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Analyst: CoD's Exhibited Weakness Is A "Cause For Concern"

Call of Duty: Black Ops II, despite being clearly the biggest video game launch of 2012, didn't manage to top its predecessor out of the gate.

And according to Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, this means the hugely popular mainstream franchise is starting to slow down.

Right now, the analyst believes unit sales of the recently released Black Ops II are "tracking down double digits against last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3." Based on retailer evidence, it seems some stores were down as much as 20% and Bhatia's predication is that first-year sales for Black Ops II will fall 10-15% from those of MW3. Interestingly enough, this isn't the first example of a decline. Although MW3 beat Black Ops early, it never outsold it in terms of lifespan sales. Bhatia's conclusion:

"It goes without saying that weakness in this franchise is a cause for concern."

But why has this happened? Well, the analyst believes it's due to three factors: Firstly, the review scores for Black Ops II are lower than the scores pulled down by MW3. Secondly, Halo 4, which launched the week prior, may have had an adverse effect on BOII sales. Thirdly and finally, releasing BOII a week before Thanksgiving may have caused gamers to hold off on purchasing the game, hoping for some Black Friday sales.

But whatever the reason(s), it's an interesting situation, isn't it?

Related Game(s): Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Tags: call of duty, cod, call of duty black ops ii, black ops ii, call of duty games

11/29/2012 11:55:05 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

Nas Is Like
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 12:07:14 AM
Reply

4th reason; gamers are slowly getting tired of the same old, same old.

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manofchao5
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 1:04:21 AM

I would honestly say this is the only real reason, it is pathetic that they keep using the same crappy story, fast paced online and bland gameplay with only minor improvements, for $30 that's fine, for $60 I don't think so, Activisions only mission is to milk a franchise to the grave, guitar hero saw that and someday day call of duty will see that day

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Geobaldi
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 6:33:32 AM

It's a shame it took this long for it to happen. Long overdue with this franchise.

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 10:50:29 AM

^^^Don't u have this game already? I thought u would be one of the people here who would preorder or buy Call of Duty day 1.

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telly
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 11:36:27 AM

Seriously. I just hate the annualization of game franchises. No one can get totally, completely stoked for a game series every. single. year. You will invariably get bored, realize you got your fill over the last few years, and start to sit out entries in the series.

Imagine if Avengers 2, 3 and 4 were due out over the next three straight years? Think that would cut into the franchise's momentum a bit? Wish video game companies would take the long view sometimes.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 12:30:24 AM
Reply

It didn't sell as expected because people are getting tired of Call Of Duty. Reason #4, I guess.

But I did get Halo 4 this year and not CoDBO2 this year. Im guessing Halo 4 had an impact.

"I might not have the strength but I have the mass"
- a line in Halo Reach

Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 11/30/2012 12:30:52 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 1:43:49 AM
Reply

Take Two-

"IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall"

I think that wall is within sight for CoD.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 11/30/2012 1:44:04 AM

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bigrailer19
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 11:22:42 AM

Not even close.

The sales are so sky high still, it doesn't matter if sales drop a little the game still outsells everything else by millions. The game has so far to fall, that it won't be affected unless the trend absolutely just falls flat next year.

I do think that the next MW will do better. But I also believe this may have a positive impact on the franchise. It may push then to mix things up.

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xenris
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 12:04:45 PM

I say this all the time, but if their sales are lower this quarterly they are in trouble. They NEED to have more profit than this quarter last year. THAT is how corporations work and its ridiculous but true, so next year all we are going to see is more corners cut with the same price tag. Dont believe me?

Why is it that World at War had several hollywood voice actors? Black ops1 had Ed Harris, and Black ops 2 has none? Because they are simply cutting corners so that the profit margin stays high. Its the same reason why some of the BLops 2 maps are from Blops 1 with a new coat of paint and some tweaks here and there.

If sales and profits are low they are simply going to cut more corners. If you say otherwise thats fine but year after year they have done NOTHING to fix issues that have been in the multiplayer since MW1, the zombies mode fans have suggested tons of tweaks to how the zombies behave to better balance the game, they still won't give console players dedicated servers with all that money they make?

