Activision Taking Call of Duty ‘Back to Its Roots’ After Response to ‘Infinite Warfare’

Activision shed some light on their financial performance for 2016 with the expected highs and lows surrounding their biggest games.

2016 was a big year for the Activision Blizzard behemoth, heavily influenced by the breakaway success of competitive multiplayer shooter Overwatch from Blizzard. It soared past the 25 million player mark faster than any game the company has ever published.

At the same time, Blizzard’s collectible card game Hearthstone grew its own player base by a whopping 20%, and MMO mainstay World of Warcraft managed to bring back a further 10% of its intrepid legion of heroes. The Blizzard half of Activision Blizzard definitely wore the pants in 2016.

The Activision side struggled a little. While they didn’t comment directly on the performance of their latest entry in the Skylanders series, COO Thomas Tippl did confirm that they wouldn’t be following Skylanders Imaginators with a new entry in 2017. Instead, they’ll focus on porting it to the forthcoming Nintendo Switch and supplement with further characters and adventures.

Tippl also addressed concerns about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s performance. He said that “it’s clear” that setting the latest entry in space “didn’t resonate” with “a portion” of their audience, and promised to take the series “back to its roots” with the next entry, presumably launching for the 2017 holiday season.

“Traditional combat” will be the focus as Activision tries to redeem itself in the eyes of consumers turned off by the increased reliance on science fiction to compete with the franchise’s competitors.

While Activision didn’t enjoy unmitigated success, their missteps didn’t seem to cause them to falter too greatly. While Activision Blizzard isn’t expecting to impress as much in 2017 due to a “lighter” release schedule, a return to what made Call of Duty into an industry juggernaut should be welcome news to fans turned off by the games set far in the future that the series has released the last few years.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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