Analysis Shows Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Likely to Sell 40% Less Than Ghosts

Sarah LeBoeuf

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Analysis Shows Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Likely to Sell 40% Less Than Ghosts



With Amazon pre-orders showing a series in decline over the last two years, analysts at Cowen and Company believe that Call of Duty has peaked.

With a week to go until Analysts at Cowen and Company [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/134179-Call-of-Duty-Advanced-Warfare-Leaked-Releases-November-4-Update] have used the pre-order data to determine Advanced Warfare sales will be "down meaningfully" compared to last year's release of Call of Duty: Ghosts. That would mark the second year of down-trending sales for the mega-franchise, which means "it is prudent to assume it has peaked," according to the analysis.

Based on current pre-orders, Advanced Warfare is projected to sell 40% less than Ghosts and, more significantly, a whopping 70% less than 2012's Black Ops 2. Ghosts' sales were described as "troubling" by the same analysts top-selling next-gen game [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/130627-Call-of-Duty-Ghosts-Sales-Are-Troubling-Analyst-Says] in the wake of the new console launches.

Naturally, pre-orders aren't necessarily the only determining factor in video game sales. For context, Advanced Warfare is still expected to outsell Destiny, which currently holds the title of "most pre-ordered new IP of all time" according to GamesIndustry.biz [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-27-cowen-and-co-analysis-sees-cod-pre-orders-well-down-yoy]. However, the analysts were quick to address claims that pre-orders were no longer a determining factor in game sales and offered a rebuttal: "What we think is happening is that one, pre-orders for Call of Duty are down; two, Call of Duty is normally a significant percentage of overall pre-orders; and thus three, interested parties are concluding that pre-orders are secularly declining relative to overall sales." Cowen and Company's report concluded that "pre-orders remain by far the best leading indicator of a title's likely ultimate sales." We'll be able to better determine the accuracy of that statement after Advanced Warfare's November 4 launch.

Source: Joystiq [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-27-cowen-and-co-analysis-sees-cod-pre-orders-well-down-yoy]

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Vivi22

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The series peaked with COD4. About time pre-order numbers started to reflect that.
 

Dark Knifer

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Well it was bound to happen eventually.

Wonder what the next Triple a thing will be next.
 

ddrkreature

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Maybe people are starting to realize that CoD is a tired franchise and should take a break to find its roots again, if any exist. What will take its place is anyone's guess but the only ones coming to mind I don't think will grow into the monolith that CoD has become.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Hm...I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that Ghosts' campaign was bad. And I mean bad. Sure, CoD games aren't known for their ground-breaking writing and storytelling in the single player, but I've had a blast playing all of them up until Ghosts. I wonder how many people out there are the same as I am, and are now a bit wary of the next CoD game. I do admit that Advanced Warfare does look like a step back in the right direction (over-the-top fun), but if this game fails me as bad as Ghosts, I'm done with the series.

It would be interesting to see this series die though, and then see what takes it place.
 

Something Amyss

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Unfortunately, this is probably more a referendum on the last game than anything else. Ghosts killed a lot of interest in the series.
 

fix-the-spade

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So after the sales peak of Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare will likely mark the third consecutive year of falling sales. Given the amount of money Activision spend on Call of Duty they are not going to be happy.

It also raises a serious question for Activision, what do they when World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Skylanders all hit terminal decline?

CoD looks like it's arcing downwards and probably won't see more than three more titles if sales drop another 75% in three years, World of Warcraft is steadily declining and even with Warlords of Draenor bump will be half the game it used to be. Skylanders is still growing, but with Disney Infinity now containing Marvel and Star Wars coming soon that's days as a growth franchise are surely numbered as well.
 

fix-the-spade

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Hm...I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that Ghosts' campaign was bad. And I mean bad.
Let's not be polite about it, all of Ghosts was bad, really bad.
 

List

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I hope declining sale will force them to be innovative for once, or just retire this over-stretched franchise
 

Citizen Graves

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Dark Knifer said:
Well it was bound to happen eventually.

Wonder what the next Triple a thing will be next.
Why, get ready for 10 exciting years full of:

- a new iteration of Destiny every year.

- complete balancing overhaul of the competitive multiplayer every year, including addition of fun new stuff on top of the older fun stuff, completely f**king up the balance every year (so that new players can always jump right into the game, because the veterans have to get used to new sh*t and new bugs every year).

