Activision Blizzard’s 2023 Plans For Duty include the “next full premium release in the blockbuster year series,” according to the company’s third-quarter results released Monday (pdf). While that wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy most years, given the normal fall release cycle of Duty, Bloomberg reported in February that Activision Blizzard planned to postpone its scheduled annual entry for 2023.
According to BloombergActivision Blizzard would delay 2023 title after poor response to 2021 Call of Duty: Vanguard, which fell short of the company’s forecasts. And Bloomberg had said in January that the company is considering a change in annual releases.
At the time, Activision Blizzard appeared to be contesting the report, although it didn’t fully confirm that there would be a 2023 game. “We have an exciting array of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond,” Activision spokesperson Neil Wood said in a statement in February. “Reports of anything else are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”
And Activision has expanded the franchise into more than just the annual premium releases in recent years. With things like Call of Duty: Mobilethe war zone battle royale (which will get a 2.0 release later this month), and the upcoming mobile war zone release in 2023, it seemed like the company could have taken a year off to focus on other things Duty games and services.
But that won’t happen in 2023, as Activision Blizzard moves forward with a new big Duty title for the year, perhaps supported by the great success of the newly released Modern Warfare II. Here’s exactly what the company said about its plans for the franchise next year, including mentioning the next annual game (emphasis mine):
Activision looks forward to building on current momentum in 2023, with plans for next year including the most robust Call of Duty live operations to date, the next full premium release in the blockbuster annual seriesand even more engaging free-to-play experiences across platforms.
In its earnings, Activision also warned Blizzard that it may not be able to strike a new deal to license “several” of its games in China with “a third party”. The agreements, which contributed “about” 3 percent of consolidated net revenues in 2021, will expire in January 2023, the company said. “We are in talks about extending these agreements, but a mutually satisfactory deal cannot be reached.” The co-development and publishing deal for Diablo Immortal with NetEase is not affected as it is covered by a separate agreement.
Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, announced in January, is still making its way through necessary regulatory processes. The acquisition is expected to close sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2023, which ends in June.