Is Call of Duty’s sales decline set to continue?

3 min read


Last year’s Call of Duty, Ghosts, was the stalest game in the franchise since the rushed-to-market Call of Duty 3. The game scored lower than all previous games, with the general consensus that it wasn’t close to the previous ones in terms of quality, originality or fun. Call of Duty Advanced Warfare seems to be righting many of those wrongs. Which is a pity, because Ghosts’ middling scores may count against it.

Many perpetual Call of Duty fans feel slighted – and even betrayed – by the last one – so much so that they won’t be buying this year’s version of the annualised shooter at launch. In fact, some analysts  – like Research firm Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia  – think Advanced Warfare is going to struggle to hit the same market success as Call of Duty: Ghosts.

He predicts the series will see a sobering 15% decline – resulting in three million fewer copies of the game in homes come November. The reasons for this extend beyond Ghosts’ less-than-awesome review scores. According to Bhatia sales of software on the older consoles; the PS3 and Xbox 360 are down 50% and 46% respectively.

Those people who would be buying Advanced Warfare and have yet to upgrade to new consoles will wait it out, delaying their Call of Duty purchase. In the end though, it still means an expected 17 million copies of Call of Duty sold in the last quarter of this year,  which should be enough to keep even Bobby Kotick happy.

That said, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s sales may actually benefit from the fact that there’s little competition in the modern combat arena this year. Battlefield Hardline has been delayed to next year, leaving Far Cry 4 as the only other major shooter to be released in the same period.

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Tell us. Has Ghosts’ tepid acclaim left you reconsidering another Call of Duty purchase, or do the changes made for this new one actually reinvigorate your interest?

I’m actually quite intrigued. I loved Sledgehammer founder Michal Condrey and Glen Schofield’s work on Dead Space, and I think they could really bring something fresh to the game’s single player. That, and the inclusion of a digital Kevin Spacey make me far more receptive to it than say, Modern Warfare 4 or another Black Ops.

Last Updated: September 30, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief 0

    Bwhahahahahaha dat header!

    *goes to read actual article

  • Alex Hicks

    More receptive to this than MW4 or BO3; but still not gonna buy it. my desire for CoD is UNDER MINUS NINE THOUSAND!

  • Admiral Chief 0

    Call of Duty: Titan Ops

  • oVg Definitive and Remastered

    “Ghosts, was the stalest game in the franchise since the rushed-to-market Call of Duty 3”

    Explaines why it was the footer of the Bone reveal.

    • Hammersteyn

      Never gets old, unless you bought the XBOX One

      • oVg Definitive and Remastered

        That reveal that everybody stayed up so late to watch on live stream was the biggest let down and anti climax in gaming history. I remember how jaded this site was the next day.
        WHAT A FAIL.

    • Admiral Chief 0

      Sounds like a rap song

    • Galbedir

      After awhile I just hear Call of Doody….*Chuckle*

    • MakeItLegal

      this is so funny omg

  • Hammersteyn

    COD : Already Whining

  • oVg Definitive and Remastered

    It still has a better frame rate than Destiny.

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    I’ve never been much of a CoD fan, so this doesn’t affect me. I haven’t played the games since MW2 (I think it was). So.. uhhhh… hmmmm… *shrug*.

  • Hammersteyn

    COD has never gone far enough back in time in my opinion. Hows about COD : American Revolution?

    • Mossel

      Personally I’d like a proper American Civil War game!

      • Matthew Holliday

        2 minute reload times between shots could be problematic.
        that war places too little emphasis on individuals to make for an entertaining and realistic shooter, assassins creed is really the only kind of game that would work in that setting.

        • Hammersteyn

          Knifing would pick up nicely

          • Matthew Holliday

            call of duty: knights of valour.
            battle axes, horses and lances, sword and shield.

            Ive been dying for a AAA version of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

        • Sageville

          I reckon 1 small squad of todays reccies could have won the whole american civil war given enough time and ammo.

          That whole “stand in a line and trade shots like honorable soldiers” was sooo looking to be shown up with some simple guerilla tactics.

          • Mossel

            Turn-based combat before it was cool.

          • Matthew Holliday

            easilly, guns in those days couldnt hit a target at 10m.
            and even then, they only hit people people they were standing in a line, so they HAD to hit something.

            modern day soldiers with a standard loadout (not including snipers, grenade launchers or LMGs etc) can hit targets at 100m and are trained professionals.

            i dont imagine that a war against farmers and the like would be much of a challenge.

