Call of Duty: Black Ops II will undoubtedly pull down big numbers when it launches in November. But has the franchise – and the genre – already peaked?
A few industry analysts believe so. In speaking to GamesIndustry International , Macquarie Securities' Ben Schachter said they have "significant concerns that CoD may have peaked in 2011." Specifically, he notes that both hardware and software sales have been declining in 2012, lifetime Modern Warfare 3 sales are still behind Black Ops , and "the genre seems tired."
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter agrees with that view, and added:
"Annual sales at the 25 million level are unprecedented, so it's easy to say 'that's the peak.' I think that the growth in online multiplayer fueled CoD sales, since it was (and probably still is) the best multiplayer experience available. However, last year, Battlefield multiplayer probably cannibalized it a little bit, and this year, Halo and Medal of Honor could cannibalize CoD a bit more. Next year, another Battlefield plus the Respawn and Bungie games probably cannibalize it a bit more."
Of course, this won't stop Black Ops II from becoming the best selling game of the year, and Pachter said Activision "shouldn't be concerned if it loses some players at the margin." After all, "they created a phenomenon, and others are emulating them." Still, is anyone sensing a Guitar Hero -like trend, here? Worth billions one minute and a couple years later, almost worthless by Activision standards…?