Cowen & Company: Call of Duty Is Vulnerable This Year

Analyst firm Cowen & Company have weighed in on Activision’s future ahead of its financial results announcement tomorrow. While the company expects great things from Destiny, it sees the Call of Duty franchise as one that is very vulnerable, and heading into a brand new console generation full of strong competition.

“Unit sales of Activision’s market-leading shooter were down 26 percent year-on-year in Q4:13,” the company wrote 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.”

The company claims Activision’s saving grace to be Destiny, Bungie’s newest IP.  Cowen & Company project sales as high as 10 million. They also touched on free-to-play title Hearthstone, suggesting it too would be a positive revenue source.

We’ll know more once Activision releases their financial results and update accordingly.