- 3 eager new Studios who will alternate development with Bungie, all of whom are wetting their pant in excitement to use all of their creative energy, blood, sweat and tears for the next decade on such an universaly beloved franchise.

- MOAR DLC-Packs (forget Day 1 DLC, in the future you'll be able to buy and download the DLC before the game even comes out!!!)

- NAZI ZOMBIES in Destiny! Just when you thought everyone was losing interest in the franchise, Nazi zombies will bring it back from the dead (btw, what is irony?)

- and Kevin Spacey.


P.S.: can anyone tell me why people won't pre-order the new game from the franchise they have been playing for every year for the last ten years? Especially after they got burned on the POS-game in that franchise that came previous to this new one? And also other exciting POS-games that were advertised as awesome to drive moar pre-orders but then turned out to be *meh* at best?

Because I don't understand it........
 

RicoADF

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fix-the-spade said:
CoD looks like it's arcing downwards and probably won't see more than three more titles if sales drop another 75% in three years, World of Warcraft is steadily declining and even with Warlords of Draenor bump will be half the game it used to be. Skylanders is still growing, but with Disney Infinity now containing Marvel and Star Wars coming soon that's days as a growth franchise are surely numbered as well.
That's why they funded Destiny, it's clearly trying to be the next CoD/WoW (thus why it has elements of both) to secure their future income.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Oh god yes.

Take that, Bobby Kotick! Your franchise will never again hold the same sort of sway it once did!

So... what shall be the next trend we're in for...?[sub]Not Destiny, plz[/sub][sub][sub]Plz no[/sub][/sub]
 

Smiley Face

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Unfortunately, this is probably more a referendum on the last game than anything else. Ghosts killed a lot of interest in the series.
Sniper Team 4 said:
Hm...I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that Ghosts' campaign was bad. And I mean bad. Sure, CoD games aren't known for their ground-breaking writing and storytelling in the single player, but I've had a blast playing all of them up until Ghosts. I wonder how many people out there are the same as I am, and are now a bit wary of the next CoD game. I do admit that Advanced Warfare does look like a step back in the right direction (over-the-top fun), but if this game fails me as bad as Ghosts, I'm done with the series.

It would be interesting to see this series die though, and then see what takes it place.
I'm thinking that it's probably largely to do with this. With annual releases becoming a big thing, I'd imagine that pre-order numbers will really be affected by previous disappointments with the series. Whatever the next Battlefield is, it's not going to see pre-order numbers like 4 did, because of how much they botched things (is it fixed yet? I don't even know). That said, if reviews turn out well, those people who shifted from a pre-order stance to a wait-and-see approach might jump in, and post-launch sales would see a bump.

There's also probably a good number of people who are waiting for a good CoD game for the next-gen console, just so they can have one on hand if they feel like playing online multiplayer, but either gave Ghosts a pass due to its reviews, or didn't have a console when it launched, which given that Ghosts launched before the PS4 and Xbone, is going to be a lot of people, especially if Microsoft's temporary price cut for the Xbone pays off for them.
 

Jak2364

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I wonder what Activision will do to the three studios working on this franchise if it dies? I hope they get the opportunity to make what each of them really wants to make, and see what catches on. Maybe they'll be able to do some cool stuff once they're "unchained" from CoD.
 

ron1n

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They'll probably just find a way to repackage it again, maybe with a better looking engine:


Last couple games they've been trying to push the whole 'future technology' angle. I wouldn't be surprised if the next game goes back to regular Battlefield style 'modern warfare' and everyone will buy into it again.

I certainly don't see them going back to WW2 as that won't be sexy enough for the mainstream audience. Nor will Vietnam.

Would be glorious if it went the way of Guitar Hero though... I mean SURELY even the biggest CoD bro must have realised it's the same shit repackaged a thousand times by now?

The FPS genre is in a dire state at the moment and BF and CoD NEED to just fuck off for a few years to give it room to re-cooperate and let new games with new ideas in.
 

Britpoint

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I think there are probably a lot more people waiting for reviews for this game than many others in the series. Or, to put it another way, I think reviews are likely to sway sales much more with this entry than with earlier ones.

People pre-ordered Ghosts out of habit and got burned, while players and critics alike bemoaned tired, stale, unimaginative gameplay with little to no real improvement. As such, a lot of those early adopters of Ghosts will be holding off, hoping the new game is good but not assuming it.