      • JJ the Reus

        Anglo-Boer war ;P

    • HvR
      • Hammersteyn


  • Galbedir

    Seeing as Titanfall isnt for sale here in SA, and from what I’ve seen from Trailers…This MIGHT be the first CoD I buy. It actually looks pretty neat. I’d rather drag my nuts through a field of glass then Pre order a COD ever though.

    • Admiral Chief 0

      “drag….nuts….field of glass….”
      eina moer!

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    I’ll just leave this here for Darryn and Umar…

    • oVg Definitive and Remastered

      release those pocket monsters.

      • Matthew Holliday

        pocket your monster.

    • Matthew Holliday


      • oVg Definitive and Remastered

        bless you

    • Ottokie

      So now you don’t wanna “catch em all!”

  • Matthew Holliday

    i tried getting into ghosts again recently, then i randomly got a patch that other people got 6 months ago, that made it so that I cant find any matches. at all.
    according to everyone else on the internet who tried contacting support, the only way to fix it is to enable family sharing, disabling all the DLC and creating a new steam account to use.

    Ghosts was barely playable on launch day, even with a 1.5gb day 1 patch.
    and a mystery patch released by IW to “streamline matchmaking” which actually breaks the matchmaking. with no patch released whatsoever to fix the fault.

    Call of Duties DLC broke their matchmaking system.
    If you buy a DLC gun, you are put into a different matchmaking queue, if you buy another gun, you are put into another queue. effectively, everyone with a single file of DLC has been put into separate matchmaking queues. how does that make sense?

    CoD was breaking records without changing all that much with their games, then suddenly MW3 comes out, hackers ruin public play, Ghosts comes out with a new engine, fancy fish AI a butt tonne of DLC and ends up totally broken.

    I am done with CoD.
    probably also done with battlefield.

    • oVg Definitive and Remastered

      welcome to new age gaming 😛

      • Matthew Holliday

        i think ghosts is in a league of its own, the amount of BS surrounding that game is absurd.
        i consider releasing a patch that breaks matchmaking to the point where you cant find a game, worse than battlefields “broken” gameplay.

        although im not sure i can decide if i hate it more than paying R600 for BF4 premium
        when important DLC and guns ends up being more expensive than the entire vanilla game, theres a problem.

    • Johan du Preez

      BTW its the same engine they are still using the ID Tech engine. If you are wondering its the Quake 3 engine of 1998.

      Source link below:

      Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is built upon the engine used in older Call of Duty games.

      • Matthew Holliday

        soz, i remember the hype train mentioning something about a new engine.
        might ahve been the lighting or something else.
        either way, the game feels different, shooting mechanics etc.

        probably heard the hype train and attributed all that to the misunderstood engine change.

    • RedRover

      Thanks for saving me the time of typing an essay. Yours sums up my sentiment perfectly. I am done with COD.

  • Michelle

    I pre-ordered my copy last week.

  • Sageville

    I started losing COD love after MW3 and moved completely to Battlefield.

    However now that COD has introduced more verticality and is more futuristic, I’m going to give this one a good solid try.

    Maybe it re-awakens that long lost COD lurve.

  • Admiral Chief 0

    I can’t stop laughing at that bear!

    Y U DO DIS?

  • Admiral Chief 0
  • MakeItLegal

    well…that sucks for them

  • Yeah. Well all those people who loved the game are a bit older now, perhaps a little more mature. That, or they’ve hit 18 and can now be tried as adults thus the pool of players is dwindling.

    • oVg Definitive and Remastered

      COD still blew my mind in 2007. I will always remember sniping in chernobyl.

      I will always remember THE KICK ASS MUSIC by Hans Zimmer in MW2…

      Then it all went to shit after that, Even the Audio in MW3 sounded like a compressed tin can.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    One can only hope! Sigh! Every year, I dream of a year without Call of Ballsack stinking up the yearly game sale rankings! Maybe 2014 will be that year? Sigh…!

  • Harry Beneke

    I will as long as I live never ever buy another Call Of Duty game. It gets worse every year!!!!!!!!

  • Majik

    I really enjoyed all the COD games up until MW2, after that they really started to suck! Will not be getting any of the future COD games.

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