First Year Sales for Black Ops II Could be Down as Much as 15% for Franchise

It looks like interest in Activision’s military shooter series is slowly starting to wane, as sales for this year’s release don’t quite live up to the lofty numbers of years prior.

According to Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, initial sales for the franchise could be down a whopping 15% when compared to last year. Bhatia explained:

Our checks show initial sales of CoD: Black Ops 2 at some retailers were down as much as 20%. Subsequently, it appears sales of CoD did pick up a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday. We think the current sales curve suggests unit sales in its first year could ultimately be down 10 to 15% year-over-year.

If we are right, this would be the second year in a row this critical franchise will have seen units decline. We estimate CoD generates 40 to 45% of the company’s EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) on an annual basis and it goes without saying that weakness in this franchise is a cause for concern.

Perhaps franchise fatigue is finally settling in, as many gamers are beginning to grow tired of the same formula. There’s also a good chance Microsoft’s decision to launch Halo 4 one week ahead of Call of Duty: Black Ops II had a slight impact, but regardless, the franchise is clearly losing traction.

What does Activision need to do to keep the Call of Duty brand from going stale? Share your thoughts in the comments below.