Home Gaming Black Ops 4 sales were “below outlook.” – Next Call of Duty to have a single-player campaign

Black Ops 4 sales were “below outlook.” – Next Call of Duty to have a single-player campaign

2 min read

The major focus from Activision’s earning’s call yesterday is, rightfully, bound to be on the on the massive layoffs across the company. Eight hundred people are now without jobs, despite the company seeing record growth, with revenues up 6 per cent year-on-year and new executives having sizeable signing bonuses.

According to Activision COO Coddy Johnson, last year’s Call of Duty, Black Ops 4, did exceptionally well in its launch period, but failed to maintain that momentum in the second half of the quarter.

“Black Ops 4 sold through more units than Black Ops 3 in its launch quarter with PC units more than tripling and engagement was strong with average hours per player increasing versus Black Ops 3 as players enjoyed Blackout, Multiplayer and Zombies. We also saw a significant shift to digital this the year, with full game downloads representing over 40% of console sell-through versus approximately 30% for World War II.

However, sales of Black Ops 4 in the second half of the quarter were below our outlook, due to weaker-than-expected retail demand, lower-than-anticipated pricing and other promotional activities that didn’t meet expectations. Although Black Ops 4 in-game net bookings started off slower than expected following the introduction of the new in-game system, we were encouraged by the response we saw when we introduced more compelling content with the second season events in late Q4.”

There are a few reasons why I would think that Black Ops 4 performed below expectations. The first is probably that expectations were too high. By all accounts, Black Ops 4 sold incredibly well, generating half a billion dollars in revenue in just three days. Activision even said that Call of Duty “was again the number-one selling console franchise worldwide for the year, a franchise feat accomplished for nine of the last 10 years.” Somehow, that just wasn’t enough.

The other is that Treyarch hasn’t worked quickly enough to address community complaints, with many still complaining about various issues in the multiplayer – like DLC maps not being in rotation, the general gameplay becoming stale and a heck of a lot of grind for cosmetics. Then there’s Blackout. Battle Royale games need to constantly invigorate themselves to feel fresh, and that’s just not something that’s happened with Blackout. In regions like South America, the Middle East and Africa, Blackout has been hobbled, with modes going in and out of rotation. It’s not an ideal way to keep people playing.

And now the game has a tougher battle in the wake of the free-to-play Apex Legends, which has seen many Blackout players jump ship. Treyarch and Activision are going to have to work incredibly hard to draw players back in.

That all said, Activision suggests that this year’s Call of Duty will resonate well with players. It’s Infinity Ward up to bat this year, and it’s increasingly likely that the game will be a new chapter in the Modern Warfare saga. In the earning’s call, Activision hinted that the next Call of Duty will once again have a single player mode.

Even so, the next game really is going to have to be incredible when there’s a lot of great competition, some of which is free.

Last Updated: February 13, 2019


  1. Skittle

    February 13, 2019 at 09:39



  2. Jonah Cash

    February 13, 2019 at 10:28

    Black Ops 4 is the first Call of Duty I have ever owned. It is brilliant as an online shooter. I don’t play Blackout at all though, if you don’t see the other guy first you are going to die without having any chance of winning your one on one duel. In other Battle Royale games you still have a chance of coming out on top if you are spotted and shot at. In Blackout it is a certain death to you. That just doesn’t work for me at all. But the multiplayer as I said is great, I am enjoying it a lot.


  3. Pieter Kruger

    February 13, 2019 at 10:28

    I’ll wait for Blackout to go Free To Play and give it a go then…..Multiplayer games should be a long term investment and should keep you interested, something BFV has managed superbly with their campaigns.


    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      February 21, 2019 at 11:43

      Last I checked, BF was not an Xbox exclusive. You ok??


  4. G8crasha

    February 13, 2019 at 09:09

    IMHO, games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty have lost the plot. They used to be the goto games for MP especially, but with games like Fortnite and Apex dominating, and throwing a couple of spanners in the works, BF and CoD have to step their game up. I mean Fortnite is completely free to play (and still in Early Access, although I have no idea why), but they are rolling in cash with their cosmetic purchases. Who woulda thought!?!?! I am curious to see if Apex can follow suit. It definitely has potential.


  5. Kromas

    February 13, 2019 at 09:48

    Have they tried to make the art style more like fortnight? Or maybe add giant mechs like Titanfall?


  6. Magoo

    February 13, 2019 at 10:09

    One major overlooked reason is the price of the game. Many of my friends who used to buy CoD on launch day and play comp with me haven’t been purchasing the games simply because they are too expensive. I can recall at least 3 conversations with friends saying they’d love to join me but can’t afford it. Alternatively, Activision could have made R3000 off of me and 5 mates @ R500 per copy.

    And I don’t blame them. I waited for a “special” @ R650 because the new standard of R1000 for a game is absolutely bonkers. I’m honestly baffled as to why this isn’t a bigger issue, especially in our country.


    • Jonah Cash

      February 13, 2019 at 10:19

      I also waited till it went to R530 before I bought it. R1000 for a game is a lot to me too, I very rarely buy games for that amount these days.


      • Magoo

        February 13, 2019 at 11:15

        I’ve never spent more than R800 on a game, and that was a once-off situation when I saved up for FC5 launch price. It’s not that I don’t want to pay that amount, it’s that I simply can’t afford it. If I was threatened with a gun to purchase it, I’d have to go take out a loan to survive the month.


  7. chrispatsox

    August 5, 2019 at 06:44

    I’m so glad this failed. Can all the developers and Publishers please take notice, online only multiplayers don’t sell. Spare me the above stats they are meaningless. Black ops 2 did $500 million in one day and did over a billion in sales, Black ops 4 won’t come close to those sales numbers.

    Stop with the online only multi player crap.


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