How much can they honestly mix up the franchise? Blops 2 according to a lot of the big review sites, was a revelation to the series, taking it where it hasn't been before. The campaigns alternate endings, the strike force mode and the pick 10 as well as zombies have all been praised to high heaven for shaking things up. However it doesn't feel that different to me for one, and two if they changed this much and it sold worse why would they try and mix it up more? If anything they will revert back to the same old same old because that is what sold best for them.

Activision isn't going to put more money into the franchise they will just cut corners and market the crap out of it with the same lines they use every year like "all new" "completely different" "totally changed" etc. to make people think they are getting something different new and fresh.

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rogers71
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 4:06:07 PM

Xenris,
I can't believe how way off base you are with your comment that Black Ops II doesn't have any hollywood voice actors. I shall list them for you:

Michael Rooker - Has been in numerous movies and now stars in The Walking Dead.

Sam Worthington - Avatar, Wrath Of The Titans, Terminator Salvation.

Tony Todd - Best known for Candyman, also played in The Rock and Platoon.

I will stop there but you can see that I proved you wrong on that statement. Back to the drawing board with you.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 4:30:17 PM

Continued success doesn't mean that wall isn't within sight.

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xenris
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 5:12:35 PM

Thats all you took out of that? The voice actors in WaW were much bigger than the ones in Blops 2 IMO, not to mention their were many from different countries, compare the IMDB for a reference. However I read an article saying that Activision opted out of big name Hollywood actors. I guess there was only partial truth to that story so I made an assumption without looking into it much I apologize.

All that aside, the rest of my argument stands. They cut corners where they can and you can see that everywhere else, especially in MP and Zombies with Blops2.

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bigrailer19
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 6:10:13 PM

Everything hits a wall. It has to. That doesn't mean that all of a sudden the franchise is in trouble. Nor does it mean it's failing, especially with the sales it's getting.

Xenris-

There is no partial truth to Black Ops 2 and the argument you made for actors. Those are big names and your argument wasn't that W@W had better or bigger actors it was that "Black Ops 2 has none". Those are your words.

And another thing, the mp in Black Ops 2 is great, one of the best. Yes problems exist and I won't forgive and forget because it happens every year. But it's a huge step forward compared to Black Ops and Treyarch can finally say they made a better mp game than IW's last effort.

"They cut corners where they can and you can see that everywhere else, especially in MP and Zombies with Blops2". Strange because in another post you said this: "if this was a stand alone purchase I would make all my friends buy it... my friend caved to buying this together and thankfully it hasn't disappointed". You then replied to another comment saying. "They made something special I think. It is one of my favourite zombie games". Youre all over the place and I'm not sure where youre trying to go with your argument.

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xenris
Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 9:30:09 AM

If you looked I said it was a poor article I got the information about no hollywood voice talent. I should have looked into it more. But look at the IMDB and compare W@Ws cast to Blops2. There is so much more voice talent being used in W@W. So I change my argument and it still shows corners being cut when you look at how they shrunk the voice actors down from W@W to Blops2.

How is the MP one of the best? It is a step backwards from all of the steps the took in Blops1 to make the game more skill based and competitive. This is more a matter of taste but now it just feels like any infinity ward CoD with obscene aim assist, where RoF is king. I can pretty much quick scope which is something they wanted to eliminate from blops but its back in this one. I have a saved MP match and I go 34 and 2 and half the kills are me shooting and getting kills I personally don't think I should have got but the hit boxes are so ridiculous that I did. Add me on PSN as Xenris and go to my Blops 2 videos its call I'm your dad.

The only good thing a bout this MP is the pick ten and the tweaking to the knife. The dominant guns right now are all high RoF guns, the BR32 pistol is a joke at how fast it kills people, and SMGs are mostly what people are using, or 1 hit shotguns which are laughably easy to use.

Even if they got some things right it doesn't excuse the corners cut I have seen in multiplayer with the reused maps.

Um yeah I did say all of that stuff, that was within the first couple weeks of zombies and we hadn't really dove into the game yet like I did with Blops1. The more we played the more we were like, is this it? Even transit when you combine all the areas together isn't very big and its the only map you get. If you wanted the nuketown 2025 zombies you needed to get the hardened which was totally not cool. Blops1 only came with 2 BIG classic zombie maps, plus that top down zombie map.

