Call of Duty is bleeding players. According to Activision’s first 2022 investor report published today, users of Call of Duty games have plummeted throughout 2021 and 2022. The series, which in 2021 reached 150 million monthly active users thanks to the immense popularity of Call of Duty: Warzone, has steadily lost 50 million players in a year.
Now, Call of Duty has around 100 million players. That’s still a lot of people, but it’s the steepest decline the series has seen since Warzone’s 2020 release. Activision is attributing the sharp drop to disappointing sales of Call of Duty: Vanguard and “lower engagement” in Warzone. Activision has mentioned Vanguard’s sub-par sales before, but considering that Warzone is free to play and likely represents the bulk of Call of Duty players, it probably deserves a lot of blame.
Warzone’s decline won’t come as a surprise to the average Warzone player. The 50 million drop reflects what has been a disappointing year of updates for the game, including annoying seasonal additions, disruptive balance issues, and a new map released with game-breaking bugs that wouldn’t be fixed for weeks.
Activision seems to be increasingly pinning its hopes on Infinity Ward, the fan-favorite developer of Call of Duty. The studio is working on a sequel to Modern Warfare 2019 that will arrive later this year, as well as leading a Warzone continuation ground-up in the engine that powers the next Modern Warfare.
Warzone 2, or whatever Activision decides to call it, will be revealed sometime this year and released in 2023.