In context: The Call of Duty games have always been popular, but Activision's latest entry in the franchise, Warzone, has blown the past games out of the water. The completely free-to-play battle royale has experienced a tremendous growth spurt throughout 2020, allowing the franchise to achieve a total of 111 million monthly active users as of Q3 2020.
That's monthly active users, mind, not all-time players or sales. Even for a franchise as established as this, that's an incredible level of success to achieve in just a year. However, that's for all platforms – on PC, specifically, Modern Warfare and its standalone Warzone add-on has been responsible for equally-impressive growth.
Whereas console player numbers grew "strongly," the monthly player count on PC grew by more than 10x compared to last year's player numbers (for 2019's premium CoD game) around this time.
"The combination of premium Modern Warfare content and the free-to-play Warzone experience on PC and console continues to expand the community and drive deep engagement," said Activision Blizzard President & COO Daniel Algere during the earnings call.
Personally, we think Algere is probably giving "premium" content a bit too much credit here. It's no secret that Call of Duty's full-priced games sell like hotcakes, but since Warzone's barrier to entry is a whopping $0, it's much easier to believe that it's the game that has driven most of Activision's latest growth.
Notably, Algere says that starting with the "first season of in-game content" in December, Activision's next title – Black Ops Cold War – will be "integrated into Warzone." Apparently, this integration will include Cold war's characters and weaponry, so you won't have to pay full price for the game to experience some of what it has to offer.