This is not isolated news, either. The Call of Duty series has posted slumping sales in each of the past three years. While Activision's military shooters manage to sell well compared to other games the franchise is unable to reach the heights it once saw. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare currently tops the NPD sales chart, but as Games Industry notes, this entry attracted less than half the first month sales of 2011's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Earlier this year, analysts at Cowen And Company pointed out that alongside declining sales, the Call of Duty games are also attracting declining pre-orders, with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare drawing nearly 40 percent fewer retail pre-purchases than its predecessor.
Activision claims that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the highest selling digital launch in console history but Olson does not believe that digital sales (which these analysts are not privy to) can entirely soften the blow of the retail sales slide. "NPD data does not include digital copies or international sales, which, if included, would lessen the year-over-year decline, but we believe this data suggests potential for Q4 revenue upside is now very low," Olson stated.