Why Was Call Of Duty: Black Ops IIII Moved To October Vs. The Traditional November Release

When Activision and Treyarch formally announced the long-rumored next Call of Duty game would indeed be a fourth entry into the Black Ops series; it not only confirmed rumors but raised some interesting questions as well.

The core series has had annual releases in November since the console only Call of Duty 3; and aside from some platform specific games and remasters, this has been the norm for the series. It was for me a brow rising moment when I saw that Black Ops IIII is releasing on October 12th. While moving up the launch 3-5 weeks before what one might expect, it does indicate that there are some very interesting possible reasons for that as well as some questions.

With that in mind, let us look at some of the possible reasons behind the early than expected release date.

Although the series has always sold well, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare did sell below expectations so there was a bit of concern that franchise fatigue may be setting in. Call of Duty: WW2 sold well and helped alleviate much of the negativity from the previous game but Activision is clearly not playing it safe. With EA announcing that a new Battlefield game will be shown at their EA Play event before E3 in June, it is possible that unlike previous years where both franchises release a game, Activision wants to be first.

With EA still dealing with the fallout from the Loot Crate issues leading to lower than expected sales for EA Star Wars Battlefront 2, as well as the disappointment many had with Mass Effect: Andromeda, Activision could see their chief rival as being more vulnerable as ever and are looking to reassert their dominance in a big way by being first to the market instead of letting EA go first.

Another possible reason could be that there will be an increase of AAA titles coming this Fall. With E3 coming in June, many games will be revealed as well as launch dates for previously announced titles. Activision could be looking to get a jump on sales with an earlier release.

While Call of Duty has largely been unaffected by any competition and has amassed huge sales in November, and December in years past, the company could be eager to avoid thinking that consumer support is back to the usual levels and is not willing to fully risk that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare having a sales dip was an exception.

Another factor could be the desire of the company to get a jump on any controversies that may arise. With the recent incidents of horrific school violence, games such as Call of Duty are being singled out again by politicians and various activism groups. The earlier release could be a way to mitigate potential fallout by getting the game out earlier to either A: take advantage of the attention the series is getting or B: give the game a sales advantage should new regulations be placed on the gaming industry.

While I love the idea of getting to play the final build of the game weeks earlier than expected, I do hope that the game is stable at launch as my first thought was that the multiplayer portion of the game may have more than the usual launch issues due to less weeks of developers to patch potential issues before the game releases. While we may never fully know why the release date is earlier than expected, one things is for sure, the latest installment of the series is sure to spark much interest and debate in the months ahead leading to release.