Bitch, please. I don’t care what the figures say, we all know Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will dominate the sales charts in November, that is, after it has officially been announced.
COD’s biggest problem is that it’s more predictable than Ben Cousin’s latest drug bust. We have all but confirmed that Black Ops 2 will be the new Call of Duty this year, and can assume that 2013 will bring with it Modern Warfare 4. There’s just too much potential to generate pools of money for that not to happen.
Modern Warfare 3 sales may have slowed now, but that could be put down to its insane launch. Over 6.5 million copies were sold during the first 24 hours in the US and UK, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. Most publishers can only dream of reaching those figures after several years on-sale, let alone in a single day.
It’s no surprise that sales have since slowed, and with the ridiculously high price of DLC -- $20 for a handful of maps and $70 per year for the rort that is COD Elite -- 34 percent of avenue from digital sales should have been expected. If anything, it suggests Activision have discovered another way to squeeze money from vulnerable FPS addicts.
I won’t be surprised if Black Ops 2 doesn’t quite reach the same dizzying heights of Modern Warfare 3. The series had to peak sometimes. (Real) gamers will argue that began and ended with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but in terms of becoming the unstoppable juggernaut of popular culture that was embraced by the “COD Gamers” -- people who only play COD and Fifa -- Modern Warfare 3 undoubtedly surpassed all previous entries in the series. At least at launch.
Only time will tell if Black Ops 2 will mark the decline. Even if it doesn’t follow the trend of each COD game outperforming the last at release, it won’t be in serious decline. It will still dominate sales charts and be the massive mainstream game to play this Christmas.
Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Ops 2 lagged a little by COD standards, but still embarrassed the competition by sheer sales numbers, before Modern Warfare 4 comes along and reverses this very same speculation, only magnified tenfold in 12 months time, by revitalizing COD as the original Modern Warfare did in 2007.
With successful annual releases for the past five years, Call of Duty is due for a quieter period, and the victim might well be Black Ops, but only by comparison to the franchise’s own success.There’s something about the “4th” entry in something that feels like it should have been a trilogy.
Activision have nothing to worry about. Maybe Modern Warfare 3 was the peak of Call of Duty, but Black Ops 2 will dominate in 2012 and Call of Duty will continue to be one of, if not the, biggest franchises in gaming. We’ve got a long way to go before the serious decline and inevitable reboot after a three year hiatus.
By Ben Salter - Tweet @Ben_Salter