Black Ops II Year-Over-Year Sales Drop Double-Digits
The problem with breaking records is that it’s often tough to beat the achievement second time round. Call of Duty is known for setting records as it has done so a numerous amount of times, where it’s actually unheard of that a Call of Duty title won’t break some sort of record.
While Black Ops II isn’t only hugely popular, and already boasting over $500 million in first-day sales, things aren’t looking too good in the long run. At first, when the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched, it was a great change to the shooter genre. Treyarch then decided to try their hand and their game was good, although Modern Warfare was better. When Modern Warfare 2 and 3 released, it was more of the same. Treyarch’s first Black Ops was something different with a better approach, where Black Ops II comes across as Black Ops with a few new weapons and way better features such as Shoutcasting. On the whole, the attitude seems to be “more of the same”, whichever way you look at it.
With that being said, if it was found that, year-over-year, Call of Duty isn’t doing as well as the previous year, would you be surprised? Probably not.
According to Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, retail figures show a double-digit decline for year-over-year sales.
“Our checks show initial sales of CoD: Black Ops 2 at some retailers were down as much as 20%,” he said. “Subsequently, it appears sales of CoD did pick up a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday. We think the current sales curve suggests unit sales in its first year could ultimately be down 10 to 15% year-over-year.
“If we are right, this would be the second year in a row this critical franchise will have seen units decline. We estimate CoD generates 40 to 45% of the company’s EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) on an annual basis and it goes without saying that weakness in this franchise is a cause for concern.”
According to the text, if sales declined last year, and again this year, it means there’s a massive drop altogether. That’s not good, and that essentially means the last sales-significant Call of Duty was the original Black Ops. Are gamers getting tired of what Activision is doing, or did Halo 4 honestly get in the way of sales?
It’s tough to justify Halo 4 as the reason for the decline, as the games are different and players will quite possibly play both. Not to mention, players who play Halo will play the last version of Halo continuously, where that’s the same for Call of Duty players. But if Call of Duty players aren’t playing the latest version, it means that they are either stuck on the first Black Ops or they’re actually moving over to something else. Perhaps it’s not so farfetched to think that Halo 4 is stealing players after all.
Either way, breaking records can be bad. But it’s even worse when sales drop year-over-year-over-year. Then, because of that, Activision needs to decide how they want to move forward: more paid-for map packs, or a subscription based game? As sales decline, so does income, and we all know what Activision is like.