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 Call of Duty  sales may be declining
Call of Duty sales may be declining
November 29, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

The latest Call of Duty may have had a $500 million day one, but according to at least one analyst, its sales may represent a continuing decline for the series.

Arvind Bhatia of Sterne Agee estimates that Call of Duty: Black Ops II's sales may end up 10 to 15 percent lower than last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, saying that the group's checks at retailers during its opening weeks saw sales down as much as 20 percent.

If Bhatia's correct, that would make this game the second in a row to show decline: Modern Warfare 3 sold an estimated 5 percent fewer copies than 2010's Black Ops.

Bhatia notes that slightly lower critical ratings, launching only a week after Halo 4, and launching too soon to Thanksgiving (consumers may have waited for a holiday discount), may have contributed to initially sluggish sales.

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John Ingato
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I didn't buy it because If I go out and buy all the games I wan before x-mas people get mad at But under normal circumstances I would have had it first day.

I think a lot of people might not have gotten it so they can get it for x-mas. They need to take that into consideration.

Andrew Graham
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Black Ops 2 did have the lowest sales of a COD game in the UK since 2009, selling less debut week than MW2. Activision used day 1 worldwide numbers instead of US and UK numbers probably since it was less compared to a year ago.

Activision would usually release a first 5 day worldwide gross for COD since MW2. 550 million for MW2, 650 million for Black Ops, and 775 million for MW3. They probably won't release that data. Also another thing they may or may not release is the how many days until Black Ops II generates 1 billion in revenue.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

John McMahon
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I had the impression that CoD sales go down a bit between Modern Warfare releases. Though, CoD: WaW sold more than the previous year I think.

I've never bought a CoD game and doubt I will. I'm tired of new releases each year. I got more important things to do than keep up with a franchise that is designed never to stop until no body buys it anymore.

Chris Long
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So you've never bought a CoD game, yet you're tired of their new releases each year? Wow, that makes a lot of sense. CoD sells millions every year for a reason: it's damn good. Do yourself a favor and actually buy a copy, then you can form a real opinion.

Joe Zachery
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Compared to the first Black Ops both MW3, and now Black Ops 2 numbers are down. As a person who have bought all 3 I say it's the games. In my opinion Black Ops is still the overall better game. When it comes to the online gaming experience. They keep adding new modes, and features to the game. Instead of working on the gameplay of the series. Black Ops feels like a fast fun shoot'em up! While the other games just feel slow, confusing, and in most cases not fun to play. So I would hope people are not buying it due to it not being as good.

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I rented the First BLOPS and MW3 for PS3 and I played trough the campaign modes on vet, and I found them very easy, I never touched the MP areas because A) I rented them and B) I wasn't going to invest into them (I don't consider myself a good online FPS player). I bought BLOPS 2 for he U and I find the campaign to be slightly harder with some of the changes they made to how it plays out and how certain missions play. Even with the changes I find the missions so far to be very engaging, more so than MW3 was. I played the MP of that game and I'm very impressed with the level design, it much more fluid than that of MW2. If people where giving up on the franchise, and I don't think that the case, but if they where, I think its not the best time to do so. This game is much better imo than any of the others before it.

Johnathon Swift
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Yay, vindication for my hypothesis that originality matters more in video games than it does in movies or TV shows!

Ronildson Palermo
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They priced Black Ops II, probably because of its name and fame, 25 bucks higher than every other new game launching during the same period in my country. (Brazil)

I pre-ordered both Hitman and Far Cry 3 at 85 BRL, yet Black Ops II was at 110.

So I didn't buy as a protest.

Vince Taroc
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I've been playing CoD games since the first one. The true problem with this one is the same as MW3. It's riddled with problems. The lag/compensation lag has been horrendous. All the competitiveness is out the door and it just comes down to if you have the right connection, then you get good games. But most people don't.

The CoD community is very vocal. Especially in the forums. And most of the posts are about people complaining about the game. I think the CoD gamers are tired of it and were waiting to see if it got fixed this time around in BO2 before they bought it. But it obviously did not.

