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Sony's numbers show that PlayStation is greatly benefiting from Call of Duty's existence on its consoles in more ways than one.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Soldier in a ghilly suit from Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty franchise has been extremely popular on PlayStation over the last few years. 

A recent Sony document with improper redactions reveals that the shooter franchise has been played by 43 million unique users with PlayStation consoles since 2019. It accounts 2/3 of PlayStation's install base in the US, and it was played on 32 million PS systems. 

2019 is an interesting year to note, as it's when Infinity Ward rebooted its beloved sub-franchise Modern Warfare. That reboot earned $1 billion in revenue after two months of release, and its 2022 sequel Modern Warfare II became a member of the billion dollar club in just over a week of coming out. 

That same document notes that on its own, Call of Duty earns $1 billion annually on PlayStation, which helps to explain Sony's worry about losing it if Microsoft gets to purchase Activision Blizzard. Previously, it said the series was one of its biggest third-party sources for revenue. 

A history of PlayStation and Call of Duty's relationship

Call of Duty has been a key point of concern for Sony, and these numbers show that it's currently got a good deal going with Activision Blizzard. Modern Warfare II was revealed to be one of 2022's most-downloaded PlayStation games, and sold 4.4 million PlayStation copies in its first week of release. 

According to PlayStation's Jim Ryan, the series has generated $800 million in spending on Sony hardware in the US, and $1.5 billion across the globe. In terms of multiplatform, Call of Duty has overall generated 27 billion in lifetime earnings, as of 2020.

Beginning in 2015 with Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops III, PlayStation had timed exclusivity rights on DLC maps. That deal remains ongoing, though it's set to end in 2024 with the release of the next premium Call of Duty title. 

Next week, Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is one of July's PlayStation Plus monthly games. Earlier entries in the series (such as Call of Duty: Black Ops III) have been added to the service or made free for a limited time, which is something it can hold over Xbox Game Pass.

Sony considers Call of Duty to be the definitive first-person shooter, and previously admitted that it would be difficult to create something of equal measure. At the same time, it hasn't eagerly taken a new 10-year deal that Microsoft offered for the franchise to stay multiplatform, so it's hard to tell where the company's head is at.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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