There are a mere seven days between now and the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, but according to a retail analyst, sales of the soon-to-be-released shooter will fail to emulate that of its immediate predecessor.
If so, this would mark the second consecutive year that a Call of Duty entry has sold less than its forerunner. And while this doesn’t necessarily mean that Activision’s latest release will be dead on arrival, it does indicate that the best years for the franchise could be already over.
During a keynote to investors, Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz spoke candidly about Activision’s sales juggernaut.
“We continue to believe CoD will be down meaningfully versus last year,” Creutz wrote in a note to investors. “With the franchise facing two consecutive [and] significant year-over-year declines in sales, we think it is prudent to assume it has peaked.”
Further in the report, Creutz pointed to the preorder numbers for Advanced Warfare, which is currently tracking at 40 percent less than last year’s middling Call of Duty: Ghosts. Activision has since pegged the reasoning for 2013’s CoD on the recent console transition, but Creutz believes the trend will indeed continue.
“We tend to agree that this year’s title will likely be better than last year’s, if for no other reason than that the bar is low,” wrote Creutz. “However, we worry that the damage has already been done. We have seen with other franchises that, once you disappoint your audience with a poor-quality product, they often do not return, even if quality subsequently recovers.”
This just lumps yet more pressure on Advanced Warfare’s broad, metallic shoulders. Activision has long made it clear that Sledgehammer Games’ maiden entry into the franchise is one that will completely overhaul the series’ genre-defining multiplayer mode, but that remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, how the game is received by the community will make or break the title’s staying power. We’ll just have to wait until November 4th, 2014 to find out whether Creutz is right in his predictions about Call of Duty.