While the game has been one of the industry’s best-selling titles since its November 2021 release, its performance has been relatively weak for a new entry in the annual blockbuster franchise, falling short of past releases including its predecessor Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
Writing in its new annual report, Activision said Vanguard’s setting was poorly received by some players, and that a lack of innovation had also impacted sales.
Call of Duty: Vanguard | Story Trailer
“While Call of Duty remains one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, our 2021 premium release didn’t meet our expectations, we believe primarily due to our own execution.
“The game’s World War II 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 liked.”
Activision went on to say it has high hopes for the next entry in the series, Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
“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.”
Activision revealed last August that all of its core studios were now working on Call of Duty.
However, the publisher has reportedly decided to delay next year’s Call of Duty game, which would mark the first time in nearly 20 years that the series has skipped an annual release.
According to a Bloomberg report published in February, the company opted to push back the release of a new Treyarch-led game after Vanguard failed to meet expectations, “leading some executives to believe that they’re introducing new versions too rapidly”.
The Activision side of Activision Blizzard’s business saw a significant drop in its player base during the 12 months ended March 31, 2022.
According to recently published internal figures, Activision’s monthly active users—which are thought to be almost wholly comprised of Call of Duty players—declined from 150 million a year earlier to 100 million.