Activision is still calling Call of Duty 2023 a "full premium release" as if that means anything

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
(Image credit: Activision)

Activision is once again calling Call of Duty 2023 a "full annual premium release," and once again we're asking what the heck that actually means.

"Across the Call of Duty franchise," Activision Blizzard says in its latest financial report, "our teams are working to amplify the success of the fourth quarter, with 2023 plans including even more engaging live services across platforms and the next full annual premium release in the blockbuster series."

Why is the publisher so specific about this being a "full annual premium release"? Well, this has been a bit of a passive-aggressive war of words over the past year. Back in February 2022, Bloomberg reported that Call of Duty would skip its annual entry in 2023. Activision responded by saying it had multiple Call of Duty "experiences" in development.

In October, Bloomberg followed up with a report suggesting that a major Modern Warfare 2 expansion would serve as the big Call of Duty release for 2023. In November, Activision indirectly responded to that rumor in its financial report, saying that Call of Duty 2023 would be a "full premium release" - much the same as today's wording.

At the time, Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reiterated that the 2023 game is a Sledgehammer-developed premium expansion for Modern Warfare 2 – a big expansion, but an expansion nonetheless. He added that Treyarch is working on a fully new game for 2024.

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So what, then, does "full annual premium release" actually mean? Well, now Schreier's speculating that this Modern Warfare 2 expansion could've been built up to such a degree that it could be released as a standalone game - but it's still directly continuing the work started in Modern Warfare 2. Perhaps a Modern Warfare 2-2, to borrow the Final Fantasy naming convention.

Either way, Activision's insistence on calling this a "full annual premium release" seems to be an effort to clarify what the game actually is, but this repeated quote just isn't getting the job done. I, at least, remain exactly as confused on what to expect from the next Call of Duty as I've ever been.

Whatever we get from Call of Duty, the list of new games for 2023 is looking very exciting.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.