Modern Warfare 3 may have been the biggest video game launch of all time, but the series spotlight seems to be fading. Analyst Michael Olson of PiperJaffray believes the game isn’t performing as well as past titles, which probably means it won’t have the same legs as Black Ops.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Olson said he doesn’t believe Modern Warfare 3 will enjoy the same level of success that Black Ops did, and sales will start to slowdown much faster than that of its predecessor. Treyarch’s title continued to be a regular best seller past its release, and was the fifth best selling game in March 2011. Despite also selling well, Olson predicts Modern Warfare 3 will only reach the eighth spot once March 2012 sales date is revealed.
While there are many that want the franchise to die out, Olson feels Modern Warfare 3‘s dwindling sales will also have an impact on the game industry itself, as we’ll see a large drop in software sales when NPD reports roll around.
“We believe big name titles are no longer able to sustain ‘fat tails.’ This ‘thinning tail’ phenomenon is driven by 1) casual gamers leaving the market, 2) a steeper pre-sale and up-front curve, and 3) cannibalization from the pre-owned market.”
Despite the falling sales, it’s unlikely that the Call of Duty franchise will be going away any time soon. The series is still very lucrative for Activision, and that’s even considering the drop in sales. As well, with Call of Duty: Elite and other forms of DLC, there should be enough there to keep Activision’s pockets full. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Call of Duty goes the way of Guitar Hero.
However, if this does show one thing, it’s that the franchise needs to change. Even as a Call of Duty fan, it’s hard not to admit that formula is starting to get a bit old. The single player portion is still fun as always, but the multiplayer needs something new. Elite 2.0 could bring some changes to Call of Duty as a service, but if the gameplay doesn’t start to innovate, we may start seeing fans move onto to different games.
Then again, the unconfirmed-but-totally-in-the-works Black Ops 2 will probably bring about the return of Zombies, and people seem to love that game mode. So who knows, maybe Black Ops 2 will see a significant sales boost.
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