Call of Duty might take a year off in 2023

Activision is reportedly worried it's launching games too quickly.

Sledgehammer Games/Activision

You might be waiting a while for the next big Call of Duty game after this year. Bloomberg sources claim Activision is delaying the 2023 Call of Duty release after Vanguard "failed to meet" sales targets. Executives reportedly fear they're releasing games in the franchise too quickly, and that Black Ops Cold War may have eaten some demand for the newer title. The free-to-play Warzone might also have affected sales of the paid releases.

Activision is said to be working on projects that would cover the absence, including a new free-to-play online game as well as a slew of extra content for the flagship Call of Duty game arriving in late 2022. Treyarch is believed to be working on the delayed game and would help with the free-to-play offering. The delay isn't connected to Microsoft's purchase of Activision, according to the tipsters. That deal isn't expected to close until 2023.

The publisher didn't confirm or deny the delay in a statement to Bloomberg. Instead, the spokesman promised an "exciting slate" of paid and free Call of Duty "experiences" for 2022, 2023 and the years ahead. Activision would share more when the "time is right," according to the representative. The company had already revealed that this year's release is an Infinity Ward-developed sequel to the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot.

The rumored delay comes as Ubisoft is said to be converting an Assassin's Creed Valhalla expansion into DLC as it looks to fill a void between Valhalla itself and the online-oriented Infinity. While the circumstances behind the shifting schedules are different, there's a common element: both major publishers are struggling to maintain the annual release schedules for their signature franchises. There's no guarantee the companies will slow their releases from this day forward, but they might not be quite as predictable as in years past.