Call of Duty: Fans blast Activision for calling 2023 release ‘premium’

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Call of Duty fans have blasted publisher Activision Blizzard for calling the game’s 2023 release a “full annual premium release” in a recent financial report.

Players said they did not understand why Activision insisted on calling the game a “premium” release. Some fans described the term as a “cliché buzzword.” They added that they did not know what to expect from the new game.

In February 2022, Bloomberg reported that Activision would skip the annual release of Call of Duty in 2023. Activision responded to the report, saying it had several Call of Duty “experiences” in the works.

Bloomberg published a follow-up report in October 2022 that suggested the big Call of Duty release for the following year would come in the form of a major Modern Warfare 2 expansion.

According to Bloomberg, the 2023 game is a premium expansion for Modern Warfare 2, developed by Sledgehammer Games. Bloomberg added that developer Treyarch Corporation was working on a fully new game to be released in 2024.

Activision did not provide a direct response to Bloomberg’s October report. However, the company announced in November that Call of Duty 2023 would be a “full premium release,” using the same terms as in the more recent report.

Following Activision’s new report, analysts speculated that the developer had built the Modern Warfare 2 expansion into a standalone game. Sources said the new Call of Duty game would come out this fall.

Regardless of Activision’s promise to keep players engaged via the said premium release, many Call of Duty fans expressed disappointment in the company’s plans for the series. They referred to the current Modern Warfare 2, which they said had failed to satisfy players.

For example, players of Modern Warfare 2 recently slammed Activision for not bringing back the Gunfight mode, which was a popular mode in the earlier version of the game. Modern Warfare 2 players also complained about the heavy monetization of the game.

Despite the criticisms surrounding Modern Warfare 2, Activision gained significant profits from the game. Analysts said it was one of the reasons why the publisher extended the game’s lifetime by introducing Season 2.

Microsoft’s plan to acquire Activision

Activision published its latest financial report amid several issues plaguing the company, including regulatory blocks of its acquisition by Microsoft. The tech giant plans to purchase Activision in a deal worth $75 billion.

Authorities in the U.K., E.U. and the U.S. have raised concerns that the acquisition is Microsoft’s attempt to block competitors in the market.

Analysts said by acquiring Activision, Microsoft would have control over the publisher’s popular games like Call of Duty and could turn them into games specific to its console brand, Xbox.

Currently, both companies await verdicts from the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority about whether the deal violates fair competition regulations. Last December, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission also filed suit against Microsoft to halt its acquisition of Activision.

It will be Microsoft’s biggest acquisition if the deal continues, boosting Microsoft into the third-largest gaming company by revenue, only behind Japan’s Sony and China’s Tencent.

Activision chief executive Bobby Kotick said the U.K. could miss a post-Brexit opportunity to create thousands of new jobs if it prevented the deal.

He said that “ideologues” were taking over the authoritative agencies in these regions. Kotick also accused Sony of attempting to “sabotage” the deal.

Despite the challenge, Kotick said he was optimistic that Activision and Microsoft could conclude the deal by July 2023.