Call of Duty Was the Top-Selling Console Franchise, Again, in 2016

Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare combine to push Call of Duty to No. 1.

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With 2016 concluded, we're beginning to get details on sales data for the full year. Following new NPD and ESA reports, Activision has now proclaimed that Call of Duty was the top-grossing console franchise in the world last year.

Specifically, Activision described Call of Duty as the "top-selling console video game franchise globally for 2016 based on revenue." It notes this is the eighth year in a row that's been the case in the US, and the seventh time in the last eight years that it's been true worldwide.

It's worth pointing out the specificity of its language: This definition doesn't have it competing with super-successful PC or mobile games, and it's talking in terms of revenue. That leaves the door open for another series to have come out on top in terms of unit sales.

When contrasted with last year's statement announcing similar news, one other thing stands out. Whereas this one talks broadly about the Call of Duty franchise as a whole, last year's spoke specifically about the newest game, Black Ops III. Activision described it as the "top-selling title of 2015 globally by a wide-margin in both units and dollars sold-through." In the US during 2016, Black Ops III was also one of the best-selling games, helping to contribute to Call of Duty's No. 1 spot.

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That 2016's Infinite Warfare experienced a sales decline came as no surprise, as a comparison between a new sub-series and the established Black Ops was never going to be pretty. But what was noteworthy was the extent of that dip: Physical sales were reportedly down 50 percent year-over-year. An industry-wide trend of digital sales making up a bigger piece of the pie may have helped to offset this decline to some extent. The same can also likely be said for Infinite Warfare's special editions, which started in price at $80 and are the only way to obtain the remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

"Call of Duty is the #1 console franchise worldwide in 2016," Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said in a press release. "We're thankful to our players for once again putting Call of Duty on top, and we recognize how rare this is to do year after year. That's why we push to deliver innovations and incredible gameplay that are worthy of the best fans in the world time and again. And we have an exciting year ahead in 2017."

For more on the best-selling games of 2016 in the US, check out our coverage of the latest NPD report.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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    Avatar image for fanboyman
    FanboyMan

    Enjoy it while you can this one limped over the finish line.

    Avatar image for heydink
    heydink

    Played one played em all

    Avatar image for livedreamplay
    LiveDreamPlay

    The single player is mediocre and they've ruined the multiplayer completely. I'm assuming they're still selling well just because of the name...

    Avatar image for kreator669
    kreator669

    Anyone has any idea why? This is sh*t...

    Avatar image for nintendians
    nintendians

    infinite warfare make me feel like i'm playing black ops 3 all over from the beta that i played.

    Avatar image for kreator669
    kreator669

    @nintendians: and it was terrible, right?

    Avatar image for nintendians
    nintendians

    @kreator669: worse than the bo3 beta, bo3 beta got bullet damage detection right until they let all player get in.

    Avatar image for nyran125tk
    nyran125tk

    I just deleted and uninstalled it, I wish I never bought it and stuck with Titanfall 2 and Battlefield. the lack of dedicated servers, is totally sht. constant 60fps and it still lags and glitches at times. Battlefield, runs smooth as silk online. Also infinite warfare has bots foe offline private play and private servers, yet you CANT play offline !?!?!!?!?! Not touching another COD, unless it has dedicated servers.

    To be fair, Infinite warfare gets a bad wrap, its actually pretty fun, but no one is playing any modes other than team deathmatch when I play it , anyway and the single player campaign is prett fun, but both the remastered edition and infinite warfare is plagued with no dedicated servers.

    Avatar image for ti22samurai
    Ti22Samurai

    I had a ps4, but their primitive online network made me trade it in on a second xbox one.

    Avatar image for ti22samurai
    Ti22Samurai

    Won't buy COD until they quit ripping off Destiny and return to a modern time.

    Avatar image for livedreamplay
    LiveDreamPlay

    @ti22samurai: Ripping off Destiny? What because of planets? Cause other than that they're nothing alike. Call of Duty still doesn't have any sort of RPG elements and mechanics are incredibly different...

    Avatar image for ivanov70
    Ivanov70

    This was the year COD switched places with Battlefield I bought both but was skeptical due to call of duty hate which was totally unfounded it had an amazing campaign and more game modes than I can play, BF1 I kinda regret buying why they went to ww1 I can never understand but playing it felt superficial like star wars battlefront yet this game was super hyped to the point most didn't bother to get the excellent and imho superior titanfall 2.

    Avatar image for neoison
    NEOISON

    No PS4 PRO update ! Thumbs Down..... Rare /Common box issues. Open a 30key rare crate and it gives you duplicate common items. Terrible ! Hackers... Clan spawn raping... Ripper gun nerfed... Epic guns nerfed... Terrible.. Dropped serves, LAG !!!!!!! LAG !! Did Forget to mention? LAG!!!!

    Avatar image for thecman25
    thecman25

    This game was horrible

    Avatar image for magic1020
    Magic1020

    So many salty whiners in this thread. If you didn't but the game, don't even bother commenting. You just sound like a bunch of Kindergartners. If you bought IW to play MW (a game that is 5+ years old) then you need better things to do with your life. MW is a joke now. W/O ability to boost and jump pack, all you have is the same bitch campers with the same bitch style of play. IW brings the game back to teams and experts.. Sorry ya'll seem to suck something fierce at it.

    Avatar image for Pupchu
    Pupchu

    @magic1020: "IW brings the game back to teams and experts.."

    So this is why i suck, the teams and experts are back.

    Avatar image for doctor_mg
    Doctor_MG

    @magic1020:

    I've been boosting and using a jump pack since 2010. A lot of Call of Duty people didn't like the idea then, why are you praising it now?

