In a surprise Twitch stream today, Activision and Treyarch revealed that the next Call of Duty game will indeed be Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4.
As rumors and leaks suggested, the game is actually Black Ops 4, apparently using a tally system rather than the more conventional Roman numeral, IV. There’s virtually no other information on this at this time other than we now know that a full reveal is coming May 17th.
What’s more interesting is Black Ops 4’s launch date: October 12th. This is the first time since Call of Duty 2 that a game in the franchise has released in October. Both it and the very first Call of Duty launched in October, but every game since then has released in early November. And those two games came out in late October.
So why is Treyarch releasing Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 on October 12th, a month earlier than virtually every other game in the series? I have a nagging suspicion that it has to do with Rockstar’s mega-release of Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 26th.
Grand Theft Auto V was the fastest-selling video game of all time, and has gone on to sell over 90 million copies. To give you some perspective here, within three days of its release, GTA V had topped $1 billion in sales. We’ve spent the past several weeks talking about how Black Panther is one of the biggest superhero movies of all time, and it still hasn’t crossed $1 billion at the global box office. Right now it stands at a cumulative global box office of $932 million after hitting theaters three weeks ago. GTA V beat that in three days, nearly five years ago.
Red Dead Redemption 2 probably won’t be quite the juggernaut that GTA V was but it’s still bound to be a huge release. If Activision released Black Ops 4 in the first week of November, it would fall directly in the wake of Rockstar’s beast. Perhaps just as importantly, it’s very likely that EA’s Battlefield game—WWII themed Battlefield V—will launch in late October. Battlefield 1 launched on October 21st, 2016. Battlefield 4 came out on October 29th, 2013. It’s entirely possible that EA will also move up that release due to Rockstar’s domination at the end of the month, but now early October is a much less appealing window.
With an October 12th release date, Activision and Treyarch can get the jump on both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Battlefield V, entering into the holiday season out front rather than in the tailwinds of its biggest competitors. It also gives the game more time to rack up sales prior to the end of the year. While Call of Duty is almost always the best-selling game of the year, that’s far from certain in 2018 thanks to RDR2. With an extra month of sales, Activision might tilt the scales.
Whatever the reasons, this definitely seems like a smart move.