All this needs is a general consensus of "This is the best Call of Duty in years" or "Really brings back the thrill that Ghosts was missing - 9/10", and I think that sales decline will be significantly reduced.
 

tippy2k2

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Ghost has done a lot to absolutely cripple interest in Advanced Warfare.

I've purchased every CoD since Call of Duty 2 but if I couldn't get the game for about $30 (through Best Buy's various pre-order deals), I would likely hold off on this one until it dropped in price. Although I suppose Ghost has made progress in making me not like this series since I will not be getting the Map Packs until I know that AW isn't absolute garbage like Ghost was so....uh....progress?

If AW is good, I expect the numbers will jump right back up. Maybe not as high as they were in the series prime but I think a lot of CoD gamers are gun-shy after Ghost and are waiting for reassurance before putting their money down.
 

Evonisia

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I think it's a shame, but it was an inevitability. Ghosts was a really, really awful game that was so lackluster and soul less that even the CoD fans were put off it.

I hope Treyarch's next Call of Duty won't be the first financial failure for the series, though. Share holders will complain about any drop, but it's not like Ghosts didn't make a profit. As of now, it seems that Treyarch is the only one of the three who genuinely care for the franchise and want to improve it.
 

Worgen

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tippy2k2 said:
Ghost has done a lot to absolutely cripple interest in Advanced Warfare.

I've purchased every CoD since Call of Duty 2 but if I couldn't get the game for about $30 (through Best Buy's various pre-order deals), I would likely hold off on this one until it dropped in price. Although I suppose Ghost has made progress in making me not like this series since I will not be getting the Map Packs until I know that AW isn't absolute garbage like Ghost was so....uh....progress?

If AW is good, I expect the numbers will jump right back up. Maybe not as high as they were in the series prime but I think a lot of CoD gamers are gun-shy after Ghost and are waiting for reassurance before putting their money down.
How did you get a full 30 off at best buy? I only heard about the $10 gift card thing.
 

tippy2k2

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Worgen said:
How did you get a full 30 off at best buy? I only heard about the $10 gift card thing.
If you pre-order the game from Best Buy, you get the $10 gift card for later use.

If you also trade in Ghost, you get a $10 (or $15 if you do BLOPS 2 for some reason) coupon AND another $10 gift card later for the 360. Ghost is worth $20 if you're doing Xbox One.

I did that deal with Madden and except for them taking about a hour because no one knew what the hell they were doing for that deal, it went through with no problems. As I hinted, I think Ghost was absolute garbage so I have no problem turning that turd in.

So the deal might not work for everyone (since you may not have Ghost anymore) but the game basically drops to $30 for me.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/games-promotions/call-of-duty/pcmcat283800050002.c?id=pcmcat283800050002

You can see the Trade-In info right above the trailer on the left.
 

Worgen

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tippy2k2 said:
Worgen said:
How did you get a full 30 off at best buy? I only heard about the $10 gift card thing.
If you pre-order the game from Best Buy, you get the $10 gift card for later use.

If you also trade in Ghost, you get a $10 (or $15 if you do BLOPS 2 for some reason) coupon AND another $10 gift card later for the 360. Ghost is worth $20 if you're doing Xbox One.

I did that deal with Madden and except for them taking about a hour because no one knew what the hell they were doing for that deal, it went through with no problems. As I hinted, I think Ghost was absolute garbage so I have no problem turning that turd in.

So the deal might not work for everyone (since you may not have Ghost anymore) but the game basically drops to $30 for me.
Ahh, that's what I figured, since i have ghost on the pc I can't exactly trade it in. The singleplayer was stupid but I still had some fun with it, the space set-piece was quite awesome and infiltrating that base was pretty cool too. It just wasn't up to the usual standards that cod is, plus it's story was somehow worse than mw2 and 3's.
 

Raziel

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Citizen Graves said:
Dark Knifer said:
Well it was bound to happen eventually.

Wonder what the next Triple a thing will be next.
Why, get ready for 10 exciting years full of:

- a new iteration of Destiny every year.

- complete balancing overhaul of the competitive multiplayer every year, including addition of fun new stuff on top of the older fun stuff, completely f**king up the balance every year (so that new players can always jump right into the game, because the veterans have to get used to new sh*t and new bugs every year).

- 3 eager new Studios who will alternate development with Bungie, all of whom are wetting their pant in excitement to use all of their creative energy, blood, sweat and tears for the next decade on such an universaly beloved franchise.

