Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Pre-Orders Show Franchise “Has Peaked,” Says Analyst

Analysis of the pre-order figures for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, compiled by Cowen and Company and relayed by GamesIndustry, show that they're trailing behind the same figures for the prior two Call of Duty titles. At this point, Advanced Warfare is expected to sell 40% less than Ghosts and 70% less than Black Ops 2.

Research notes from Cowen and Company believe that shows a downturn in the franchise, though despite the declining numbers, it's still high enough to eclipse Destiny's pre-orders numbers:

We continue to believe CoD will be down meaningfully vs. last year. With the franchise facing two consecutive significant year on year declines in sales, we think it is prudent to assume it has peaked.

While Activision has implied that pre-orders aren't significant indicators of long-terms ales, Cowen and Company provide an alternate perspective:

Given that we have seen the most pre-ordered IP of all time launched this year – not once, but twice! (Watchdogs and Destiny) – we have a hard time buying this argument. What we think is happening is that (1) preorders for Call of Duty are down (2) Call of Duty is normally a significant percentage of overall preorders and thus (3) interested parties are concluding that preorders are secularly declining relative to overall sales, e.g. that the problem is with preorders rather than with Call of Duty.

This aligns with what Activision and GameStop both would like to believe – Activision because it gives an alternative explanation for slow preorders, and GameStop because it ignores the elephant in the room that a significant portion of sales are digital, which they aren't seeing the preorders for. We believe that preorders remain by far the best leading indicator of a title's likely ultimate sales.

Considering that Activision is in the publisher for both Call of Duty and Destiny, this sounds pretty much like a sibling rivalry, but it still doesn't bode well for the Call of Duty series. Are you as excited for this futuristic installment of Call of Duty than past titles in the franchise?