Your kind of taking my words out of context. I do think the zombie mode Treyarch made is special, the style or survival, boarding up windows, earning money etc, but I'm pretty sure I was just talking about the zombies mode in general in that quote and not Blops2 zombie mode in particular. Even if I was it still doesn't excuse the fact that I think it could use A) tweaking to the hit boxes and B)more maps/content at launch.

It doesn't excuse that all of transit feels smaller and than Five from the first blops.

My argument was that after spending about 2 weeks or so with the game I started seeing where corners had been cut more so that in any CoD before. It took me 6 or so months to get bored of the Five Zombies map in Blops1, and this was mostly because my co op partner went to the Mediterranean. Where is after 2 weeks we are done with this map, because of how poorly designed it feels, and honestly we were hoping some of the bugs and issues from the zombies mode in blops1 got fixed but they weren't even looked at.

So to go back to what my main argument is, IN GENERAL they are cutting corners and the more TIME I put into Blops2 whether it was the campaign or zombies or MP I am seeing this.

I still like it more than the last 2 MW games, and it IS fun to play the MP. But I thought I would be addicted to the zombies like I was with Blops1 but I find myself playing MP more with other friends who bought the game because zombies feel like a huge let down to me.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 2:06:37 PM

I did read what you said about the actors, and your argument was never that W@W or Blops 1 had bigger talent, it was that Blops 2 has "none". That was until Rogers called out that Blops 2 does indeed have big talent, then you back tracked. Which is fine you were taking word of mouth.

I didnt take anything you said out of context. I quoted everything you said. If your opinion has changed that's normal, mine does all the time. But that's all anything else is, is opinion.

The reason I quoted you was because I read what you had said about the game in Bens review of it. You had high praise for it, for the most part. Now it sounds like that's changed and I was just curious how, what you previously had said fits into what your saying now. I know opinions change, I mean I really had a hard time getting into Oblivion for example, but now, I've got over 500 hours between it and Skyrim. So I hear ya.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/1/2012 2:22:41 PM

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xenris
Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 5:06:17 PM

Basically like I said before, I feel like a lot of stuff was recycled and now that I have seen where MP is headed I am a little bummed out. That comes from my background of playing competitive PC shooters. blops1 made CoD closer to what I look for in a shooter and Blops2 seems to have mixed Blops1 with MW3 with a tweak to the knife. Which isn't "bad" but slightly disappointing for me and the opposite direction I wanted them to go. When I heard them saying they wanted to make it and Esport I was excited that maybe this would get back to being a more skill based shooter.

Zombies was something that took a while to notice, mainly because we were dying in the early rounds because of how annoying fire zombies, and lava is. Plus we didn't know you could melee the fog creatures off your head. The more we played the smaller it felt. At first we were like OMG this is huge but once we opened up all the areas for all the transit stops we were left kind of bummed out as it didn't feel as good or polished as Blops1 maps.

On top of that there is the added frustration that over time we wonder why in 2 years they couldnt have fixed the zombies hit boxes, and made it so you don't get completely caught on a tiny little brick. In general wondered why they didn't add more features to it, crafting was cool but it is extremely limited and probably took about a month to implement as there are only a couple things to craft.

Mostly though its this, my opinion has changed in that I was super stoked for Zombies but over time got let down, and I just started noticing more and more things that seems like corners being cut or choices to save money.

Now normally I don't really care, BUT when you have the largest selling game franchise you would think they would be really trying to polish up all the things that have been plaguing certain aspects of the game since 2007, instead of reusing maps, shrinking voice talent and not giving the consoles dedicated servers. Thats really what I'm most upset about.

That and I never plan on getting DLC, I hate the model and usually CoD gives me a decent value without buying the DLC, but I got bitter when I realized zombies is only going to get good with the DLC and that kind of pissed me off. They don't have one classic zombies survival map like the other games and like I said you only got one if you bought the hardened which again is kind of upsetting you know.

