Thursday, February 14, 2013

November 2013 - Call of Duty 10 - CoD: Ghosts

Neversoft tweeted this December 9th of 2012:

The rumors are wide that Neversoft is working on a Call of Duty game and if they are announcing it in 2013 then it will be the 2013 release, and it will be Call of Duty 10.

But it won't just be Call of Duty 10.  Because Infinity Ward was the only studio working on CoD in the beginning, and because they had a 2 year development cycle, Call of Duty did not have a full game released in 2004, just an expansion pack (United Offensive), meaning this year is also the 10th anniversary of Call of Duty.  Oct 29 2003 - Oct 29 2013.

A few other items indicate that it is highly likely that Sledgehammer is also working on this year's game along with Neversoft.  Treyarch did not do very well with their first game and so I think Activision decided to break the new studios in slowly, Sledgehammer with MW3 and Neversoft with this year's release.

CharlieIntel reported on Activision's 2012 Q4 report.  ATVI expects 2013 CoD sales to be down from previous years.  My guess is that this would be the case whether the game is released exclusively on new consoles, on both new and current consoles, and obviously if it were released just on current gen consoles.  Some possibilities:

  • They'll release the game the regular 2nd Tuesday of November
  • They'll release it on Tuesday October 29th, exactly 10 years after CoD1
  • They'll release it whenever the new consoles are released, or along with whichever one is released closest to CoD's normal November release.
Because they're expecting lower sales this year and it's the 10 year anniversary of CoD1 I believe we'll see a remake of CoD1 (possibly a CoD1,2,3 combo) in which case they don't need to develop and write a story, pay voice actors, or create the maps from the ground up (the plans/designs are completed).  That will keep the cost of production down which is more valuable when you expect lower sales.

Adding to my admittedly small amount of evidence that Neversoft and Sledgehammer are working on this year's title is Infinity Ward's extensive involvement in post-release support of MW3, and their subsequent move into a new office in February 2013 giving IW little time to have developed a new game.  I think Activision is investing in Call of Duty's long term health by moving to a three year development cycle for new CoD games (or 2.5 years + 0.5 year post-release support).  CoD more than pays for itself, so I think this is a good move. (see April 6th edit below)

Edited March 4th:
On Twitter today Sledgehammer sent out a picture of their recruiting ad which is of a modern day soldier with sunglasses and a mic/headset.  CharlieIntel hasn't ever seen it before, and I did a picture search and came up empty which means this is was not part of MW3's promotional material.
This makes me doubt all my WW2 theories a little bit more than I was before.  Up to today I would have given the game a ~75% probably of being WW2, 25% modern day (as in Gulf War through War on Terror era).  After seeing that poster I'll revise my estimates to more like 60% for WW2, 40% for modern era.

Edited March 21st:
Drift0r put up a video with info from a "reliable source" about another Modern Warfare game titled Ghosts.
Now I'm doubting my WW2 guess even more.  It's too bad, I really think a 10th anniversary WW2 game would have been the best bet this year.  The big tip off that the rumor is not accurate is that he says it will be released only on next gen consoles.  To me that just seems ludicrous.

Edit March 22nd:
A mock-up of a poster that was posted to
Nope. Sorry about that.  Bad info.

Edit April 6th:
CharlieIntel visited IW's offices to talk to executive producer Mark Rubin along with others about the studio and presumably the studio's next title release.  I'm confident that the only way IW could invite these types of guests is with ATVI approval (or even only under ATVI's directive) which means it's for this year's game.  It makes sense too - they're reaching out even more this year to try to combat stagnating sales which will be exacerbated by the introduction of new consoles this year.

So once again we have IW working alongside SHGames, with Neversoft doing something as well.  I'm very curious how this turns out.

Edit April 21st:
Tmartn was one of the people who visited IW's offices, and in the video posted April 21 he said that the reveal of CoD10 will be "probably even within the next couple of weeks" which is the most anyone as much on the inside as him has said.  Everyone is already expecting it around now anyway, but history has shown some variation on when exactly the first teaser happens.  I'd put my money on May 1st.

Edit April 24th:
Driftor received a tip on twitter of a listing for CoD: Ghosts at Tesco Direct.  The image is pretty good and I didn't find any similar images online, however IW and ATVI are the only names on the box, no Neversoft or SHGames which is almost certainly not correct.  I highly doubt the box art is correct, and I have no clue whether ATVI sends out the name of the game to retailers this early so that's still up in the air.
A leaked target ad (registration required, image here) confirms the name CoD: Ghosts, and it's listed on the 360 and PS3 in both places.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Call of Duty Sales

I put together some summaries of the sales numbers for the last 6 Call of Duty games from VGChartz, and here are the results.

Unfortunately the VGChartz numbers don't include digital sales which means PC sales are lost and once a game goes up for sale on Xbox Live and the Playstation Store the numbers start to sour.

This shows the first 10 weeks of sales of each CoD game on PS3 and 360.  You can see the first week makes the biggest difference between them.  So let's take that out and see what the rest looks like.

The first thing I see is that WaW doesn't quite follow the trend of the others.  It's hard to point to anything with much surety, but remember that September and October of 2008, right before the release of the game, was the financial apocalypse and the beginning of the mass layoffs that started the current low-employment phase, I'm sure that hurt video game sales at the margin.  So CoD4 did better through the Christmas season than WaW.  But it could just as easily be that WaW didn't get the good word-of-mouth that the other games got.

BO2 was released later in the month compared to the rest of them so you can see it had it's Christmas peak a week earlier.

Another thing I see is how much convergence there is among all of the titles at the 9th and 10th weeks, particularly the steep decline of MW3 and BO2, which had Christmas week sales higher than CoD4's 1st week sales, but MW3 had a lower 10th week and BO2 had a lower 9th and 10th week than CoD4's 10th week.

According to VGChartz BO2's 10 week sales are lower than MW3 by almost 3 million, but higher than Black Ops by about 600,000.

Here's another one comparing the sales of each game in it's first year (Nov and Dec of its release year), second year (1st full year) and third year:

Really only the first two years count.  MW3 is already available for consoles to buy and download and I didn't pay attention to when past games were put up for digital sale.  But anyway, it's mildly interesting.

Added April 7, 2014: Charts updated to include Ghosts.