Call of Duty games were 10 of the top 15 best-selling titles of the decade

In a report on US spending by the NDP Group, Call of Duty games accounted for a lion's share of the list of the decade's best-selling games.

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The Call of Duty franchise undoubtedly shifted the landscape of gaming when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out in 2007. Activision, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and other developers behind the series have since worked tirelessly to keep it at the top tier of the first-person shooter genre (arguably to questionable effect). One thing that can’t be argued though is that over a decade later, the franchise still holds consumer attention. Market research company The NDP Group just launched a report of US spending on video games and Call of Duty games took up 10 of the top 15 games sold in digitally and physically in the US over the last decade.

NDP Group released their report on January 16, 2020 in a press release. The report includes statistics on US spending on video games in December 2019, all of 2019, and finally a ranking of games sold from both 2000 to 2009 and 2010 to 2019.

It's worth noting that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 was a late addition to the party and likely didn't have the time to break into NDP's decade-long list.
It's worth noting that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 was a late addition to the party and likely didn't have the time to break into NDP's decade-long list.

The list of top games from 2010 to 2019 is as follows:

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  4. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  6. Call Of Duty: Ghosts
  7. Red Dead Redemption II
  8. Call of Duty: WWII
  9. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  10. Minecraft
  11. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  12. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
  13. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  14. Mario Kart 8
  15. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  16. Battlefield 1
  17. Battlefield 4
  18. Destiny
  19. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  20. Star Wars Battlefront 2015

Call of Duty’s number of spots on this list is both surprising and not surprising. On one hand, games like Call of Duty Black Ops were legitimately enjoyable and brought new life to the series arguably on par with Modern Warfare 1 and 2. On the other hand, entries like Call of Duty: Ghosts represent an incredibly stale point in the series which make it a surprise that the game is even on this list, let alone so high.

How low points in the Call of Duty series like Call of Duty: Ghosts made this list, let alone so high, is anyones guess. For shame.
How low points in the Call of Duty series like Call of Duty: Ghosts made this list, let alone so high, is anyones guess. For shame.

It should come as no surprise that despite Call of Duty’s prominent amount of placement on the list, Grand Theft Auto 5 is still holding the number 1 spot as one of the most popular games of all time. Even back in 2018, it was being reported that Grand Theft Auto 5 had sold over 95 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most profitable franchises in the history of entertainment media. Red Dead Redemption 2 following in the success of Grand Theft Auto 5 and making a prominent place on the list also makes sense whether you factor in the PC release or just its console success.

It should also come as no surprise that Mario Kart 8 and Minecraft made this list as versatile as the games have been in their releases, rereleases, and support among the developers and gaming communities over the years.

Whether you chock it up to actual quality or the clout that will make fans buy each one regardless of how good it is (*cough* Ghosts *cough cough* Advanced Warfare), there’s no denying that it seems that Activision had a working formula of launch over the years. One wonders if they’ll be able to carry it through 2029.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 17, 2020 8:50 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Call of Duty games were 10 of the top 15 best-selling titles of the decade

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      January 17, 2020 8:54 AM

      good for them. I remember backing battlefield for MP and CoD for SP - but it's clear the CoD teams have really polished MP across lots of titles. blackout, blops, and cod proper all have great MP.

      I wonder what DICE/EA will do for battlefield. the WILD swings in MP balancing issues has really soured the community and the games themselves.

      in the meantime, COD does deserve the sales kudos, they are executing shooters very well.

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        January 17, 2020 8:56 AM

        trash series

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        January 17, 2020 10:39 AM

        We are indeed lucky the token FPS franchise is actually arguably good. I don't see much evidence of their Madden-style buy-every-year consumer base being used to sit back and make shitty games. All the studios involved still apply effort to produce a quality game and I know I appreciate it, even if I don't buy literally EVERY one. I'd love if the RTS/4X and MMO genres had a yearly go-to as well, like COD is for FPS.

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        January 17, 2020 12:06 PM

        Battlefield decided to move away from what made it unique to copy Call of Duty more. Everything after Battlefield 2142 has been a decline of features without anything added, while CoD has iterated/polished their formula to a shine.

        I guess it helps that CoD has like 3 full development teams dedicated to it.

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      January 17, 2020 4:16 PM

      CoD is that guilty pleasure game I buy every 3rd or 4th version. This current one is pretty fun for a no fucks given multiplayer shooty shoot game.

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