Activision Sees Call of Duty as “Best of Both Worlds” in Terms of Live Services and Yearly Releases

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With “live services” games like Destiny 2, The Division 2, and to a lesser extent, Rainbow Six Siege, some might be wondering whether Activision has plans to follow suit with its Call of Duty franchise. Well, the short answer is, no. In today’s Q2 2019 earnings call, Activision explained why they’re not stopping with Call of Duty yearly releases.

In the earnings conference call, Michael Ng of Goldman Sachs asked that given Call of Duty might have the potential to sustain over multiple years, is Activision considering not releasing a new Call of Duty game every year.

Michael Ng: Hi, thank you very much for the question. I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit more about the future of the Call of Duty franchise. Specifically, it seems that with the focus toward Call of Duty titles that might have the potential to sustain over multiple years. We may be going toward a business model that it doesn’t necessarily involve annual releases but instead a few franchises that our perpetual live service gains. Would that be consistent with what’s your vision for the future of Call of Duty, it looks like? Thanks.

Thanks for the question and it’s a good one at that because we’re taking some important steps to grow the franchise overall, and there’s probably a few things I mentioned here. Now obviously Call of Duty mobile, it’s going to be an ongoing live services title. We’re building a huge stream of content and events, keep our players around the globe haven’t fun for the long haul on this one. But if I look overall on the console and PC side, we do still see new launches as a critical part of our future.

These new releases are, have been and continue to be a huge engagement drivers for our community because they bring a robust set of new experiences to our fan. So that said, obviously we want to also build player engagement here over time as well. We’re very committed on this front. You’re going to start seeing that in a few ways, first with modern warfare. – Robert Kostich, President of Activision

 If I might just jump on to the question, just to talk more broadly, not just Call of Duty, but also the rest of the franchises in our portfolio, because I think the question is broader really about how we think about live services. And we recognize that the key to player engagement is really great ongoing and frequent content coupled with like core game play features and services that really keep the players engaged.

And you’ve heard that today, the investment that we’re putting against that initiative and the resources we’re bringing to bear and earlier results we’re seeing, I really meant, to think about our franchises as live services. That said, we do see across many of our franchises major upfront launches as a very effective and important way to refresh the franchise, to drive innovation, to reach out to new players, to expand the community and so in the resources there are putting into our franchises.

As you see in the additional investment, we think we can get the best of both worlds. We can get live services an ongoing way and then major upfront launches to really drive innovation and to refresh the franchise and expand the community.- Coddy Johnson, President, Chief Operating Officer

Well, there you have it, folks. Don’t expect Activision to stop pushing out yearly Call of Duty titles anytime soon even if live services games are becoming more and more popular. Then again, given how each release nets the company billions, why would they want to not release a new one every year, no?

For reference, this year’s Call of Duty title is none other than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which will be released this October 25.

Are you surprised at Activision’s answers or not at all? And do you think Call of Duty will still thrive being released annually even if we move to next-gen?

Source: Seeking Alpha (login required)

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