Sales for Activision Blizzard’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) new video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” dropped 14 percent from November 2011’s sales of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” according to the latest U.S. retail sales figures from the market research firm NPD Group.
The video game industry website Gamasutra reports that the game sold 4.5 million units for Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360 console and 2.9 million for Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) PS3. Sales for Nintendo’s (PINK: NTDOY) newly-minted Wii U console and Sony’s mobile console, the Playstation Vita (which sold a standalone “Call of Duty” title, “Black Ops Declassified,” that was poorly received by critics), were not included.
“Black Ops 2’s” immediate predecessor, “Modern Warfare 3,” managed to sell sell 8.8 million units in the US in its first month on the market, NPD reported -- a ten percent increase from the previous year’s sales of the original “Call of Duty: Black Ops” over the same period. “Black Ops 2,” in comparison, sold just 7.4 million over the same period this year.
Just last week, Activision announced that it had broken its own launch sales records with “Black Ops 2,” which reached $1 billion in sales in just 15 days -- a day sooner than it took “Modern Warfare 3” to reach that number.
But James Hardiman of Longbow Research told the British gaming site MCV that he thinks that Activision may have jumped the gun by proclaiming its own victory too soon, thereby raising additional concerns for analysts about a potential slowdown of its iconic franchise.
"We do not believe that Activision did itself any favors by putting out a press release touting that Black Ops II had crossed $1 billion in just 15 days, faster than the 16 days required for Modern Warfare 3 to reach the $1 billion mark," Hardiman said.
"What management did not mention is the fact that with an earlier release date, Modern Warfare 3 was able to reach $1 billion a day before Thanksgiving, whereas Black Ops 2 was not able to get there until after Cyber Monday," he added.
The NPD also reported an industry-wide dip in sales in November despite a number of high-profile launches such as “Halo 4” and the Wii U console along with “Black Ops 2.”
Shares in Activision Blizzard rose more than one percent on Monday morning, jumping to $11.48 in early morning trading.