Is Call of Duty running out of steam?

2 min read


The sky is blue (It isn’t really), water is wet (it most certainly is) and death is inevitable (save for cockroaches). Along with each year’s Call of Duty outselling the previous year’s, these are life’s certainties – but it looks like things are changing.

Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 certainly had a greater impact on retail than Treyarch’s Black Ops when it launched, but it seems that sales have begun to taper off significantly – to the extent where Black Ops is now regularly selling more than the newest entry in the stalwart series.

Modern Warfare 3 may have slashed previous sales records, becoming the biggest entertainment launch in history, but according to analysts, Black Ops’ life-to-date sales are greater – and set to stay that way.

Though exact sales aren’t available,  analysts at Macquarie Equities say Modern Warfare 3 sales are falling behind those of the previous Call of Duty by a 4.2 percent, and that Modern Warfare 3’s March sales of less than half of Black Ops sales in March last year. Analysts at PiperJaffray believe it’s because fewer people – the more casual crowd in particular – are buying games, instead using their consoles more for broader entertainment – like streaming TV and film, much to Microsoft’s delight.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is all relative, and the slight decrease in Modern Warfare’s sales still means it’s outsold your favourite games by millions. The real question though is whether the decrease is a result of declines in the industry as a whole, or if 2012 will be the year that gamers in general  succumb to Call of Duty fatigue?

Either way, it’s probably time that Activision really starts looking at how to inject a bit of freshness in to the brand (Elite’s not it), which any objective observer would tell you is starting to get a little stale. There’s a new Call of Duty coming this year (Call of Duty 9, for those of you who’re counting) – and everything points to it being Black Ops 2.

Last Updated: April 16, 2012

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.

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