For months, Call of Duty: Black Ops has been preordained as a best seller, with GameStop saying in October that it was poised to break preorder records. Now analysts are beginning to weigh in on the game's potential, with one professional prognosticator saying the game could nearly match sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
In a note sent out to analysts this morning, Janco Partners' Mike Hickey said he believes that Black Ops could sell over 18 million units, generating $818 million. That's less dollar-wise than the $1 billion-plus generated by Modern Warfare 2 and 2 million units shy of the 20 million units the game had sold as of mid-June.
Hickey also had some predictions for two other Call of Duty products. He believes the first-person shooter confirmed for the latter half of 2011 yesterday will indeed be Modern Warfare 3. However, instead of Infinity Ward developing the game, as it was as of May, Hickey believes that the project has been passed over to newly founded studio Sledgehammer Games. The Redwood City, California, shop had been billed as working on an action adventure spin-off of the Call of Duty series, but a job listing revealed in May that it was working on a first-person shooter.
The analyst also had some thoughts on Call of Duty Online, the massively multiplayer project being developed in Asia. He believes the game will launch next year and has the potential to generate $100 million during its first year alone.
He explained, "We're beginning to favor [Chinese Internet portal] Tencent as the eventual operator of COD online in China considering their relative expertise running an item based sales model, game genre expertise (Crossfire operator), the successful regulatory navigating of genre specific concerns and the apparent callous attitude from Blizzard developers on working with Activision franchises, which we believe eliminates Call of Duty code development cooperating for Battle.net integration."