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Call of Duty’s Lackluster March Isn’t Indicative of Much

April 18, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

Generally speaking, the videogame industry sees the sale of games come primarily at launch before quickly tapering out. Nintendo games and Call of Duty games are some of the few exceptions to this. Whereas even many big titles will disappear from the NPD sales charts within a few months of launch, the latest Call of Duty traditionally has a long stay at the top before sticking around in the top ten long after when the majority of games would have fallen off. Modern Warfare 3 has yet to drop out of the top ten but it is doing more poorly than Black Ops was at the same point last year, leading some to wonder if the Call of Duty bubble is ready to burst. The series’ haters may want to delay celebrating just yet, however, as it’s hardly as if Activision is on the verge of being forced to shelve the series like it did Guitar Hero last year.

The “shortened tail” of Modern Warfare 3 first had attention called to it last week by PiperJaffray analyst Michael Olson. Gamasutra reported Olson was expecting MW3 to sell in March half of what Black Ops did during the same period last year. He was not of the belief this decline was specifically related to Call of Duty, though. “We believe big name titles are no longer able to sustain ‘fat tails.’” he said. “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.”

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