Critics will have little impact on "review-proof" Call of Duty: Ghosts, says analyst

Analyst says that Battlefield 4 "didn't exactly cover itself in glory" from critics either.

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Reviews of Call of Duty: Ghosts will have little impact on the game's sales, despite critics becoming dissatisfied with the franchise's yearly releases, according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.

"We think [Call of Duty] has become such an embedded franchise that it is somewhat review-proof," said Creutz to GamesIndustry.

Pointing out that reviews of the recently released Call of Duty: Ghosts are in the region of 74 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic, Creutz said that "we think of [Call of Duty] as being like EA's Madden NFL, which continues to sell similar unit numbers year in and year out, regardless of reviews; Madden's Metacritic has ranged as low as 78 in recent years."

Because the blockbuster shooter franchise "changes only incrementally from year to year," adds Creutz, he thinks "reviewers have become increasingly less likely to give very high review scores due to a certain degree of ennui with the franchise."

Creutz also pointed to EA's Battlefield 4, which he said "didn't exactly cover itself in glory" from reviewers.

The analyst said it will be the hotly anticipated next-gen FPS games, like Titanfall and Destiny, that have the potential to disrupt the market. "Our concern lies more with next year, when Call of Duty will face competition from several new next-gen shooters, including EA's Titanfall and Activision's own Destiny," he said.

"To the degree that Call of Duty may become a bit of a 'been there done that' experience for gamers, we think it is vulnerable to losing share as new product enters the market; even if a lot of that share goes to Destiny, as a third-party title it will carry a lower margin for [Activision], and we think bullish 2014 EPS estimates assume Destiny will be more incremental than cannibalistic."

Yesterday the boss of Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios said that he predicts "the end of an era" with Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4.

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