Sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
are on a trend to be down 15 percent from last year's launch of Modern Warfare 3
, financial analyst Arvind Bhatia of Sterne Agee posits. Modern Warfare 3
sales were down 5 percent from the previous year's Black Ops
, and if this scenario plays out again Bhatia calls it "a cause for concern" for Activision-Blizzard.
Call of Duty as a franchise is responsible for up to 45 percent of Activision's earnings before interest and taxes, Bhatia says, justifying the concern clause. Average reviews of Black Ops 2
were lower than Modern Warfare
3's, and Black Ops 2
launched a week after Halo 4
but a week before Black Friday, meaning some customers may have waited to buy it, Bhatia says.
Sterne Agee downgraded Activision's rating from "buy" to "neutral" and reduced 2013 estimates from $4.74 billion to $4.3 billion.
All this is in spite of the fact that Black Ops 2
pulled in $500 million
at retail on its first day, breaking records and surpassing Modern Warfare 3
's $400 million, and is the UK's fourth largest launch ever