Analysts See Warning Signs In 'Disappointing' Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Sales

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is another success story for Activision. The latest installment has helped advance the franchise to grossing $10 billion in sales to date and, according to Activision, Advanced Warfare is the number one best-selling console game for this year in the U.S. While the latest Call of Duty game continues the trend of being one the year’s biggest sellers, Advanced Warfare also continues the trend of declining sales numbers over the past couple of years for the franchise.

According to Edward Williams of BMO Capital Markets, the sales numbers for Advanced Warfare were 23 percent lower, year-over-year, than those posted by last year’s release, Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s a significant drop for a franchise that, according to the Guinness World Records, is the best franchise ever and is the fourth consecutive year that a Call of Duty game has seen a decline in first-month sales.

The franchise hit its peak back in 2011 with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which sold around 9 million copies in its first month.

CoD Advanced Warfare

While Activision has been quick to advertise that Advanced Warfare is the best-selling game for 2014, it hasn't provided any numbers or figures except to say that it is "the biggest entertainment launch of 2014 in terms of revenue, surpassing all movie, music and book launches this year."

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olsen, in light of declining sales, lowered his price target for the publisher from $27 to $24. 

"November NPD was released last night and Activision NPD sales fell 22 percent year-over-year in the month, with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare down 27 percent," Olson said. "This is disappointing data following first week Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sales showing a year-over-year increase." He went on to add that the data could possible suggest that the "potential for Q4 revenue upside is now very low."

One major reason for the drop in sales for Advanced Warfare, according to Williams, is mostly due to the transition from last-gen consoles to the current generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4. According to Williams, who spoke to investors during a call, sales growth for next-gen platforms was at 212 percent while the sales for the last generation of consoles fell 60 percent. 

Despite the lower sales numbers for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the Call of Duty franchise is still a powerhouse in the video game industry and one of Activision’s most lucrative games in its portfolio.

Do you think future Call of Duty games will continue to decline in sales?