- MOAR DLC-Packs (forget Day 1 DLC, in the future you'll be able to buy and download the DLC before the game even comes out!!!)

- NAZI ZOMBIES in Destiny! Just when you thought everyone was losing interest in the franchise, Nazi zombies will bring it back from the dead (btw, what is irony?)

- and Kevin Spacey.
I doubt that. Destiny gets too much hate for it to be the next CoD. I've bought COD for like 5 years. I'm DONE with destiny. Sold my copy even, first time I've sold a game. They'd have to make the next game like literally 10 times as big and have a good story to get me to even consider buying a sequel.

I'm sure they keep making destiny and I'm sure it'll keep making money. BUt I don't see it getting anywhere near CoD sized.

I don't think we've seen the thing that takes over for CoD.

Worgen said:
How did you get a full 30 off at best buy? I only heard about the $10 gift card thing.
If you have a gamers club onlocked paid membership you can also get 20% off of new games, 10% off used. So I get it for $38 without trade in.
 

an874

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fix-the-spade said:
So after the sales peak of Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare will likely mark the third consecutive year of falling sales. Given the amount of money Activision spend on Call of Duty they are not going to be happy.

It also raises a serious question for Activision, what do they when World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Skylanders all hit terminal decline?
Well they could try making a new, innovative IP for this new generation...Pfff ahahahaha!
 

Something Amyss

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Smiley Face said:
I'm thinking that it's probably largely to do with this. With annual releases becoming a big thing, I'd imagine that pre-order numbers will really be affected by previous disappointments with the series. Whatever the next Battlefield is, it's not going to see pre-order numbers like 4 did, because of how much they botched things (is it fixed yet? I don't even know). That said, if reviews turn out well, those people who shifted from a pre-order stance to a wait-and-see approach might jump in, and post-launch sales would see a bump.
Yeah, I can't speak universally, but 0 of my friends are playing ghosts, and some have gone back to BlopsII and MW3. I think they killed customer faith, but you also raise a good point with next gen consoles, and maybe this will move because of that. Or not. I bet more people are waiting on reviews/videos/whatever.

I've never pre-ordered a CoD game, but my friends have, and they're still talking about passing.
 

Creator002

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Oh, good. Now we can look forward to the next game that will be copy/pasted by every major company for the next two console generations.
 

Sarah LeBoeuf

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Good. CoD has had too many sequels. Time to move on and do something original rather than trying to milk the same series over and over and over.

Plus, CoD pretty much created, or ate least severely propagated, the complete and utter saturation of the market with all these brown, "realistic", U.S. military shooters. It's the poster boy for the lazy, uninspired, soulless shooter game. Good riddance.
 

creamy5000

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No surprise here. All ghost was for PC users was a crappy port with less options. And the next one is going to be more of the same.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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So, after Advanced Warfighterfare tanks, can we give FPSes a break? It's been 15 years of them, just like it was 15 years of platformer copycats with the only new thing being the 2D-3D jump. How 'bout just a few a year, while a different genre, like RTSes or dance sims, becomes the new cow to milk to exhaustion?
 

Dalisclock

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Hm...I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that Ghosts' campaign was bad. And I mean bad. Sure, CoD games aren't known for their ground-breaking writing and storytelling in the single player, but I've had a blast playing all of them up until Ghosts.
I didn't bother playing Ghosts, and even passed on it during steam sales. Ghosts is the first COD game I gave a miss, because I heard it was terrible and everything I heard about the plot sounded like borderline racism and jingoism. "It's bad when the Spanish speaking brown people use our WMD's against us, but it's good when we use them against them".

MW3 nearly killed the brand for me(Sorry "Dust to Dust", you're not awesome enough to make up for the game's flaws), I gave BLOPS II a shot(eventually) but ghosts was enough to kill my interest.
 

Daaaah Whoosh

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I've noticed a recent trend towards sci-fi shooters, but I've also heard that many of the people who like CoD stray away from anything that isn't realistic. Seriously, my roommate was telling me a few weeks ago about how Destiny was just too much to handle. I think the problem with shooters these days is that they're moving to a subgenre that no one really asked for, in the hopes of jumping on the Halo/Borderlands/GearsOfWar bandwagon (which doesn't make much sense to me, but it's the only justification I can think of). Not to mention how much easier it is to give people OP killstreaks when you can just invent new guns that fire super-lasers.

