Oh, no, it’s not about the toxic working environment… it’s just that Activision has admitted, with great difficulty, that gamers are tired of World War II.
It seems Activision Blizzard isn’t entirely happy with the performance of Call of Duty: Vanguard, either. In its recently released 2021 Annual Report, the company wrote that Vanguard did not meet expectations, “primarily due to our own execution.”
“The game’s World War 2 setting didn’t resonate with some of our community and we didn’t deliver as much innovation in the premium game as we would have like,” the report said.
“We are certainly addressing both of these issues with the 2022 launch. Developer on the 2022 premium and Warzone experiences is being led by Activision’s renowned Infinity Ward studio. We are working on the most ambitious plan in Call of Duty history, with over 3,000 people now working on the franchise and a return to the Modern Warfare setting that delivered our most successful Call of Duty title ever.”
Call of Duty definitely seems to be struggling, at least compared to the heady days of 2020 and early 2021 after the release of Warzone. It has lost 50 million players in the past year alone due to a mixture of disappointing Vanguard sales and Warzone’s “lower engagement”. However, we’ve speculated that it was probably the live-play battle royale Warzone that was responsible for much of the loss.
Still, it seems clear that Activision is placing much of the blame on Vanguard and the WWII environment in general. In fact, Vanguard faced several problems, including bugs, content delays and geographical confusion leading up to and after launch. In contrast, Activision Blizzard faced allegations of widespread workplace abuse that came to light before Vanguard’s announcement.
Activision Blizzard clearly has very high hopes for Modern Warfare 2.
The following premium release in the Call of Duty series, officially confirmed last week, looks to be a very different story. Despite Vanguard’s relative disappointment, there’s good reason to be. While not the most accurate metric, Vanguard’s August 2021 reveal tweet received just under 34,000 likes; by contrast, Black Ops – Cold War 2020’s reveal tweet exceeded 118,000 likes, while Modern Warfare 2’s reveal tweet now stands at over 172,000 likes.
Source: Activision Blizzard