With Amazon pre-orders showing a series in decline over the last two years, analysts at Cowen and Company believe that Call of Duty has peaked.
With a week to go until Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's release, a new report based on Amazon pre-orders shows that the series could be in a sales decline. Analysts at Cowen and Company have used the pre-order data to determine Advanced Warfare sales will be "down meaningfully" compared to last year's release of Call of Duty: Ghosts. That would mark the second year of down-trending sales for the mega-franchise, which means "it is prudent to assume it has peaked," according to the analysis.
Based on current pre-orders, Advanced Warfare is projected to sell 40% less than Ghosts and, more significantly, a whopping 70% less than 2012's Black Ops 2. Ghosts' sales were described as "troubling" by the same analysts almost a year ago, despite it being the top-selling next-gen game in the wake of the new console launches.
Naturally, pre-orders aren't necessarily the only determining factor in video game sales. For context, Advanced Warfare is still expected to outsell Destiny, which currently holds the title of "most pre-ordered new IP of all time" according to GamesIndustry.biz. However, the analysts were quick to address claims that pre-orders were no longer a determining factor in game sales and offered a rebuttal: "What we think is happening is that one, pre-orders for Call of Duty are down; two, Call of Duty is normally a significant percentage of overall pre-orders; and thus three, interested parties are concluding that pre-orders are secularly declining relative to overall sales." Cowen and Company's report concluded that "pre-orders remain by far the best leading indicator of a title's likely ultimate sales." We'll be able to better determine the accuracy of that statement after Advanced Warfare's November 4 launch.