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Call of Duty Won’t Break New Sales Records Until Next Generation

by Bill Hess on May 7, 2012


Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is off to a good start as far as generating buzz for their next shooter, but some analysts see the market for Call of Duty beginning to taper off.  Black Ops 2 smashed sales records for the Call of Duty franchise, selling well at its launch, followed by year long strength month after month until the release of Modern Warfare 3.  The Call of Duty franchise hit a record with over 25 million copies of Black Ops sold, and right now, Modern Warfare 3 sales projections put their latest title well under that.

Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter believes that it’s unrealistic to think Activision can continually grow the franchise with each yearly release.  “I don’t think Modern Warfare 3 is going to sell more than the last Black Ops, so I doubt that this one will break a record.  I think that Call of Duty is a phenomenon, selling way more than 20 million units annually, and it’s unrealistic to think that number can grow meaningfully with each annual release,” Pachter told Games Industry.

“Overall, I think games like Call of Duty need new console hardware – developers are working with 7-year-old technology in an environment when tablets and smart TVs will soon be just as powerful.”

Analysts don’t think the Call of Duty franchise is going anywhere anytime soon.  But one analyst believes that the next major sales catalyst for the franchise will come when new gaming hardware is released.  Colin Sebastian of RW Baird believes that at this point, AAA games are needing better hardware to really generate buzz.  “Overall, I think games like Call of Duty need new console hardware – developers are working with 7-year-old technology in an environment when tablets and smart TVs will soon be just as powerful.”

Nintendo will lead off the next generation with its Wii U hardware in 2012, followed by rumored releases of the PlayStation 4 and Next Xbox at some point in ether late 2013 or 2014.

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  • Anonymous Tom

    I wonder if AOTF is owned or run by this Pachter guy. You guys go to him WAY TOO MUCH for  his “analysis” even though time and time again he’s either blowing smoke or just outright proven wrong. Might I suggest you go with someone more reputable in the future? By the way, Black Ops II has already broken pre-order records for any current-gen Call of Duty….ever.

    • Nicky

      Pre-Orders don’t mean anything.
      I could Pre-Order 5 copies and only buy 1.
      Sales year on year have been going down since BLOPS and will do so without re-invention.
      Let’s face it, call of duty is in no way realistic as it claims.
      They have a year to make a new game, so they us ID Tech year on year.
      They reckon they can have PC quality graphics running at 60fps on a console, they are fucking idiots.
      Battlefield 3 had 30fps and looked like a top notch pc compared to Modern Warfare 3.

  • njb

    Funny how hes blaming 7 year old tech. The engine blackops uses is just out dated and they even said themselves its to costly to develop a new engine.

  • Dan Radler

    I’m not going to lie, I sort of hope that Call of Duty either goes under some serious innovation, or dies off. But that probably won’t happen. If we are lucky though, one of the two is going to happen, and we’ll either get another amazing Call of Duty game in the vein of the original Modern Warfare, or we’ll remember the franchise as still being good before it completely lost all value. It’s time for something new Activision.

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