While Call of Duty: Warzone originally launched as the free-to-play battle royale component of Modern Warfare, the game is now its own beast, and has integrated Black Ops Cold War into it as well. Now if you’re thinking that Activision would be stopping there, you’re dead wrong.
During Activision’s quarterly earnings report, President of Activision Rob Kostich revealed that COD Warzone will be “front and center” for the publisher for a “long time.”
Tyler Parker (KeyBanc Capital Markets): I‘d like to touch on Call of Duty first, I guess. So first off, now that you’ve launched a new addition in the franchise with Black Ops Cold War and integrated it into Warzone, I guess what are learning so far? Has it gone as expected? And then following up on that, just reinforce your confidence maybe in the strategy going forward, or did you come away with any new ideas on how to integrate this future releases into the Warzone experience? Thanks.
Rob Kostich (President of Activision): Hey, Tyler. It’s Rob. Thanks for the question. As you mentioned Warzone is now tightly integrated both with Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare. And this was a really big effort by our development teams across content, progression, in-game systems and a lot more. And overall as we’ve noted on the call, it’s gone extremely well now. We have historic fourth quarter engagement across our premium games and Warzone. We had a record second year sales for Modern Warfare in 2020, and also the Black Ops Cold War sales started strong even gained momentum in December when we launched Season 1 and the great news is we’re seeing positive momentum early in this quarter as well.
Now that said to your question we learned a lot through this integration. I’d say here is probably few of the toplines. Black Ops Cold War brought a ton of content to Warzone, at over 30 new weapons, new operators and a lot more, and this was a massive update that required a lot of resources on our side. And having gone through this integration now we now have even a greater sense for how we can make these transitions work even better and smoother for all of our players in the future. And this is really important for us because Warzone it’s going to be front and center for us for a long time.
Given how Activision reported that it garnered over 250 million players for Call of Duty in 2020 — a number I suspect was buoyed by Warzone being F2P — I don’t see Activision easing up on the Warzone throttle anytime soon.
Does this mean we’ll see this year’s Call of Duty be revealed using Warzone as a platform again (like it was for Black Ops Cold War)? I wouldn’t bet against it.