Everyone and their mother has been hopping on the gravy train that is Call of Duty every fall for the past five years, but sadly, nothing lasts forever. While the online-focused experience has been fulfilling plenty of gaming needs during its long, successful run, many respected analysts believe 2011 may have been the peak.
Wedbush’s own Michael Pachter stated that annual sales around 25 million “are unprecedented,” and while the boom of online multiplayer played a big role in the franchise’s success, it’s unlikely that that number will grow each and every year.
“Battlefield multiplayer probably cannibalized it a little bit, and this year, Halo and Medal of Honor could cannibalize CoD a bit more,” said Pachter. “Next year, another Battlefield plus the Respawn and Bungie games probably cannibalize it a bit more.”
Does that mean we’ll see a sharp decline when Black Ops II drops this November? Pachter doesn’t believe so, and actually predicts a much steadier fall.
“There’s nothing wrong with 22 million units sold, or with 19 million or 16 million. CoD will remain the best selling game (at least until GTA) and Activision shouldn’t be concerned if it loses some players at the margin. They created a phenomenon, and others are emulating them.”
There are plenty of factors to take into account over the next few years, though. Since the transition to a new console cycle is usually a “disruptive period for game sales,” Colin Sebastian of RW Baird thinks that 2013 may cause a bigger drop in sales if new hardware actually does release.
Rising digital sales, as well as the release of Call of Duty in China, will also have significant effects on how the franchise does as a whole, but nothing will be guaranteed until numbers from both 2012 and 2013 are seen.
Do you think that Call of Duty has peaked? Do you still pick the latest entry in the franchise up each year? Let us know what you think in the comments below!