Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Physical Sales Drop Significantly Compared to Last Year in the US
Infinite Warfare was always expected to sell less than Black Ops III.
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The NPD Group's monthly report was shared with investors yesterday (we'll see a portion of it next week), but Cowen analyst Doug Creutz revealed the figure in a note to investors. "Infinite Warfare units came in 17 percent shy of our expectations, down close to 50 percent [year-over-year]," he said. CNBC confirmed with another source that NPD data shows a 51 percent decline for physical Call of Duty sales in November 2016 when compared with November 2015. Physical sales in the UK were also down, at least at launch.
There are two important caveats to point out immediately. As noted above, this is true only of physical sales; digital sales were projected to be up, which will help to offset this decline to some degree. Additionally, Activision offered what's arguably Call of Duty's best-ever special edition incentive with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. This enhanced version of fan-favorite Call of Duty 4 is not sold on its own, only coming with special editions of Infinite Warfare. The cheapest of those costs $80, and that higher price tag will also help Activision to deal with the physical sales decline.
Infinite Warfare was expected to sell less than Black Ops III simply due to the fact that it's a new sub-series; Black Ops is a more established name that players tend to gravitate toward. Activision Blizzard acknowledged this before release, but it seems unlikely it was an anticipating such a precipitous drop--certainly investors and analysts were not. The company's stock price has declined about nine percent over the last month, currently standing at $36.60. That's roughly $9 less than where it was in mid-October.
Earlier this week, analyst firm Robert W. Baird advised that sales for Infinite Warfare had been "soft" but suggested microtransaction sales could help moving forward. None of the game's four DLC packs have yet been released.
Developer Infinity Ward's plans for an in-game holiday event were revealed earlier this week. Meanwhile, Modern Warfare Remastered is getting six free maps soon.