"Thin Tail" Call of Duty Drags Down Sales

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

"Thin Tail" Call of Duty Drags Down Sales

image

The month of March is expected to be a bad one for the videogame industry and it's all the fault of the Call of Duty franchise.

Okay, so it's probably not "all" CoD's fault, but the inability of Modern Warfare 3, the most recent addition to the series, to maintain long-term sales is having a big impact on the industry as a whole. That's the opinion of PiperJaffray analyst Michael Olson, who predicts that Modern Warfare 3 isn't going to have the same "long tail" as its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops. Black Ops was the fifth-best-selling title in March 2011 but Modern Warfare 3 is expected to be only the eighth-best-seller, with less than half the sales for the same month in 2012.

The real bad news for the industry, if Olson is correct, is that it's not an isolated Call of Duty phenomenon. "We believe big name titles are no longer able to sustain 'fat tails'," he said. "This 'thinning tail' phenomenon is driven by, one, casual gamers leaving the market, two, a steeper pre-sale and up-front curve, and three, cannibalization from the pre-owned market."

But for right now, Modern Warfare's failure to pull its weight is a big reason why March is expected to be an ugly month for videogame sales. Olson predicts the NPD Group will report a year-over-year decline in software revenues of 26 percent, a nasty drop that's pretty much in line with similar predictions from analysts Michael Pachter, Doug Creutz and Arvind Bhatia, who collectively expect a slide of anywhere from 22 to 30 percent.

Source: Gamasutra

Permalink

OR, and this is just a thought, you released the exact same game 3 times with no real changes. If you want people to play MW3, cut online service of MW and MW2. Plus that elite service thing probably doesn't help. Or perhaps, since MW3 sold so well, alot of those same people bought the game when it first came out, who knows.

"Oh no! The consumers are growing brain cells!

How are we going to drain them of their money now?"

That's how I imagine the creators are reacting right now...

...I still get a kick of the "tail" analogy thing...hilarious

mattttherman3:
OR, and this is just a thought, you released the exact same game 3 times with no real changes. If you want people to play MW3, cut online service of MW and MW2. Plus that elite service thing probably doesn't help. Or perhaps, since MW3 sold so well, alot of those same people bought the game when it first came out, who knows.

It's a 22-30% drop for the whole industry on average, 50% for CoD. AT least that's how I understood it.

mattttherman3:
OR, and this is just a thought, you released the exact same game 3 times with no real changes. If you want people to play MW3, cut online service of MW and MW2. Plus that elite service thing probably doesn't help. Or perhaps, since MW3 sold so well, alot of those same people bought the game when it first came out, who knows.

Don't be silly! This is OBVIOUSLY the fault of used games sales and pirates.
also immigrants
and gay marriage

Perhaps we are seeing a shift from the AAA market to less expensive titles more willing to take risks?

Or more likely by march everyone and their dog already has MW3, and the fact that many better games have been released in the same year.

Not to revel in Schadenfreude too much, but I think this is good news, a sign that CoD as a franchise has peaked and is going into decline. If overall sales are declining, that's because a chunk of CoD players are not enthusiastic gamers and instead of trying out other games, will just sell their consoles and exit the market altogether. Good riddance.

Also, I am picturing Captain Price riding on a comet, for some reason.

Noted video game analyst Amnestic today noted that a recent drop in video games sales was likely due to the fact that nothing really awesome came out and so most people were playing things they already owned or spending their entertainment money elsewhere. Noted video game analyst Amnestic believes that pointing to the 2011 and 2012 release schedules for Q1 of both years should validate his thoughts. Noted video game analyst Amnestic would particularly draw reader's attention to Pokémon Black/White which were released in March 2011. A release which drew record sales for the series.

Noted video game analyst Amnestic also wonders why his statements don't get more press.

I have to concur with a lot of the responses so far. It says a lot for people in the gaming industry to be so out of touch with reality. Yes CoD was a big franchise, but nothing is forever, especially when they start trying to nickel and dime people to the extent they have been, and cease to innovate with their products. I can't remember hearing anything GOOD about this "Elite" service they are pushing for example, and it's surprising they aren't making any connections that it might not have been a good idea.

Used game sales are a joke, since they have been there all along, that's a general boogie man to blame for every failing. The casual market is a good point, though I think it's less an issue with people leaving as much as casual gamers that have been suckered with low end products and simplified games for premium prices are growing up and becoming serious gamers in many cases. Someone who started with a "casual" type game like a shooter an 8 year old is capable of playing, probably had fun, and wants to game more, but wants more from the products. Not to mention there are only so many times companies can slap even the casual market with vampire-like microtransactions before they start to catch on.

