Activision Blizzard is once again expected to have the best-selling game of the fall with its “Call of Duty” franchise, according to a new report by Cowen & Co.
The analyst firm found that pre-orders are strong for the military actioner that Activision will release Nov. 5, according to its proprietary video game odometer which tracks pre-sales for games, NPD figures and Amazon.com information. Consider it similar to early tracking for movies and how they may perform at the box office.
This year, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” received a score of 73, based out of 100.
“Call of Duty” Black Ops II” received a 100 last year, and went on to earn $1 billion within the first 15 days of its release.
Naturally, pre-orders won’t determine the overall success of a game, and Cowen & Co. stresses the results, tallied since June, are still early. Hardcore gamers tend to pre-order games, while publishers typically wait until the fall to launch a marketing blitz around their pricey tentpole titles to boost the appeal of games among more casual gamers. Still Cowen & Co. claims its results have been 97% accurate over the last two years.
According to its odometer, Cowen & Co. believes the fall’s nine other top sellers will be:
■ “Watch Dogs,” 69.6 (Ubisoft)
■ “Grand Theft Auto V,” 58.4 (Take-Two Interactive)
■ “Battlefield 4,” 54.7 (Electronic Arts)
■ “Killzone: Second Front,” 30.2 (Sony)
■ “Assassin’s Creed IV,” 29.2 (Ubisoft)
■ “Forza Motorsport 5,” 18.8 (Microsoft)
■ “Diablo III,” 18.2 (Activision)
■ “Batman: Arkham Origins,” 17.3 (Warner Bros)
■ “Dead Rising 3,” 15 (Capcom)
Just as Hollywood is increasingly relying on sequels or reboots to drive the box office, the games biz also is turning to follow ups based on its franchises to ring up sales. That’s not expected to change should the sequels continue to perform well.
Cowen & Co. expects “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to sell better than “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” released in 2011.
Also encouraging are the pre-orders for EA’s “Battlefield 4,” expected to sell better than “Battlefield 3.”
A majority of publishers generate their revenue during the fall. Last year, games, hardware and accessories generated nearly $21 billion in the U.S., according to NPD Group.