The Call of Duty franchise has sat at the top of video game sales nearly every year since 2009 and Advanced Warfare 2 looks to continue that streak this November. However, a preorder analysis performed by Cowen Research indicates that Bungie's Destiny is poised to knock the annual military shooter off its perch. Activision will be the big winner though no matter who ends up on top.
According to preorder analysis performed by Cowen Research (via Venturebeat), Destiny could sell 10 million to 15 million copies through the end of 2014. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II both had sales within that range through the end of their launch years but last year's Call of Duty: Ghosts was unable to reach the same number.
Activision blamed the dip in sales for Ghosts on the transition from the PS3 and Xbox 360 to the PS4 and Xbox One. Meanwhile, gamers blamed the dip on becoming tired of the annual Call of Duty releases and a lackluster overall game. While it sold more than 10 million copies overall, it couldn't really contend with the pent up demand for Grand Theft Auto V, which sold approximately 26 million copies in 2013.
The buzz for Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is more positive than Ghosts, however, which was heavily mocked for the use of a dog and somewhat embarrassing presentations about advanced fish artificial intelligence. The inclusion of futuristic exo-skeletons, actor Kevin Space,y and improved graphics appears to have helped turn things around in the eyes of gamers.
That brings us back to the Destiny pre-orders. Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz says that Bungie's fantasy sci-fi shooter has the highest Ordometer score of any game over the last four years. Cowen's Ordometer tracks video game preorders on a weekly basis and correlates the result to sales after launch based on Amazon bestseller data and NPD sales reports.
The one thing that is left out of the Cowen's analysis and Venturebeat's report though is the effect of the upcoming Destiny beta. The only way to get into the beta is by pre-ordering the game from participating retailers. What's more, gamers with multiple systems can double, triple, and even quadruple dip their pre-orders at no extra cost.
How much that factors into the pre-order sales numbers remains to be seen. Gamer reaction to the beta will be crucial to the final sales numbers though.
Whether Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Destiny comes out on top, Activision will be the winner. The publisher has been dependent on the Call of Duty, Skylanders, and whatever Blizzard produces (World of WarCraft, Diablo III, Hearthstone, etc) as its three pillars of revenue. Activision will have set itself up for a fantastic year if Destiny is able to sell more than 10 million by the end of 2014.
[Image edited together from Bungie and Sledgehammer Games]