Activision's Call of Duty franchise "vulnerable" in shooter genre in first year of new console cycle, says analyst.
"We are very concerned that the first full year of a new console cycle is the most likely time for consumers to switch gaming brands, and with several new choices available, we think CoD is particularly vulnerable"
Bungie's forthcoming sci-fi shooter Destiny could sell 10 million units during its lifetime, according to optimistic analysts at Cowen & Company.
Alongside new Blizzard title Hearthstone, the titles will help publisher Activision make up for declines in the Call of Duty series, which is starting to see serious signs of fatigue at retail.
"Unit sales of Activision's market-leading shooter were down 26 percent year-on-year in Q4:13," wrote the company in an investors note. "The game was poorly reviewed, which we believe was a culprit in the disappointing performance (which was almost certainly below management's expectations)."
"Heading into 2014, the franchise is likely to face competition from four to six other shooter genre titles, including heavyweight next-gen IPs Titanfall (EA) and the company's own Destiny.
"We are very concerned that the first full year of a new console cycle is the most likely time for consumers to switch gaming 'brands', and with several new choices available, we think CoD is particularly vulnerable. We are reducing our FY14 title estimate to 16 million units lifetime, down from peak levels of ~25 million units in 2010-12."
Activision will announce its financial results tomorrow (Thursday) and is expected to just squeak past expectations from the market. Cowen & Company are looking towards 2014 new console cycle and the free-to-play mobile business for uplifts in the publishers performance.
"We believe Activision's collaboration with Bungie, Destiny, is probably the most anticipated title of the year among the gaming community.
"We expect the game to sell very well, and are modeling 10 million units in lifetime sales, with potentially significant upside. However, in some ways we are even more enthusiastic about Blizzard's free-to-play card game Hearthstone, for four reasons: expectations are relatively low; it is based on the wildly successful Warcraft IP; it will be available on mobile devices later this year; and finally, we have played it and think it is uniquely great."