Call of Duty 2014 coming from Sledgehammer, franchise now on three-studio rotation


Call of Duty is now a three-studio franchise with a three-year rotation schedule, with Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games officially joining Infinity Ward and Treyarch.  
The news comes from the twin publisher’s fourth quarter and calendar 2013 financial report. Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games will now each have three years to produce a Call of Duty game, rotating through in a staggered fashion to continue the yearly release cycle.

Sledgehammer will be behind the 2014 Call of Duty.  In a post-release conference call to investors, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said he expects Sledgehammer’s 2014 Call of Duty game to be “one of if not the best” Call of Duty games ever.

Call of Duty was the top franchise in North America for the fifth consecutive year, the publisher added in a post-release conference call, and Black Ops 2 alone was played for over 4 billion hours in 2013.

Yearly revenue was $4.5 billion, also down, from 2012′s $4.8 billion. Net income was $1 billion, down from $1.1 billion in 2012.

That Activision Blizzard performed beyond expectations will likely satisfy shareholders, but Kotick felt moved to explain away the dip anyway, pointing out the significant changes to the company’s management over the past 12 years, as it sought and obtained independence from former parent company Vivendi.

“2013 was a transformational year for Activision Blizzard and for our industry. Our transaction with Vivendi returned us to independence and eliminated the challenges and constraints of being a
controlled company,” he said.

“The continued success of our games delivered better-than-expected financial results, including stronger net revenues and earnings per share, and over $1.26 billion in operating cash flow.”

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