Compared to Modern Warfare 3’s 5 percent decline in sales within it’s second year.
Despite the much-touted $500 million USD that Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 earned within 24 hours of its worldwide release, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia has observed that the year to year sales of the series has been steadily declining. Black Ops 2, for it’s part, could go down by 10-15%.
“We believe unit sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II are tracking down double digits year-over-year. Our checks show initial sales of CoD: Black Ops II at some retailers were down as much as 20 percent. 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.
“If we are right, this would be the second year in a row this critical franchise will have seen units decline (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is down an estimated 5 percent versus Call of Duty: 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.”
Of course, there are a few theories as to why the numbers are seeing a decline.
“We think there are possibly three reasons for the weakness in Black Ops II: 1) We note that ratings for Black Ops II on average were slightly lower than Modern Warfare 3, which may have impacted initial sell-through; 2) Black Ops II launched only a week after Halo 4, which could have impacted its sales; and 3) Black Ops II launched only a week before Thanksgiving, which may have caused some consumers to delay purchases in anticipation of potential deals/discounts.”
So while it’s not necessary “doomsday bells”, could it be that the franchise has seen it’s best days gone by?