I mean really, over a few years there were plenty of dumb kids and casuals willing to dump $15 on a couple of multiplayer maps, and the assumption people were going to do this became an increasing part of the marketing plan. I'm kind of insulted that it seems guys in the game industry expected that to go on forever, and that this kind of thing, especially combined with things like the "Elite" service was going to go on forever, and people wouldn't eventually realize how badly they were being screwed.

Soviet Heavy:
Perhaps we are seeing a shift from the AAA market to less expensive titles more willing to take risks?

call of duty does not = entire AAA market

Amnestic:
Noted video game analyst Amnestic today noted that a recent drop in video games sales was likely due to the fact that nothing really awesome came out and so most people were playing things they already owned or spending their entertainment money elsewhere. Noted video game analyst Amnestic believes that pointing to the 2011 and 2012 release schedules for Q1 of both years should validate his thoughts. Noted video game analyst Amnestic would particularly draw reader's attention to Pokémon Black/White which were released in March 2011. A release which drew record sales for the series.

Noted video game analyst Amnestic also wonders why his statements don't get more press.

playing a game you already own?...or...or..REPLAYING somthing? the nerve of those people!

they shouldl be lining up at the shops like good little consumers

DVS BSTrD:

mattttherman3:
OR, and this is just a thought, you released the exact same game 3 times with no real changes. If you want people to play MW3, cut online service of MW and MW2. Plus that elite service thing probably doesn't help. Or perhaps, since MW3 sold so well, alot of those same people bought the game when it first came out, who knows.

Don't be silly! This is OBVIOUSLY the fault of used games sales and pirates.
also immigrants
and gay marriage

A friend of mine, who loves cod and went to midight launch of COD, traded it in within a week because of some subtle changes that he couldnt describe, so maybe there is something to it, but I really don't care, activision doesn't publish any of my favorite games, so they can fold for all I care

DVS BSTrD:

mattttherman3:
OR, and this is just a thought, you released the exact same game 3 times with no real changes. If you want people to play MW3, cut online service of MW and MW2. Plus that elite service thing probably doesn't help. Or perhaps, since MW3 sold so well, alot of those same people bought the game when it first came out, who knows.

Don't be silly! This is OBVIOUSLY the fault of used games sales and pirates.
also immigrants
and gay marriage

Don't be ridiculous...! You forgot the gay illegal immigrants who slipped in to get married! That's the worst of the bunch!

Seriously though...? I can't remember squat really about what released in March... at least anything that didn't get beetched to hell about. Heck, the most I can think of is the batch of Silent Hill games, but between the overall craptastic handling of the so-called "HD" "collection" and the mediocre Downpour... what's to remember?

Good.
Call of Duty and Modern Warface are cash-in titles, and as such deserve to sell less to discourage creation of more non-innovative sequels.

I don't believe for a second the nitwits at EA or Activision won't immediately ramp up the blame game against used game sales, though. It's the trendy industry scapegoat right now.

When/if everything becomes digital distribution, however, piracy will return as the number 1 reason why bad games don't sell as much as they'd want, and status quo will be restored.

What? I don't get it. So, for whatever reason, people aren't buying MW3 anymore (probably because whoever wants it already has it, but w/e)...and thus people won't buy any other games either? I don't see a cause and effect here. It seems that CoD is just one of many victims of people not wanting to buy video games in March...

I just realized I've only bought 3 games in the last half year: Skyrim, Reckoning and Crusader Kings II. And I've probably spend 250 hours between them.

I'm lying again. I also bought Planescape Torment and Borderlands a month ago at a sale that a certain store was running and I haven't even unwrapped them.

And now that I think about it I also backed four Kickstarter-funded games. Games I won't even play for months or years.

There are probably ten games I'd still like to buy and play that were released in October-November 2011. But Borderlands was one of those games 'I was gonna get to' in early 2010 and now in early 2012 was when I actually bought it.

I do question the analists equation of a market leader doing worse translating into the industry as a whole doing worse. I'd be interesting if they compared the size of the 'tail' of other games released in the same period.

"casual gamers leaving the market" what does that even mean? Im sorry but people band the 'casual gamer' market around like they have even the faintest clue what a 'casual gamer' is and what they play/ where. This is the same shit that is leading to another HUGE bubble in the social/mobile gaming market.

Here are the facts; MW3 is the same game as MW2 and every other Call of Duty game since Call of Duty 4. A large % of mass market games provide poor value because they are being made by risk averse, non creator driven empty suites who don't know their MMORPGs from their big, smug asses. 'AAA' massmarket games have gone down in quality, memorability and even sanity. So people are going to buy less and they are going to forgt about them quickly.

Contrast that with the 'long tail' of something like Skyrim, Portal 2 or any number of actually decent games. They don't sell billions in the 1st week but they sell and keep selling for years to come.

