Analyst Suggests Black Ops II Marks Decline In Sales Of Call Of Duty Titles, Down As Much As 15%

[drop2]Whilst Call Of Duty: Black Ops II boasts a decent enough single player and opening sales of $500 million, one analyst has suggested that the series is in decline in terms of long-term numbers, tracking down “double digits year-over-year”.

Those are the words of Arvind Bhatia, analyst for Sterne Agee, picked up by GI.


“Our checks show initial sales of CoD: Black Ops II at some retailers were down as much as 20 percent,” he says.

“Subsequently, it appears sales of CoD did pick up a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday. We think the current sales curve suggests CoD: Black Ops II unit sales in its first year could ultimately be down 10 percent to 15 percent year-over-year.”

Bhatia goes on to say that, if he’s right, this would be the second year in a row the series has seen units decline, with Modern Warfare 3 down (an estimated) 5% over the first Black Ops.

“We estimate CoD generates 40 percent to 45 percent of the company’s EBIT on an annual basis and it goes without saying that weakness in this franchise is a cause for concern,” he added.

The analyst points to three possible reasons for this downturn. The first suggests the lower review scores might be to blame, impacting “initial sell-through”; the second is that the game released just after Halo 4; and the third is the Thanksgiving effect, where US buyers would have likely waited out for a Black Friday deal.

Activision are likely to face competition next year in the form of another Battlefield game.



  1. Have to laugh. Of course, the moment COD actually improves markedly (going by reviews, I haven’t gotten myself- yet), sales would start to slow…

    This has been coming though, nothing can grow indefinitely.

    Oh, are you missing a word in your subtitle, or has COD’s RRP really risen that much? :P

    • I missed the word ‘million’.


  2. Just started playing MW3 (single player campaign) and it’s great so far. Hoping that BLOPS II has a far better campaign than BLOPS I. I’m just wondering if the futuristic time-line/setting has hurt the franchise somewhat.

  3. I would see this as healthy, and a sign that the the gaming public are getting fed up with a stagnating genre. A lower Gross Profit would be a kick up the arse to both Treyarch and (perhaps more pertinent to 2013) Infinity Ward…

    • Pretty much exactly what I was going to say. It’s a shame that this is noted on a Treyarch title though, as they at least try something new [even if it doesn’t always work].

  4. Was initially curious seeing how EA followed up on the excellent BF3 last year with this year’s MOH to compete with BLOPS. Turns out EA practically gave BLOPS more sales. BF next year though should have a bigger market share.

  5. I guess franchise fatigue is finally kicking in. Hopefully this leads to something more innovative in the near future.

  6. The connection in each game gets worse, the maps get worse and other issues that are never fixed.
    People are getting sick of this. No wonder COD is always half price on launch day and for the first time since MW2, there were actually copies of the games left at local Tesco on launch day.

  7. Good.

Comments are now closed for this post.