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firesoul453
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 2:44:13 AM
Reply

I know tons of people who didn't buy it because it said treyarch on the front. Its a dumb reason. I think treyarch made the better COD games, and that black ops (1 and 2) are much better than the modern warfare games.

Its far from game of the year, but black ops II offers plenty of replayability and I am still enjoying it.

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Dukemz_UK
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 5:55:52 AM

I respect your opinion, but I feel exactly the opposite. I prefer Infinity Ward's offerings. This is mainly based on what I perceive as better online play on PS3. However, I do appreciate that the Blops scenario allows for a longer and more convoluted single player storyline. (Not that either storyline is anything to write home about)

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Dukemz_UK
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 5:59:33 AM
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When the next gen consoles launch, I expect Modern Warfare 4 to be a launch title. So the hype-train will start all over again and Activision will be "smiling" while the megabucks roll in again.

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 10:54:14 AM

Do u work with them or something? S***, I ain't happy about that.


Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 11/30/2012 10:55:02 AM

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xenris
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 10:01:04 AM
Reply

I theorize this. I think CoD was a lot of peoples first online shooter. They loved it, it felt good and it worked well for them. They grew to love everything about it, especially the carrot on the stick of leveling up etc.

I think as time goes on and these casual gamers try out other shooters CoDs super casual nature of CoD is going to become very apparent to them. Some might return to CoD because its easier but others will want something more challenging.

For example getting even one kill in Counter-Strike, Tribes:ascend, or Day of Defeat is a lot harder and much more rewarding when you pull it off.

Maybe more people are ready to take off the training wheels from their shooter experience?

I'm not bashing people who play CoD but it is a much easier shooter than any other shooter I have played and I have been playing shooters since, Wolfenstein 3D.

I just think that more people are waking up and realizing that every year they are playing for largely the same thing, and that there are better competitive multiplayer shooters on the market.

Call of Duty is fun for what it is, heck I'm enjoying Blops 2 right now. But eventually the casual gamer fans are going to make one of two choices, either stop buying the game because they dont really care for gaming anymore, OR they are going to go looking for a new more challenging shooter to play.

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slugga_status
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 10:55:14 AM
Reply

I believe this is due to Halo 4 and Treyarch more than anything. I know I got Halo 4 day one and I'm extremely certain a lot of 360 users who enjoy the genre did the same. Then some people just don't like Treyarch CoD games. I for one believe they've made the better CoD games ever since the original MW.

Another thing I might mentioned is the faith Activision lost in the franchise last year with MW 3. A lot of people including myself felt it was one of the worst installments, especially MP wise. Then some people just need a break from CoD.

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bigrailer19
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 11:27:55 AM
Reply

Its weird to see numbers below the previous Years title as we are accustomed to seein sales keep increasing. But at some point it had to slow down. Consumer trends change, and theirs a list of factors as to why things like this happen.

But because the numbers are still so ridiculously high and within a decent range of sales compared to MW3, I don't think this has anything to cause concern. The game still outsold anything else this year, and more than any other game - aside from the previous title *in the same* franchise - EVER!



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maxpontiac
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 12:02:40 PM
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The wall isn't even close for the COD franchise.

What Black Ops 2 has done thus far is more than most games will ever come close to accomplishing.

The online community has around half a million (+/-) players at any given time and if anything, it is business as usual.

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rogers71
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 4:08:44 PM
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All this is a pipe dream for the COD haters. Like maxpontiac said, other games wish they could sell what BOII has sold. People just want to see this franchise fall and it's not going to happen anytime soon. Sorry to the PSX fanbase, I know you would love for this to be true......It's not. Get ready for years more of COD.

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Rogueagent01
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 4:43:19 PM
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If they had common sense then they should move away from the annual releases before saturation becomes a major issue. The one thing is that since they are a publicly traded company they don't need to fall off a cliff like some think, they only need to stumble a little and you'll watch as their stock prices start to plummet. When, "not if", that happens they will need to either reinvent the franchise or start over with something else. The problem for Activision is I don't think that they have learned anything from their mistakes(Guitar Hero).

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karneli lll
Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 4:57:16 PM
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They are just gonna get a new engine and the cycle begins again.

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