After Battlefield 1’s WWI premise so effectively captivated the gaming community, Activision was surely prepared for a divisive reception to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s teaser trailer. But even then, they must have gotten quite a shock when it became the most disliked video on the internet. In the weeks following both trailer reveals, the FPS community had never felt so segregated and, even if enthusiasm for CoD has waned slightly ever since Ghosts, had never felt quite so opposed to what has been the most successful and popular FPS franchise for a decade.
Still, we all know what the gaming community, and the internet in general, is like when it comes to bandwagoning. That isn’t to say I, too, haven’t found the CoD franchise to be overly formulaic for some time, because I certainly have, but you could be forgiven for taking the dislikes with a grain of salt. There was always an overarching sense that Infinite Warfare was going to sell in droves, regardless of internet chatter.
But the latest UK sales for the game highlight a 48% drop in sales from Black Ops III, a seemingly marked drop in sales that has understandably drawn attention. Certainly, those figures don’t make for great reading if you’re over at Activision, but in all honesty, these reports don’t actually tell the whole story.
In fact, I’d argue that there’s something far more interesting to read between the lines of these reports than the data they present; a sentiment that goes much further into explaining the relevance of why these figures are gaining traction and what it means for the CoD franchise in the future.
But before we get to that, keep in mind that there’s a host of reasons why reaction to these reports should be tempered, and it’s worth noting some important contextual information:
- These are UK sales figure, not representative of US performance, a far bigger market that may not yield similar results.
- There was always going to be a drop off from Black Ops III, the franchise’s’ most popular spinoff.
- This is the first CoD title not released on previous generation consoles.
- Even with a 48 percent drop in sales in the UK, Infinite Warfare is still projected to outsell Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 combined.
Still, the drop off isn’t to be taken entirely without cause for concern and it absolutely highlights that Call of Duty is likely to continue its downtrend in sales, however marginally that actually affects its measurement of success. And this is causing quite a stir among gamers, with many seemingly taking pleasure in the game’s apparent demise. Apparently, we don’t seem to be able to get away from having our opinions and prejudices shaped by arbitrary allegiances to different brands.
Frustratingly, these sorts of un-contextualized sales reports only serve to fuel arguments and skew popular opinion. The likelihood is that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is going to do absolutely fine. I’d wager that, beyond fans of opposing titles within the FPS genre, there’s a good reason why cynicism and the encouraging of hatred toward the franchise are being encouraged beyond silly fanboyism: fatigue.