Even though Activision warned (earlier in the year) that it expected this year's iteration of the Call of Duty series to be down compared to last year's Black Ops II because of the transition to new console systems, Cowen analyst Doug Creutz is sounding alarm bells with investors today. The analyst noted that sales of the franchise year-over-year are down 19 percent and could ultimately be down a lot lower than that for the life of the title.
"Upon further reflection, we think the [Call of Duty] numbers are a bit more troubling than they first appeared," said Creutz, who went on to say that the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts released almost two weeks earlier in November than Black Ops 2, which offset a portion of the sales drop which would have otherwise been far worse.
"While the year-over-year gap is only 19 percent thus far, that includes two extra weeks of sales for the 360 and PS3 versions [versus Black Ops II]. Against 2011′s [Modern Warfare 3], where the difference is only one week, the title is down 32 percent life-to-date," said Creutz.
He notes that the PS4 and Xbox One versions arrived later in the month, but ultimately failed to make up the sales deficit.
"We don't think it is out of the question that the title could wind up comparing down 20 percent to 25 percent year-over-year [to Black Ops II], which is appreciably worse than the down 10 to 15 percent that we think is baked in to guidance," predicted Creutz.