Activision blames WWII setting for poor Vanguard sales

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Call of Duty publisher Activision blamed Vanguard’s World War II setting for its disappointing sales performance.


In its annual report, the soon-to-be-acquired gaming giant also cited a lack of innovation compared to more recent entries in the first-person shooter franchise.

Vanguard or Black Ops Cold War? Which Call of Duty is the best?

Activision hasn’t provided exact numbers, though its statement below suggests that Vanguard failed to move as many copies as Black Ops Cold War or 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot.

While Call of Duty remains one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, our 2021 premium release fell short of our expectations we believe primarily due to our own execution.

The game’s WWII setting didn’t resonate with some members of our community, and we didn’t bring as much innovation to the premium game as we would have liked.

Developer Sledgehammer Games opted to continue with this setting after the runaway success of COD WW2. It gave the series a much-needed boost in the arm as we returned to a boots-on-the-pitch style of play.

It’s hard to say how much the setting contributed to Vanguard’s lack of appeal. WWII shooters have increased with alternate games such as Enlisted and Hell Let Loose doing reasonably well.

When it comes to innovation, it’s fair to say that Vanguard and Cold War before it built on the foundation laid by Modern Warfare. It’s also worth considering the behemoth that is Call of Duty Warzone and how a number of fans have likely stuck with its free offering instead of buying Vanguard.

Naturally, Activision is confident in its next game, Modern Warfare 2, which was teased last month.

In our Call of Duty Vanguard review, we rated the sequel a heroic 9/10:

The stars have aligned for Call of Duty: Vanguard. For the first time, it really feels like a complete package without any caveats. Sure, some parts are naturally stronger than others, but there’s no weak link in sight. After back-to-back triumphs, Call of Duty is now on a kill streak.

Call of Duty Vanguard is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.


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