The Call of Duty franchise has generated “life to date consumer spending of around $27 billion” since launching in 2003, according to publisher Activision Blizzard.
The figure “makes it one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time”, president and COO Daniel Alegre said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday.
CEO Bobby Kotick also said Call of Duty attracted over 250 million players in 2020, up from 70 million in 2018.
Likely driven by the popularity of free-to-play games Call of Duty Warzone and Call of Duty Mobile, the brand “sustained more than 100 million monthly active players” for a fifth consecutive quarter (up from 40 million in 2018).
Call of Duty premium unit sales grew more than 40% year-over-year in 2020, with a continued “strong shift” to digital downloads, helping the franchise achieve annual net bookings of “approximately double the year ago level”, Activision said.
The company also announced plans to launch a new premium Call of Duty game in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The first season of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone content has seen the most Battle Passes consumed since the introduction of the new in-game system in late 2019, Activision added.
Given the franchise’s success, Activision Blizzard said it plans to apply the Call of Duty framework across its other brands, mixing multiplatform, free-to-play and premium experiences. In line with this strategy, it announced that multiple free-to-play Warcraft mobile games are deep in development.