Call of Duty: Vanguard is side-eyed as Activision reports a substantial drop in player numbers

Call of Duty: Vanguard is side-eyed as Activision reports a substantial drop in player numbers ...

Activision Blizzards revenue performance is continuing to decline as Microsoft continues to negotiate a $68.7 billion move to bring the huge publisher to Xboxs campus next year. But what is more concerning for both companies might be the decrease in player participation that Activision reports Monday.

Monthly active users, which Activision and many others use as a success indicator while keeping hard-hitting sales hidden, fell to their lowest level since Call of Duty Mobile was launched in the fall of 2019. They were 94 million this year, down 28% from the 127 million in June 2021.

Call of Duty Mobile increased its monthly active users total, from 128 million in the first quarter, compared to 36 million in the preceding quarter.

The decline in player engagement since the peak of 150 million monthly active users in March 2021 suggests that Call of Duty: Vanguard, if not to blame for the decline, may at least have sparked that number with Call of Duty Warzoner Mobile, both of which have proven more successful.

Activision released its annual report on April 30 saying that Vanguard did not meet our expectations, which we believe was primarily due to our own execution. The World War II setting did not resonate with some of our community, and we didn't provide as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked.

FromSoftwares Elden Ring, which was released on February 25, was the top-selling title in the NPD Groups previous 12 months, surprising fans and observers who had expected Call of Duty to be top for the better part of ten years.

Activision said in Monday's statement that Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone had improved some in comparison to the previous quarter, but that Call of Duty's contribution to the business' bottom line remained stable year on year.

The release of free-to-play Diablo Immortal for Blizzard came with one month to go in the most recent quarter, but it still accounted for 27 million monthly active users for the company. That's up 4% year over year, and a 23% increase over the previous quarter, although that was a new low for the company since it reported these statistics back in 2016.

Blizzards' earnings fell 7% from what they were at this point last year; the company was faced with a tough test in 2021 when it launched World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic.