Call of Duty maintained 100 million monthly players in 2020

CoD Know Your History
(Image credit: Activision)

As the sky is blue and water is wet, a lot of people are playing Call of Duty. And thanks to the explosive popularity of the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone, the series' player numbers are holding strong going into 2021. Activision had as much to share in its latest earnings call. Throughout the last months of 2020, Call of Duty sustained over 100 million monthly players.

That number is assumedly shared by every CoD title that still has an online community (and surely includes console players as well as PC) but the lion's share of that pool naturally belongs to Warzone and Black Ops - Cold War. We learned in December that Warzone alone blew past 85 million players since its March 2020 launch.

"Warzone is going to be front-and-center for us for a long time," Activision Publishing president Rob Kostich added in the earnings call.

Looking at the active player numbers across other Activision games, it's clear why that is. Compared to Call of Duty's 100 million, every Blizzard game combined (primarily World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch) amounted to 29 million players in the same period. The situation is a bit different considering two out of three of those games aren't free-to-play and aren't on as many platforms, but it's still a staggering contrast. Blizzard's audience is less than a third the size of CoD right now.

That hardly means Blizzard's games aren't still successful: countless multiplayer games would be ecstatic to boast a million monthly players. With the release of Shadowlands, WoW is at its most popular in a decade. It really just speaks to CoD's renewed popularity. People like free games, especially when they're good. Hopefully Activision doesn't squander this momentum as Warzone continues to struggle with game-breaking bugs and cheaters.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.