That moment where the Call of Duty franchise finally peaks and fizzles out is; well it’s not quite upon us yet, but there are signs of it slowing down.
A few days ago, Activision: Blizzard announced that sales of Call of Duty: Ghosts exceeded $1 billion on its first day. The announcement was an obvious attempt to convince us they made good on their promise of retaking world records, which Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V obtained a few days into it’s release back in September. GTA V’s staggering $800 million figure for day one sales knocked Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 right out of the Guinness Book World Records.
During Activision’s calling call on Nov. 6, Activision’s CFO Dennis Durkin admitted the $1 billion figure was an inaccurate representation of their actual retail sell-through.
“As expected, due to the console transition and digital distribution, this number is down versus last year,” Durkin said. “This year, the sell-through curve will be different than in past years due to the multiple launches of new hardware later in the month and more days between our launch and the high-volume Black Friday at the end of the month.”
Interestingly enough, aside from the $1 billion in titles that were shipped to retailers, the actual retail-sell through numbers for Ghosts haven’t been released.
However, there is still time for actual sales numbers to rise. Keep in mind that Ghosts is also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, bringing the total number of platforms the game will be available for to six. The real question will become how will the game do on next-generation consoles? Furthermore, how successful will they be moving forward once the 360 and PlayStation 3 are left in the dust?
The fact that the Call of Duty games have done so well despite being shoved down our throats every year, is pretty amazing. It’s understandable why GTA: V exploded and obliterated records. It was something people had been waiting for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint. The Call of Duty series is often criticized for its repetitiveness and lack of innovation, yet people flock to the stores during it’s launch with open arms, eagerly anticipating the expected series of explosions and – I must admit – fun and chaotic multiplayer. However, is this something that’s worth spending $60 on every year? I still play Modern Warfare 2 sometimes, and I’ve found no incentive to go out and buy the other titles in the series, which I have played but simply found underwhelming.
Has Call of Duty reached its end? No, not even close. Who knows, maybe the series is going to pick up once it launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and any assumptions being made about the series peaking can be thrown out the window. It is strange however that actual sales numbers for Ghosts haven’t been released. Were they that below Activision’s expectations?
I don’t think these yearly releases can go on for much longer though, and if the series is to move forward and continue to succeed, it should take some time off and build on some fresh ideas. If it doesn’t, might as well just call the next one Call of Duty: Again, which could have easily been the name for the past few entries in the series.