This is what happens when you keep making £40 - £50 10 hour shite with an online pass to actually acess the tacked-on obligatory multiplayer; Because even bad multiplayer is replay value right? day one DLC, microtansactions and retailer exclusive content are pretty much givens for a big release. I mean its not like the publisher is going to turn ALL the multipler servers of 12-18 months after launch is it? I mean its not like they made you pay £10 for the crime of daring to utilise your consumer rights and buy a cheaper game and get the sweet sweet privelage of getting all the content you paid for that is on the disk. Its not like you already gave Microsoft £30 this year for the luxary of having online actually available to you. Of course 3 months into your 12 month rental of the game there will obviously be a £15 map-pack or equipment pack that will leave you unable to play in 1/2 the online games unless your buy it.

In 2012 'AAA' Gaming as an experience is fucking horrible. I think im going to take up underwater basket weaving or something.

Maybe you CAN'T just crank out the same game thirty times.

DVS BSTrD:
Don't be silly! This is OBVIOUSLY the fault of used games sales and pirates.
also immigrants
and gay marriage

Oh, right, my bad.

Vault101:

call of duty does not = entire AAA market

No, but as this article covers more than CoD, that's kind of meaningless.

Vault101:

playing a game you already own?...or...or..REPLAYING somthing? the nerve of those people!

they shouldl be lining up at the shops like good little consumers

Oh dear, you've stumbled on their next campaign.

"Well, we've screwed over people who buy used...Let's make a replay pass so that we can get extra money if they go back to an old game instead of buying a new one."

Wait, I'm confused, why is an article talking about the expected sales during March being published halfway through April?

DVS BSTrD:
and gay marriage

Curses, they're onto us!

Zachary Amaranth:

Oh dear, you've stumbled on their next campaign.

"Well, we've screwed over people who buy used...Let's make a replay pass so that we can get extra money if they go back to an old game instead of buying a new one."

And also people who share games with friends/family! Those bastards, "sharing" things like normal human beings. Don't they know they're killing gaming by doing that?

I hate to ask this... but I need concrete definitions, which I havent heard on alot of these terms.

What makes a gamer a casual gamer?
What are thin-tails, fat-tails, and long-tails?

Examples would be nice to. Im just in the dark with those terms right now.

I'd say it's more likely that people are starting to look for innovation in their games and are turning to indie titles. The last 8 or so games I've bought were either on special for under $10 on steam, or an indie title.

Article posted April 11...about 'predicted sales' for March.

image

Am I missing something here?

MammothBlade:
Also, I am picturing Captain Price riding on a comet, for some reason.

Probably because you're receiving a vision of the future direction of the CoD series. It's a lucrative line of children's books called The Adventures of Captain Mustache and Raul the Talking Comet. It's a colorful romp that follows Mustache and Raul as they set out to find the true meaning of Festivus, all the while teaching children about good personal hygiene, Ukrainian cuisine, and proper firearm maintenance.

Irridium:

Zachary Amaranth:

Oh dear, you've stumbled on their next campaign.

"Well, we've screwed over people who buy used...Let's make a replay pass so that we can get extra money if they go back to an old game instead of buying a new one."

And also people who share games with friends/family! Those bastards, "sharing" things like normal human beings. Don't they know they're killing gaming by doing that?

The sad part, if we spread this around enough, we could probably get the publisher apologists to start outright saying that sharing is stealing. And replaying is stealing.

Damn filthy replayers. They're just as bad as pirates!

People are growing wise to their bullshit gaming schemes and are finally avoiding shit products...took us long enough.

Make good games (new IP's please) and our wallets will return.

Well concerning the UK, maybe GAME going under had some effect? Maybe... I dunno, buisness is hard.

You know, I've noticed when Blops came out, months and months went by before you could find a copy of it at the store. As soon as the store got a couple, they would fly off the shelf. Didn't matter if it was used or new (Al though I remember Used copies specifically).

But with MW3, I've seen stores with plenty of copies available. So...from my amateur point of view, it seems like Blops was more of a keeper, while MW3 is a game that you can play for a while, smile in satisfaction and can easily depart with. I mean, hey, there's a reason why there's that rumor going around about Blops 2.

I believe there's a lesson to be learned about that. But I just can't figure it out...hmm...

thethird0611:
What makes a gamer a casual gamer?
What are thin-tails, fat-tails, and long-tails?

Examples would be nice to. Im just in the dark with those terms right now.

Interesting questions. I'd say a casual gamer is someone who plays...casually. Okay, maybe I need to be more specific.
A hardcore gamer is someone who would play Skyrim and try and level up everything, read every book collect every item and so on. Or someone who's level 123653512 in MW3. And so on.
A casual gamer is someone who can still play any of those games but doesn't feel the need to collect everything or level up to the max and stuff. It doesn't mean they're not good at gaming, no, no. It just means they have better things to do?

I once was a hardcore gamer. I'd level up my character to the limit and collect everything. Then I went to college. And got a job. And now, leveling up and being the best doesn't seem as relevant as just playing whenever I have some spare time and having a good time while doing it.

An extreme example I heard was this: Let's say you're playing WoW or whatever and you're in the middle of a dungeon but you gotta leave because of whatever reason, you'd be presented with two options:

1. Stay and finish the dungeon no matter how long it takes. It could be 5 minutes, it could be hours. Whatever it is that you had to go to can wait and WILL wait. You'll figure out a way to sort that out later.. This is just more important. Congrats, you're an HXC gamer.
2. It's a really cool dungeon and you could use the exp. points and loot and stuff and your friends are counting on your...but you really gotta go. It sucks and you might be left wondering what could have happened if you stayed, but that wasn't a choice. Congrats, you're a casual gamer.

Mind you, I think those definitions are kinda dumb to begin with. But eh, such is life.

As for your second question, I believe a 'long-tail' happens when a game is just so successful and good that it overshadows other titles even long after it was released. Now, I'm no expert, but it seems this happened when Homefront and KoA: The Reckoning came out. Like I said before, Blops was pretty popular up until MW3 came out, so when Homefront came out, even though it was around 7 or 8 months after Blops, people just didn't care much about it. Yes, the fact that the game sucked didn't help either. But it sucked in comparison to Blops.
The Reckoning is a pretty good game. But it came out around 3 or 4 months after Skyrim, a much-anticipated RPG. Still, most people were still busy playing Skyrim to even glance at The Reckoning. It's getting more and more recognition with each passing day, mostly because the hype about Skyrim is settling down at last. But yeah, you get the idea.

Or, the ultimate example of bad timing/ new titles-explosion and possibly long...beaks (Hype about a game BEFORE it comes out) and why not, short tails: Rayman Origins. Great game, plenty of fun. Awfully overshadowed by AC:Rev., Skyrim, Zelda, etc. No one had the chance to even look at this title because of the Holiday madness and the release of big titles. One month later, when the Holidays were over, Rayman was still there, as untouched as the day it came out. But hey, once that was over, people started paying attention to the game.

Anywho, I think I carried on more than usual.

NOTE: I AM NO EXPERT! I can clearly see someone coming in trying to tell me I'm wrong for whatever reason. It could be; my only source of information is what I see at work everyday. SO I could be wrong or right. Just chill. No one is saying otherwise.

How ironic. People claim that CoD is holding back the industry, when really it's one of the things that's keeping it afloat.

Did they think that the release of Battlefield 3, a far better game, at roughly the same time had something to do with it? I imagine that BF3 must have taken some of the market share...

So blame Call of Duty. Great...how original. Maybe there are other factors involved? Granted MW3 isn't as good as Black Ops in the opinion of a loyal Call of Duty player like myself and people may not be buying it as much, but could there be other factors here? Just a thought.

Scrumpmonkey:
"casual gamers leaving the market" what does that even mean? Im sorry but people band the 'casual gamer' market around like they have even the faintest clue what a 'casual gamer' is and what they play/ where. This is the same shit that is leading to another HUGE bubble in the social/mobile gaming market.

Here are the facts; MW3 is the same game as MW2 and every other Call of Duty game since Call of Duty 4. A large % of mass market games provide poor value because they are being made by risk averse, non creator driven empty suites who don't know their MMORPGs from their big, smug asses. 'AAA' massmarket games have gone down in quality, memorability and even sanity. So people are going to buy less and they are going to forgt about them quickly.

Contrast that with the 'long tail' of something like Skyrim, Portal 2 or any number of actually decent games. They don't sell billions in the 1st week but they sell and keep selling for years to come.

This is what happens when you keep making £40 - £50 10 hour shite with an online pass to actually acess the tacked-on obligatory multiplayer; Because even bad multiplayer is replay value right? day one DLC, microtansactions and retailer exclusive content are pretty much givens for a big release. I mean its not like the publisher is going to turn ALL the multipler servers of 12-18 months after launch is it? I mean its not like they made you pay £10 for the crime of daring to utilise your consumer rights and buy a cheaper game and get the sweet sweet privelage of getting all the content you paid for that is on the disk. Its not like you already gave Microsoft £30 this year for the luxary of having online actually available to you. Of course 3 months into your 12 month rental of the game there will obviously be a £15 map-pack or equipment pack that will leave you unable to play in 1/2 the online games unless your buy it.

In 2012 'AAA' Gaming as an experience is fucking horrible. I think im going to take up underwater basket weaving or something.

Or you could just do what I did and pull out an earlier generation system.

Hello there, PS2, I've missed you.

You know, a price-drop after a few months could generate more tail-sales, but noooooo, Activision wouldn't want any AAA game released in the last 5 years to be even a penny under 60, now would they?

JoesshittyOs:
How ironic. People claim that CoD is holding back the industry, when really it's one of the things that's keeping it afloat.

Bloated corpses do tend to float very well.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here