Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Won’t Break Sales Records, Suggests Analysts

May 6, 2012Written by Zak Islam

Despite the game already setting pre-release records, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 won’t be able to surpass sales record upon its retail launch, according to several analysts.

Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter explained to GamesIndustry International:

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.

RW Baird’s Colin Sebastian, meanwhile, also echoes his fellow analyst’s thoughts. He believes Treyarch’s sequel will sell the same amount of units as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in 2011, which was 22 million.

We are forecasting Black Ops 2 to sell roughly the same number of copies as Modern Warfare 2 in 2011. Call of Duty is the only mass market core video game and the console industry continues to consolidate around a small number of top franchises. Halo 4 is a potential wrinkle in the ointment with a November launch, but on the flip side, GTA V likely not shipping until March helps.

Additionally, Sebastian believes that if AAA titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 want to reap the benefits of consoles, the next-generation of consoles has to be introduced:

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.

EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich, however, states that the Call of Duty brand should not be underestimated, along with publisher Activision’s marketing pull:

The entire HD market is very soft at the moment, and it is understandable that retailers, publishers, and analysts are likely to be conservative on any Black Ops II forecast. Whether Black Ops II sets any records this year will depend entirely upon the overall engagement of HD consumers, which is largely out of the control of Activision and Treyarch.

Every year we question whether the Call of Duty franchises can set new records, and for the last four years they have proven us wrong. Personally, I wouldn’t under-estimate Activision, even against the odds of a more torpid HD market this holiday season.

M2 Research’s Billy Pidgeon also believes the game can set sales record upon its fall launch:

Call of Duty should continue to do very well and is likely to continue to break records as it will sell into a larger installed base of consoles. I think other big hits will also continue to perform strongly until we get into the console transition and enthusiast spending begins to shift towards hardware again.

The recently announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 releases worldwide on November 13th 2012.