inferred that many who have ventured into Verdansk have then gone on to buy the game in full at a later date. Warzone has captured such a huge audience and retained them by being a brilliant battle royale mode. Having different variants of the mode, such as plunder and solos, Warzone has been able to capture the imagination of players and keep people grinding on the game in search of as many wins as possible. By including some of the games great weapons and having a customisable loadout, players have been enticed to venture on to multiplayer to get the full effects of these weapons. Alongside a thrilling game, Warzone has been a gold mine for Activision.


The Store

The store is also an integral part of Activision’s success. Having multiple seasons to keep fans entertained for sustained periods, alike the way other games such as Fortnite do so well. The introduction of seasons has allowed for players to unlock many more customisable variants to add stylistics and flair to a usual game, especially with the introduction of finishing moves. Being able to unlock audacious ways of killing an opponent has often been a selling-point of Call of Duty, with many fans grinding to make the best montages of their most flamboyant kills. Whilst CoD may have moved away from the 360 no-scopes, these finishing moves reward stealth with style points, and being able to unlock better ones through the battle-pass has set MW in good stead in terms of microtransactions.

A noticeable point to consider is that most previous Call of Duties would now be including purchasable DLC’s in this quarter, which makes this accomplishment from Modern Warfare even more ground-breaking. DLC’s used to be almost a chain reaction, with you missing out from gameplay with your peers if you didn’t have these purchased, therefore with the absence of these, there is no noticeable hindrance for not purchasing a single thing in Modern Warfare.


Activision also deserve great credit for mixing the campaign with multiplayer. Being able to play as some of the best characters from the campaigns that have been so successful in the past, has seen people purchase the battle pass. Characters such as Ghost and Alex have been the reward for reaching Tier 100 of the pass, which has been the reason many people have opted to buy it, alongside racking up a lot of customisations along the way.

In retrospect, you could argue that there has been a direct correlation between gaming and the societal impact of the coronavirus, which will have played its part in the success of Modern Warfare, however, when we solely focus on the game and compare it to its predecessors, it’s easy to see why it has been so successful.

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Image via Activision

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