Bottom line: It's no secret that Call of Duty games are a money-printing machine for publisher Activision Blizzard, and this year has been no different. The Modern Warfare reboot and the recently released Black Ops Cold War game generated no less than $3 billion in net revenue, making 2020 a new record year for the beloved franchise.
For the past six months, many gamers have lamented the sheer size of an installation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which reached a whopping 188 GB and will likely grow bigger in 2021. When the system requirements for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War were revealed, it was 175 GB to boot and 250 GB if you wanted ray tracing, but luckily Activision shaved that to under 100 GB and 125 GB, respectively. And you can now easily uninstall parts of the game that you don't want to play.
It turns out that's not the only superlative characteristic of the franchise, as it's added over $3 billion in the bank for Activision just in the last 12 months alone. This figure includes game sales, in-game transactions, merchandise, license fees, and represents net revenues.
Activision says that's an 80 percent increase in bookings year-to-date and a 40 percent increase in game sales year-over-year. Excluding the mobile game, the company estimates more than 200 million people have played the game across PC and consoles over the past 12 months. And 85 million people are playing Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale mode that was introduced back in March.
The company attributes this growth at least in part to the franchise's "shared ecosystem business model," as well as the large amount of post-release content that has kept players engaged. Executive VP and General Manager Byron Beede noted that Black Ops Cold War "is the next great chapter in Black Ops with an amazing campaign, an all-new zombies experience and of course, high-octane multiplayer. Launch is only the beginning. We are focused on building a continuous pipeline featuring a tremendous amount of free, post-launch content and events across the franchise."
Come December 16, Activision will release the first season of Warzone content for Black Ops Cold War, which will include a new map and play mode, 30 new weapons, and a new Gulag experience.