Call of Duty fading?

Call of Duty fading?

Written by Benke on the 18th of April 2012 at 12:06

There was a bit of commotion a few days ago as analysts pointed to slowing sales of Modern Warfare 3 compared to its predecessor Black Ops. While 4.2 per cent down doesn't seem like much, it was the fact that Modern Warfare 3 only sold half of what Black Ops did in its respective March that had people reacting.

The general consensus seems to be that casuals are abandoning the franchise for other means of entertainment and as a result the "legs" of the game suffer.

I think it's safe to say that many analysts have anticipated this moment for a while now, and perhaps they are a bit too early with judgements.

Modern Warfare 3 sold quicker than Black Ops, and broke its launch records. That seems to suggest that the franchise is still growing its core user base, and it's not impossible that Black Ops 2 will go on to break these records as well. Secondly the analysis seems to completely forget about the fact that Modern Warfare 3 was up against Battlefield 3 and even if it beat BF3 handily, BF3 still must have taken some of the potential customers.

Another angle to this is the dollar angle. With Call of Duty: Elite (1.5 million paying subscribers), and lots of DLC, it is still entirely plausible that even with a 4.2 per cent decline in retail sales, the franchise as a whole may be increasing in value.

All of that said, it may very well be that what we are experiencing now is the peak of Call of Duty, and that it will quickly or slowly decline from here. My money is on a slow decline, this situation cannot be compared to Guitar Hero even if fatigue may be a word that comes into play. And given the economy of Call of Duty it is reasonable to assume that it isn't as vulnerable as the cost heavy licensed structure of the Guitar Hero business.