NPD sell-through data has concluded that physical sales of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare are down on previous last year’s entry by a whopping 50%.
Publisher Activision-Blizzard has felt the blow, staggering toward a loss of nearly twenty percent of their stock value from its high in October. Analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen has reported that “‘Infinite Warfare‘ units came in 17 percent shy of our expectations, down close to 50 percent y/y.” A separate Wall Street source relayed a similar conclusion to CNBC.
Things are little better in the UK, with a forty-eight percent plummet from 2015’s far more popular Call of Duty: Black Ops III. And while the statistics don’t account for digital sales, that market cannot account for a decrease of such magnitude.
Critical evaluation on both Opencritic.com and Metacritic.com show an overall score drop of roughly five points out of a hundred between Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare, but both have been similarly well-received by critics overall. Meanwhile, the World War I-themed Battlefield 1 is rushing through sales milestones with abandon. Within its first week, it outsold Battlefield 4 and Hardline combined.
Is interest waning in the Call of Duty franchise, after years of annual installments and growing disconnect between the technicolor arcade of current iterations versus the gritty realism of the past? Perhaps Activision should take a chapter from Ubisoft’s playbook and give the franchise a little more room to breathe.
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