The average gamer has been led to believe that the Call of Duty franchise is in a downward spiral. Word of "franchise fatigue" and sales figures in free fall tends to be a dominating topic whenever it's brought up. However, reality is much different than it may appear.
While it's true that the latest iteration of the franchise, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, didn't sell as well as its predecessor, it didn't necessarily have to.
Under enormous pressure, Infinite Warfare managed to secure a position as the top-selling console game of 2016, both in terms of revenue and units sold. This news was confirmed by Activision today
The most pessimistic estimates put Infinite Warfare at 9 million units sold after only two months of being on the market, a figure unrivaled by almost every other console game that launched in the same year. Even in Call of Duty's toughest times it is still performing at a level few games can come close to contesting.
Shooters dominated the top ranks in 2016 with high review scores and sales. NPD Group's 2016 totals finalized the top 10 software as the following:
2. Battlefield 1
3. Tom Clancy’s The Division
4. NBA 2K17
5. Madden NFL 17
6. Grand Theft Auto V
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
9. FIFA 17
10. Final Fantasy XV
Overwatch served as the only new IP on the chart.
Infinite Warfare saw tremendous benefit from its digital deluxe edition which included a copy of Modern Warfare Remastered, a highly desirable title. As usual, it was also the recipient of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign and preferable retailer shelf positioning.
With this in mind, it's no wonder Activision keeps pushing for yearly Call of Duty releases. In a year where major features from gaming outlets included "sales aren't looking good" and "sales are as bad as the reviews" when talking about Call of Duty, it still managed to outsell the competition by a considerable margin. As with NBA 2K, Madden, and FIFA, its yearly release schedule doesn't seem to matter as much as speculation would suggest.
It has been rumored with strong evidence that this year's Call of Duty will be set in Vietnam, a first for the franchise. It is being developed by Sledgehammer Games, which statistically has been outsold by its Infinity Ward and Treyarch counterparts.