Modern Warfare 3 to double Battlefield 3 holiday sales - Analyst

Wedbush's Michael Pachter predicts Call of Duty juggernaut will easily overcome EA shooter's two-week head start, selling 16 million copies by the end of 2011.

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Electronic Arts has made a point of targeting Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with its own heavily marketed Battlefield 3, but the DICE-developed military first-person shooter is expected to be vastly overshadowed in terms of sales. In a Forbes article today, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter predicted that EA's effort would move millions but still be outsold 2:1 by Activision's blockbuster shooter series.

Pachter predicts Modern Warfare will easily retain the sales crown this year.
Pachter predicts Modern Warfare will easily retain the sales crown this year.

Pachter projects that Battlefield 3 will sell 8 million copies this year, while Modern Warfare 3 will move 16 million copies this holiday season. Battlefield 3 launches tomorrow, while Modern Warfare 3 will follow in two weeks, with a November 8 release date. Pachter estimates the two games will combine to generate $1.4 billion in sales for the holidays and represent about 15 percent of retail game sales for the quarter.

In addition to coming out of the gate quicker, Modern Warfare 3 is expected to have longer legs at retail, according to Pachter. The analyst pegged potential 2012 sales for Battlefield 3 at 2 million copies, while he could see Modern Warfare 3 adding 8 million copies to its sales total next year.

Although the analyst has sales of EA's effort being more than doubled, the publisher may still consider that a victory. In August, EA COO Peter Moore said the goal with Battlefield 3 was not to outsell Modern Warfare 3 but to eat into Call of Duty's market share.

"If you look at last year, you might argue that Call of Duty took maybe 90 percent of the market share," Moore told GameSpot. "We think we can knock that down to 70 percent this year. We don't have to outsell Call of Duty to have a very successful year. This is a long-term strategy to be a major player, if not ultimately a dominant player in this industry. But it starts this year."

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