Call of Duty is bleeding players. According to Activision's first 2022 investor report published today, users across Call of Duty games plummeted throughout 2021 and into 2022. The series, which in 2021 reached 150 million monthly active users thanks to Call of Duty: Warzone's immense popularity, has steadily lost 50 million players in a year.
Now, Call of Duty has around 100 million players. That's still a whole lot of people, but it's the steepest decline the series has seen since Warzone released in 2020. Activision is attributing the sharp fall to disappointing sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard and "lower engagement" in Warzone. Activision has mentioned Vanguard's lower-than-usual sales before, but considering Warzone is free-to-play and likely represents the biggest chunk of Call of Duty players, it probably deserves a lot of the 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 to the game, including boring seasonal additions, disruptive balancing problems, and a new map that launched with game-breaking bugs that wouldn't be fixed for weeks.
Activision increasingly seems to be banking its hopes on Infinity Ward, the fan-favorite Call of Duty developer. The studio is working on a sequel to Modern Warfare 2019 coming later this year as well as spearheading a sequel to Warzone made from the "ground-up" on the engine powering the next Modern Warfare.
Warzone 2, or whatever Activision decides to call it, will be unveiled sometime this year and release in 2023.