Microsoft have confirmed that Call of Duty Mobile will be superseded by Warzone Mobile, and be phased out once the latter releases.
In a response to the remedies suggested by the UK’s CMA (Competition & Markets Authority), it was revealed that CoD: Mobile would be superseded by the upcoming release of Warzone Mobile. The text of the document specifically states that, “CoD: Mobile was developed and is owned by TiMi Studios, a subsidiary of Tencent. Any spinout of the game would therefore [Redacted]. CoD: Mobile is expected to be phased out over time (outside of China) with the launch of Warzone Mobile.”
The indication is that Tencent’s running of CoD: Mobile is being presented as enough to differentiate it in the eyes of regulators by Microsoft. However, it may also be a clue as to why CoD: Mobile will be phased out, if this does indeed happen. Stephen Totilo of Axios speculated as much on his twitter, noting that Warzone Mobile is developed internally by Activision with progression tied to the mainline entries on PC and console. In contrast, CoD: Mobile is a closed silo, owned and operated by Tencent’s TiMi Studios.
Although Microsoft has previously stated how significant mobile will be in its decision to pursue the Activision-Blizzard merger, it seems they are also reluctant to consider divesting from the extremely lucrative CoD licence. Emphasising how disproportionate they believe the proposed loss of the title to be as, “Even a divestment of the CoD business or the Activision segment alone would be the largest divestment the CMA has required under the Enterprise Act 2002.”
The decision to phase out CoD: Mobile may also be a strategic choice to bring more development in-house when, or if, the merger is completed. By leveraging the existing mobile games expertise present in Activision-Blizzard, Microsoft would likely hope to reduce its reliance on third parties such as Tencent. This would be a similar situation to Blizzard’s high-profile breakup with Netease when their deal to manage games by the developer in China fell through.