For a while rumors have been circulating that Call of Duty sales are slowly declining. Well, an analyst points to the 4.6% annual sales drop of Modern Warfare 3 compared to Black Ops, being down due to Wii, handheld and PC gamers just not doing their part to keep the CoD franchise growing, especially with the poor software performance in North America this March.
GamaSutra reports that Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz has mentioned that Black Ops still has a larger life-to-date sales compared to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. GamaSutra points out that...
However, large declines in sales of the versions of the game for Nintendo Wii, handheld platforms and PC have driven the overall decline, he suggests.
Some websites such as the DLB-Network were claiming victory months ago before the 4.6% decline became news.
Nevertheless, Creutz also points to the mammoth 13 million unit selling monster that was Battlefield 3 eating into Activision's flagship first-person shooter's market share, something that EA had predicted last year. What's interesting, though, is that Creutz mentions that sales across the PS3 and Xbox 360 for Modern Warfare 3 are still up but the other platforms are down.
As for the Wii, handheld and PC market being a problem for shifting units...well, no duh. Wii software sales have been declining all the way around save for first-party titles, handheld gamers were always an afterthought for Call of Duty and the PC market isn't dumb. It's about as simple as that. A poor console port with no mod tools is an instant turn-off to any core PC gamer so why on Earth would they drive sales for a $60 console port?
Also, unlike a lot of console gamers, many core PC gamers have to make sure that the game can run on their PC, supports their playing preference and is actually worth the value of its entry price. Of course, most analysts never take that into consideration because you'd actually have to be in the PC community to understand how the demographic works, it's not really affected by a focus group marketing collective like the home console market.
Shareholders at Activision originally worried about news like this because they felt the company relied too much on Call of Duty and World of Warcraft to drive stock prices, as opposed to diversifying into a myriad of heavy-hitting franchises and content, sort of like Capcom, Ubisoft, Namco and even Electronic Arts.
Funnily enough, according to GamaSutra Cowen and Company trimmed down its year-over-year sales estimates for the next Call of Duty (i.e., Black Ops 2), which will be directly competing with EA's Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, 2K Games' BioShock: Infinite and Microsoft's mammoth Halo 4, which was recently revealed to launch on November 6th. Analysts aren't quite confident enough that Call of Duty will be able to beat its past record breaking sales marathon.
Co-Optimus also makes the very obvious, although well said observation that maybe sales are down because gamers are beginning to realize that Call of Duty is an annual reskin job with additional modes and tweaks.