    Avatar image for dalger21
    dalger21

    As others have said, if MWR wasn't attached to Infinite Warfare, it would have been slaughtered by BF1. I passed on this years CoD simply because of the douchebaggery of Activision that you had to buy IW in order to play MWR.

    Avatar image for wrestlingdude
    wrestlingdude

    That's because Activision suckered most people into buying Modern Warfare along with Infinite Warfare. No surprise.

    Avatar image for frankwes
    Frankwes

    Lol yeah because you bundled it with a better devs work (modern warfare 2)...but tell me Activision, how many daily players are on infinite warfare. ;) boast about your band wagon sales so no one notices that the sales are for a remaster...and no one is playing your infinite bull$#!+. All this confirms is that you threw out a winning formula to compete with trending IP. All because Titanfall said they could do it better. Lmfao

    Avatar image for Decapod_10
    Decapod_10

    It may have still sold a lot, but Infinite Warfare was definitely not as popular as previous games. In the UK, the price had dropped to £20 in most places just a few weeks after launch (the standard version, not the remastered bundle), which just shows how desperate they were to try and shift it.

    Avatar image for doctor_mg
    Doctor_MG

    @Decapod_10:

    Same thing happened with the US. In just about two weeks after launch Call of Duty IW + MW was down to 59.99 and the base game down to 39.99.

    Avatar image for xenomorphalien
    XenomorphAlien

    @doctor_mg: Not to mention they have a free trial, which I've never seen from a COD.

    Avatar image for zura_janai
    zura_janai

    why this game is so popular?

    Avatar image for noshotskill
    Noshotskill

    @zura_janai: The casuals. That is why I'm hoping Nintendo lures them back with the Switch.

    Avatar image for thecman25
    thecman25

    @noshotskill: the switch will suck ass

    Avatar image for noshotskill
    Noshotskill

    @thecman25: Nah, but your opinion does.

    Avatar image for gameroutlawzz
    GamerOuTLaWzz

    Whoever has this shit installed on his system kys.

    Avatar image for se7en1989
    se7en1989

    Its pathetic how even since "next gen" came out, there has only been like 3 or 4 actual next gen games that didn't suck ass, this generation is lame as ****.

    Avatar image for sdzald
    sdzald

    For me it points to the sad state of affairs gaming in general is. All platforms have vastly improved and yet what do we get from the game company's? Rehashed trash that isn't even as good as the older generation games.

    Just look at the popularity of BC on the XONE as an example, older generation games are being played more than current generation games. I sure hope 2017 will be a better year for new and fresh games but I am not very optimistic.

    Avatar image for animal84
    Animal84

    @sdzald: Exactly. I'm sure they are already hard at work on a new BF, COD, MADDEN, HALO, Gears of War, ETC.. I'm sick of it. The PS4 has some new IP's coming soon that I really hope are good (Nioh, Horizon). COD and BF are to blame for most of this. Companies just can't compete because all people are buying are these two pieces of shit.

    Avatar image for gamer162594
    gamer162594

    @animal84: Just because you don't like them doesn't make them pieces of poo. They sell millions and millions of copies, you can hate all you want but that makes you the oddball in the group.

    Some pretty good new games were Rocket League, Overwatch and Rainbow Six: Siege. Also a ton of indie games. There are some diamonds in the rough if you like supporting indie devs.

    Avatar image for lunchbox2042
    lunchbox2042

    @animal84: Of course they're at work on sequels to top selling games.

    Avatar image for animal84
    Animal84

    @lunchbox2042: Obviously. That is the problem. The top selling games will always been rehashes of the top selling games. They don't even have to try to innovate, and haven't for over 5 years. The games are actually getting worse. Until all these idiot kiddos stop buying, the gaming industry will get worse and worse.

    Avatar image for jako998
    Jako998

    If Modern warfare remastered wasn't bundled with it and wasn't the only way to get it was to spend $80 on it, I don't think Infinite warfare would of sold as much and honestly I don't think it would come out on top. Only reason why many people got the game was for modern warfare. Nuff said

    Avatar image for deactivated-5a50575ec5600

    @jako998: Some people like drinking urine, so widespread acclaim generally doesn't say anything about anything.

    Case in point, gaming industry is in the dumpster and huge shareholders, like the ones that puppet around the CoD franchise every year, have single handedly ruined it for consumers.

    Avatar image for gamer162594
    gamer162594

    @Raidendude153: Yeah, because millions of people like drinking urine... So I totally get your urine analogy, makes sense. More people prolly drink urine than play COD games, ha ha, we got 'em bro!!!

    /sarcasm

    Avatar image for gamer162594
    gamer162594

    @jako998: Really? Is that why IW is always top 5 Most Played on XOne? Because people only wanted MWR but ended up playing IW??

    Your logic is flawed I think.

    Avatar image for veryDERPY
    veryDERPY

    @gamer162594: well they're not that intelligent to begin with having a xbone.

    Avatar image for se7en1989
    se7en1989

    @gamer162594: Well to counter you, there hasn't been anything else to play...this has been one of the worst years for video games that I've seen.

    Avatar image for gamer162594
    gamer162594

    @se7en1989: To counter your counter, I think Overwatch, Titanfall 2, Raindow Six Siege, Gears 4 and Battlefield 1 would be offended by your comments :)

    edit: Almost forgot about Rocket League!

    Avatar image for deactivated-5ab3d29749ec4

    @se7en1989: Are you blind or just ignorant because i see tons of options from 2016 whether it be a shooter a racer a platformer i see plenty of options

    Avatar image for se7en1989
    se7en1989

    @ratchet989: okay good for you....

    Avatar image for gameroutlawzz
    GamerOuTLaWzz

    @se7en1989: Only if all you own is the shitbox.

    Avatar image for sleepnsurf
    sleepnsurf

    @gameroutlawzz: Shitbox aka PS4 where all the dudebros from 360 went.