Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, isn’t worried about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Despite analyst predictions that the newest entry in the franchise will underperform compared to last year’s lackluster Ghosts, Hirshberg remains confident.
“We see purchase intent well above last year and we see engagement with the brand in social media channels being markedly up, so I’m still optimistic,” Hirshberg said in an interview with GamesIndustry International. He says that analysts primarily base their predictions off pre-orders still, often from a single retailer, and that this doesn’t account for recent shifts in the consumer base toward digital purchases.
“Pre-orders are a good barometer for day one, but I don’t think they reflect the overall demand for the product,” he said, and that they “don’t represent what they used to.”
Contributing to this, too, is that this is, perhaps even more than last year, a transitional year for consoles. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are starting to collect big enough libraries to make them compelling purchases. Like last year, Activision is offering those who purchase Advanced Warfare for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 the opportunity to upgrade for free, giving fans of the series as few reasons as possible to delay a purchase.
Whether Hirshberg’s optimism for the series is warranted or is just the kind of corporate puffery we’re used to from big publishers will become apparent in the next few weeks as the game’s release period and the inevitable Black Friday sales continue to pour money into Activision’s coffers.