Joshua Sterns
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Tired of it sums up my perspective on a lot of games this year.

GameViewPoint Developer
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The best COD games are MW2 and Black Ops. MW3 and Black Ops 2, especially Black ops 2 have terrible lag issues. Every game you hear people complaining that they have "shot through someone". I know lag/latency is a big big technical issue, but as has been said I think people have gotten past the novelty of playing against other people in a war game, and now expect something of a much higher standard. It's time for the COD series to evolve, and first and foremost reduce the lag during multiplayer play.

As well as the lag issues, MW3 is pretty much MW2,and Black OPS 2 is pretty much Black OPS 1. The whole series is obviously a cash cow and when that happens the overriding sentiment is "Don't F@CK with the formula" and I can't blame them for that.

But players are crying out now for something more. Keep all the basic run and gun 60fps gameplay, but give players some extra sophistication. Give them scenery that can be destroyed, make it more realistic. I'm always amazed at the tiniest details players will argue over. Make it cooler, make it deeper.

Don't squeeze another COD out of the 360/PS3, wait for the next generation of consoles, and really wow us with something.

I for one wouldn't mind a trip back to WW2 :)...or dare I say it....Star Wars COD...

Clifford Roche
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I find it difficult to take anything definitive away from this data, especially considering the whole market has shown a trend of decline, and the results are based on comparing the current title's sales to the last and nothing more.

Joshua Sterns
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I'd be more interested in a comparison between other major releases this year and the data provided.

For all the valid and invalid complaints, Call of Duty is still money in the bank. Activision has tapped that popular market. The player who isn't really interested in many other games buys the next CoD. Every year. More seasoned gamers still check out the game...even if they sell or return it days later. That's still money.

Once the FPS genre stops copying CoD each year, then you may....just maybe...get lucky enough to find the next best thing. A unique FPS experience. Otherwise you are stuck with a series that is more akin to a sports franchise like EA's Madden.

Ricardo Barnhill
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Its possible that the annual releases are a cause for this; you can serve consumers but you can't spoil them. With year-to-year releases, expectations of "change" and "innovation" rises to high. It also doesn't help that there seem to be "critics" everywhere you go.

The Le
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The problem is that there is too many of these modern FPS games coming out, every single year. These companies are trying to use the Madden Model, and it won't work forever.

Ian Morrison
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I've actually refused to buy the game strictly on the basis of the fact that Activision thought it was a good idea to have a war criminal pitch their game. Anybody remember that trailer with Oliver North in it? Throw in the fact that the "modern shooter" genre has become increasing disturbing and screwed up as time goes on, and it was pretty easy for me to give it a miss, interesting story premise be damned.

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I though MoH had Oliver North in game and CoD had Petraeus on the USS Obama in game?

Ian Morrison
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Oliver North appeared in a pseudo-documentary that was part of the Black Ops 2 marketing campaign to tell us how SCARY the future of warfare was going to be.

Levett Washington
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I agree with Biron the trend is ending, its about finding that next big thing. I'm sure they will probably get some more sales through to new years, but you can only remake Call of Duty in so many ways before it get boring and repetitive. At the price that it is and dlc it is not to surprising people are not buying as much.

Ryan Paulson
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Speaking from a purely consumer standpoint, I feel Halo 4 has more to do with this than may meet the eye. A lot of folks I know that used to be die hard COD fans for the past few releases have gone back to playing Halo due to improvements in multiplayer and the gaming experience that Halo offers. Not only that but some of them mention how COD has gotten stale and they tired of buying "map packs." I feel like if Activision took more time between releases and really upgraded some of the core components consumers would be more apt to keep purchasing but it will run out of steam eventually. Activision has had similar products like the Tony Hawk series that was selling like crazy for its time and revolutionized the skateboard industry and actually assisted in helping the skateboarding community shake the longstanding negative associations with it. However that fizzled out after the market became saturated with Tony Hawk games. You can only grind a telephone wire so many times before it gets tedious.