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With how popular the Call of Duty franchise is, bringing its three older games to Steam might give those titles a breath of fresh lead.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 8, 2023

2 Min Read
Promotional art for Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: Vanguard featuring the campaign characters.

Call of Duty's PC presence just grew, as Activision Blizzard has released three of the franchise's most recent entries on Steam. As of today, 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot, along with 2020's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and 2021's Call of Duty: Vanguard are now on Valve's marketplace. 

Before this, the three games were previously only playable on PC via Battle.net, the storefront and social service primarily for Blizzard Entertainment games. Starting with 2018's Call of Duty: Black Ops IV, the franchise has been sold to PC players exclusively via Battle.net.

That these three Call of Duty games are now on Steam likely has to do with the success of 2022's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. The billion dollar shooter was one of 2022's best sold games on Steam, and had similar success on PlayStation.

Each of the three "new" Call of Duty titles are priced at $30 on Steam until March 23, at which point they'll run for their original retail prices of $60. It should also be noted that playing any of the three games on Steam will require players have an Activision account. 

How Steam fits into Microsoft's Call of Duty plans

Ever since Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty has become the largest focal point of the entire merger. Concerns from regulators and Sony alike have pointed out how the shooter franchise could be used by Microsoft as a bargaining tool to bring in players to Xbox and its Game Pass ecosystem. 

Putting three (slightly) older Call of Duty games on Steam shows Microsoft's stated commitment to keeping the series multiplatform. The Xbox maker has said time and again it'll ensure the franchise isn't Xbox-exclusive for the next decade, and this is an attempted show of good faith that it'll keep its word. 

It may also be that Activision Blizzard is bringing over games whose lifecycles are basically over. We saw Ubisoft recently adopt this strategy with 2020's Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which came to Steam in December 2022. 

This also raises questions about the next large-scale Call of Duty game expected to release later this year. That currently unannounced title is meant to be an extension of Modern Warfare II, which was the first game in the series in years to hit Steam on day one.

Given how well it did on Valve's marketplace, and depending on the performance of these old games, the semi-successor to Modern Warfare II may see a day one release on Steam as well. 

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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