Call of Duty: Ghosts sales lower than Activision's reduced expectations, says analyst

Call of Duty: Ghosts took the top software sales in November, but it was mostly competing with games that had already launched in prior months. Activision's expected sales boast was more tempered this year as well, having to compete against the likes of Grand Theft Auto 5. While the publisher had warned of lower numbers this year, sales may be even lower than expected.

VentureBeat reports that Ghost sales marked a 19% year-over-year decrease from Black Ops 2. Activision told investors that they expected some drop while players hold off to transition to new consoles, but Cowen analyst Doug Creutz says the picture is more serious than the warnings suggested. He says that the difference worth noting is the release dates, as Ghosts had more days on the market but still suffered its slump.

"Upon further reflection, we think the [Call of Duty] numbers are a bit more troubling than they first appeared," Creutz wrote in a note to investors. "While the year-over-year gap is only 19 percent thus far, that includes two extra weeks of sales for the 360 and PS3 versions [of Black Ops II]. Against 2011's [Modern Warfare 3], where the difference is only one week, the title is down 32 percent life-to-date. We don't think it is out of the question that the title could wind up comparing down 20 percent to 25 percent year-over-year [to Black Ops II], which is appreciably worse than the down 10 to 15 percent that we think is baked in to guidance."