Me, I think it's time for a good ol' 19th century game. The PvP could be the American Civil War, while the campaign could involve going to per-industrial countries and killing everyone with your superior weaponry and numbers. Every DLC could be a new continent for white people to screw over, and the sequel could be WW1.
 

Roxas1359

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fix-the-spade said:
It also raises a serious question for Activision, what do they when World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Skylanders all hit terminal decline?
Now I'm not a fan of Activision nowadays, but it's actually interesting if you notice something from them: they set trends. Seriously, Activision generally tends to be the ones to set the trends for AAA developers, as well as some of the console developers, a lot of the times. In the past, we had the Tony Hawk series, which resulted in loads of other companies making knockoffs or competitors. While they didn't start the Guitar Hero trend, they continued with it and expanded on it with Rockband. Then we had the "Realistic Military Shooter" get extremely popular with Activision. Now we have the Skylanders trend, which has already spawned similar products in the forms of Disney Infinity and in certain ways Nintendo's Amiibo figures.

When all 3 of their big hitters are going down, they'll probably already have 3 things to replace it. That's another thing Activision tends to do: when their money-maker isn't making money anymore, they drop it like a rock. Yeah, Tony Hawk had a few games after the peak, but when it was dropped it was dropped hard, along with the rest of the skater franchise for the most part. Guitar Hero-esque games also dropped like a rock as well. So it's only a matter of time before the "realistic military shooters" die off in a bit.
 

Elfgore

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Kinda funny, this is the first Call of Duty game I may purchase since Modern Warfare 2. Looks like a total blast.

But we all knew this would happen. Nothing can stay on top forever. Like others, I'm really curious as to what rises from its ashes.
 

Callate

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Metacritic ratings for PC versions of CoD games, in reverse-chronological order:

Ghosts 68
Black Ops II 74
Modern Warfare 3 78
Black Ops 81
Modern Warfare 2 86

...

I don't really think anyone needed a roomful of MBAs in serious gray suits to chart this. I wouldn't necessarily blame the franchise itself; if they produced a really good game, and reviews to match it, I suspect the franchise's fortunes would have a similar reversal.

Of course, that's pretty hard to do on a tight schedule, even without the hurdles of cross-generational development to contend with.

The reviews, professional and otherwise, that I read of Ghosts suggested that people were seriously underwhelmed. I wouldn't write Activision off, but it sounds like they desperately need to stop "phoning it in". Spectacle alone won't do it- and I don't think anyone really cares how accurately the dog is modeled.
 

The White Hunter

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fix-the-spade said:
Sniper Team 4 said:
Hm...I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that Ghosts' campaign was bad. And I mean bad.
Let's not be polite about it, all of Ghosts was bad, really bad.
You're being rather kind there, I'd say Ghosts was worthy of the cess pit frankly. Bad controls, shit PC port, bad story, iffy visuals, boring characters, boring set pieces, multiplayer was a shitty and unbalanced lag fest, the co-op mode was dull and the Squads was basically marketing gibberish and inconsistent bots.
 

DTWolfwood

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I want to go on record as saying it'll sell way better than Ghost. 40% more not less. :p
 

remnant_phoenix

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It had to happen eventually.

Although I wonder if Black Ops III could see the series make a comeback. I'm not a CoD fan myself, but I've spoken to several and it seems that:

1) Many were disappointed by Modern Warfare 3, both as a successor to MW2 and a follow-up to Black Ops, and have gravitated more towards the Treyarch way of doing things, particularly for multiplayer.

2) Ghosts was an even bigger disappointment; even CoD fans weren't afraid to say "this game sucks!"

3) Many are bemoaning the "future tech" angle of Advanced Warfare, saying that they prefer the more "realistic" (word used VERY loosely here) approach that Modern Warfare 2/3 and Black Ops I/II had.

So yeah, I don't know if it will return the series to the heights of sales charts (I wouldn't be at all surprised if CoD has passed its apogee point), but I do think that Black Ops III (which, according to the patterns at hand, will be out Holiday 2015) will end up outselling Ghosts and Advanced Warfare by a wide margin.
 

hermes

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If this prediction proves correct (and it seems like it), I am ambivalent. On one hand, I feel bad for the people that worked hard on those games. Huge layoffs are sure to follow news like this, and it will be on the people that did the actual work. Kotick and his kind are sitting comfortably in their piles of money. On the other hand, the series has dried any good will on my part for years now, and can't wait for it to be buried for a few years...