Call of Duty Preorders Weakened By Impending Consoles
Something interesting is happening to the once mighty COD and Activision is putting the blame squarely on Sony, Microsoft, and your fickleness.
More specifically, Acti says the soon-to-be next generation — which encompasses the unreleased PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (if nobody looks Wii U in the eye, it won’t try to join the conversation) — is negatively affecting preorders for their annualized money bath, Call of Duty.
Eric Hirshberg, Acti’s CEO of Publishing, revealed that Call of Duty: Ghosts’ preorder numbers are nowhere near “the record-setting pace" Black Ops II cemented before its November release last year. Could it…Could it be that the gaming masses have grown tired of purchasing a rehashed, increasingly formulaic product year-over-year? Are gamers finally at the boiling point where they’re wisely using dollars withheld to send both a message and a plea for inspired, innovative gameplay once mo—
“Our quantitative consumer research indicates that hesitation amongst past COD pre-orderers is primarily due to not knowing which platform they will be playing on, which is natural at this time in the console transition." Oh. I guess there’s also that. Thanks for clearing that up, Eric. Indecisiveness hath wounded the beast it seems.
It’s an interesting dilemna Sony and MS have presented third-party publishers with. Over this past generation, publishers have taken to relegating one-off’s or shaky IP’s to smaller digital affairs and focused their efforts into building sequel spewing franchises because their business models have morphed into almost totally relying on guaranteed cash-in’s.
Besides a shortlist of annual sports titles, you didn’t really see these yearly blockbusters running towards the PS3 and 360’s launch. Now, we’re witness to companies like Ubisoft and EA packing up their totem titles like Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, hoisting them over their shoulders, and making the journey to a brave new, next-gen world.
But missed preorders almost definitely won’t mean missed sales when Ghosts launches (like clockwork) this Holiday. The third-party, Activision included, has a contigency against the very same install base they fought and bled to root over the course of this generation. Of the three heavy hitting franchises mentioned in my rambling, all have current-gen counterparts being made available for the unwilling and undecided hesitant to go next-gen.
I think the upward battle ahead pushes the first-party into the frontlines more than the third-party. Any angle you approach it, it’s not a matter if games will sell — because they will. It’s a matter of where games will sell. Why cry over spilt milk, Activision? (If "crying” in this instance means issuing a sales report and the “spilt milk” refers to low preorders on a multi-billion dollar video game…Listen, I wasn’t formally trained in metaphors. Lay off me.)