Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is now available to play on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows, on Steam and Battle.net.
It is the twentieth game in the long running multiplayer shooter franchise from Activision. It is now generally well known that the game’s content was originally planned as DLC for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, which just released last year.
It is also the last game to be produced under the exclusive marketing deal Activision made with PlayStation. It also happens to be the latest sequel of the game that was scheduled to land on the same year that Microsoft finalized their deal to acquire Activision, and that’s placed the game under strange circumstances.
As some fans, influencers, and games media have pointed out, the pivot to turn Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II DLC to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III looks like it was a last minute decision. In particular, Activision leadership may have gotten cold feet around the end of 2023 / start of 2024 because Microsoft was still trying to secure approval for the deal from regulators. Sometime around this point, it is believed that Activision decided to make this change, so that Activision would have a game ready to release just in case the deal was not finalized by then.
What many, if not all, may have disregarded, is the suggestion that Activision originally had a different game planned for release, but for whatever reason, Activision was worried it would not make it for the deal in time. Activision has confirmed the reason for their decision, but hasn’t spoken about this situation in general. So we don’t really know for sure what other game had to be cancelled or delayed because of the Microsoft- Activision deal getting delayed.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is receiving poor reviews all around, but to a certain degree, that isn’t important to Microsoft or Activision. Criticisms of the good mainly go to the short narrative campaign and relative dearth of content. While these criticisms are valid, they will fail to truly affect the fact that Call of Duty is one of those annualized video game franchises.
Gamers buy these annualized games regardless of the reviews, because these games are also designed to bring friends and communities together. So, people buy these games to play with their friends, especially around the holidays. To be fair, good critical reception has a high correlation to higher sales.