Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 has already hit 25 million players since releasing just this last November 16, 2022.
This follows the success of its sibling game, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. That game had made $ 1 billion in a span of 10 days since its launch. It had also been noted that it was approaching Call of Duty Vanguard’s lifetime sales record in a matter of days.
Now, it should be noted that Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 need to be assessed somewhat differently to determine their financial success. The main thing is, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is still a full priced retail game. This means that most of the money that this game will be making will be in its launch and the succeeding weeks, if not months, and the expected trend is for the sales numbers to be largest within the month of launch, if not the day itself. This doesn’t mean Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 won’t be making any more money afterwards. It does mean that the expected return on investment on full retail games like it is comparatively shorter.
On the other hand, Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 is a free-to-play online game. The monetization model is more obtuse, and the developer needs to take a few steps before they can expect to make big money in the game. For free-to-play games like Call of Duty Warzone 2.0, they have to build communities of gamers that keep everyone else playing and interested in getting better, or getting advantages over other players. The vast majority of those players will never buy anything, and there will also be a smaller group that will pay for something once or only a few times.
The return on investment for free-to-play games sometimes comes almost immediately, if the game is an instant hit, but it can also take months or years. For big companies like Activision, that’s perfectly acceptable, since they expect to make considerably more money over time, from a comparatively smaller number of players who are big spenders.
So these numbers indicate that Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 has definitely already succeeded at building those communities that drive purchases. It may have helped that Activision made the conscious choice to briefly close the original Call of Duty Warzone down, to bring back later as Call of Duty Warzone Caldera. Whether that was a trick to get players to move to the new game, a sincere attempt at tying together the two games and keep the original alive, or a little bit of both, it’s clear that Activision got the favorable outcome they wanted.