Pre-release leaks are nothing new for the Call of Duty franchise. Dating several years back, tons of information has leaked out about nearly every release to the point gamers almost expect it. From map lists to killstreaks to campaign lengths – we’ve seen it all.
However, for newly minted Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games these leaks are still something new. Having only just taken over the franchise as a third developer, Sledgehammer has not yet learned to expect, let alone accept, that these leaks happen.
In fact, Sledgehammer’s Glen Schofield took to Twitter this weekend to voice his frustration over the leaks. It’s a rare moment of a developer trying to cope with having his team’s work out in the wild before actually being available for purchase.
We took 3 years 2 make a game. Kept it quiet 4 the fans & it has to be stolen & leaked a week b4. That sucks. A real bummer. Thanks a lot.— Glen Schofield (@GlenSchofield) October 26, 2014
Some countered Schofield’s tweet by saying that if Sledgehammer had been more forthcoming with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare details then gamers might not have seen the need to consume this leaked information. Schofield acknowledged his team’s careful marketing plan, but he says that “stealing” is not the answer.
“I realize that but stealing and releasing is not the answer…It is a big deal to us because discovery while playing is part of the fun. It will all be good, just saying.”
So far, though, the Advanced Warfare leaks have been minor in detail. There was the map list and the campaign length, but nothing has truly blown the lid clear off the game. The one element that most seem to be talking about is a 30-kill scorestreak called DNA Bomb that wipes out the entire opposing team and leaves a green mist on the battlefield. Many COD fans had thought we’d moved past the days of the nuke killstreak, but apparently Sledgehammer is bringing it back for Advanced Warfare.
In other Call of Duty news, the analysts at Cowen and Company have come to the conclusion that the franchise’s waning sales will continue to decline. This according to a lengthy examination of Amazon’s pre-orders for Advanced Warfare and how they compare to prior games like Black Ops 2 and Ghosts.
The analysts claim that Advanced Warfare‘s pre-orders are 40% less than COD: Ghosts‘ and almost 70% behind Black Ops 2. And so, by their estimations, it appears Advanced Warfare will continue the franchise’s downward trajectory.
Some may be quick to point out that pre-orders aren’t what they once were, but Cowen and Company refutes that sentiment. As they explain, this year saw the record for most pre-ordered new IP broken twice, by Watch Dogs and then Destiny.
If nothing else, one thing is clear: the landscape is changing and digital sales are growing. It’s now much more difficult to chart a game’s potential for success because the numbers aren’t as readily available as they once were. For example, those “most pre-ordered new IP” records were revealed by each game’s respective publisher, not by an independent third party.
It may not have the big pre-order numbers and Call of Duty sales may be declining in general, but the franchise is still a strong player in the market. Whether that will stay true over the next few years, however, is unclear.
Do you think Advanced Warfare‘s sales will be lower than Ghosts‘? Have you pre-ordered the game?
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.