Several analysts have voiced their concerns at Activision’s Call of Duty franchise peaking at retail.
Speaking to GI.biz, Macquarie Securities’ Ben Schachter stated that he has “significant concerns that CoD may have peaked in 2011″. He believes the well-documented industry sales declines, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3‘s sales not reaching the heights of Call of Duty: Black Ops, as well as other reasons all contribute to his belief that the IP has peaked at retail.
Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter agreed with Schachter; he believes achieving 25 million sales annually (with Call of Duty: Black Ops achieving just that) would be “unprecedented”:
[CoD] was (and probably still is) the best multiplayer experience available, [but] Battlefield multiplayer probably cannibalized it a little bit, and this year, Halo and Medal of Honor could cannibalize CoD a bit more. Next year, another Battlefield plus the Respawn and Bungie games probably cannibalize it a bit more.
There’s nothing wrong with 22 million units sold, or with 19 million or 16 million. CoD will remain the best selling game (at least until GTA) and Activision shouldn’t be concerned if it loses some players at the margin. They created a phenomenon, and others are emulating them.
RW Baird’s Colin Sebastian added:
Also, if new consoles are coming next year, that is typically a disruptive period for game sales, and that could drive sales lower as well, at least temporarily. The bigger question I think is whether the franchise (or any franchise) is in a continuous period of decline. Personally, I don’t know which competing console title would take so much share from Call of Duty.
We’ll see if Call of Duty starts to show a lack of commercial success the series has achieved with Black Ops 2, which launches worldwide on November 13th, 2012.