It was only a few years ago when mainstream publications were declaring “franchise fatigue” as a genuine problem for the long-running Call of Duty series, which dates back to 2003. In 2020, however, Activision Blizzard’s blockbuster shooter has never been in better health. The publisher has managed to expertly capitalize on a three-pronged strategy that brings the IP to mobile (Call of Duty: Mobile), PC/F2P (Warzone), and of course consoles with Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War.
Rather than rely on one tentpole release in the main series each year, Activision now has three bona fide titles that all are maintained year-round with live services and are supported by esports. Activision management now envisions the franchise as sharing a cohesive ecosystem. “We are focused on building a continuous pipeline featuring a tremendous amount of free, post-launch content and events across the franchise,” Call of Duty GM Byron Beede explained during the company’s quarterly fiscal announcement.
The results have been staggering. According to Activision, more than 200 million people have played Call of Duty this year, units sold through are up 40% year-over-year, and engagement has hit record highs, which all culminated in the company generating an incredible $3 billion in net bookings.
Interpret has seen the franchise’s passionate fanbase show increasing interest in the series all year long. Right before the publisher launched Cold War, almost 60% of Call of Duty fans expressed interest in wanting to get their hands on a new game in the franchise, according to New Media Measure®. Call of Duty is on fire and shows no signs of slowing down – can the series break records again in 2021?