Activision can look forward to another year of decline for Call of Duty, according to a report from GamesIndustry International. Industry analyst group Sterne Agee is predicting another down year for the massive franchise – a 15 percent drop.
The franchise started an upward trend last generation with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that continued consistently through the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts was the first game to see decline, selling nearly 20% less than its predecessor. This was blamed primarily on last fall being a transitional year between the two generations of consoles, though this year is almost as much of a transition as last, with more and more gamers looking seriously at picking up a new system and possibly waiting until Christmas to look at buying new games. The other factor is that Ghosts was the most critically panned game in the series in a while, with both the single and multiplayer suffering in reviews.
If the game does indeed see a second year of decline, that will be cause for great concern within Activision. The company is banking on Destiny to become another tentpole franchise, and a weakening Call of Duty will only put that much more pressure on Bungie to deliver a sequel or some kind of substantial addition to the series. As GamesIndustry International points out, EA’s next Battlefield game, Battlefield: Hardline, was delayed until March 2015, giving the franchise a bit of extra breathing room.
It’s worth mentioning that Activision’s call for concern is just about any other publisher’s unachievable dream: A 15 percent drop from last year would put the game at around 17 million units sold, down from 20 million with Ghosts. Call of Duty may be in decline – or just temporary dip as we get used to the new consoles – but it’s still a monster at the cash register.