Call of Duty is back, and all it took to get back on top was a little world war. Activision’s perennially popular military shooter franchise debuted a new entry last month with Call of Duty: WWII, and it is already the best-selling game of 2017 as of November 30, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. This Call of Duty is selling so well, that it has also outsold any other game from the last 12 months. This means that WWII eclipsed Destiny 2, and the cumulative sales of any other release since December 2016, in less than a month.
“According to NPD, based on revenues Call of Duty: WWII is the No. 1 top-selling console video game in North America this year, making Call of Duty the No. 1 top selling console video game franchise in North America for the 9th year in a row,” Activision publishing chief executive Eric Hirshberg said. “As proud as we are of Call of Duty: WWII, we’re equally proud that our talented teams have found ways to keep Call of Duty fresh, relevant and on top of the charts for nearly a decade—an amazing feat. Thanks to the greatest fans in the world for their passion and engagement with this awesome franchise.”
Fans were obviously ready and waiting for WWII, and those consumers showed up with their wallets open when it hit PC and consoles November 3. That would suggest that the decision to return to a more grounded setting in the past — after a series of increasingly sci-fi entries — was the right choice.
“Call of Duty: WWII generated more launch month consumer spending than any Call of Duty debut since the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in November 2012,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.
Call of Duty has finished as the top-selling game at U.S. retailers every year since 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
“Call of Duty is the top-ranking revenue generating franchise in the tracked history [of the NPD report],” said Piscatella.
But the series started declining at the beginning of the PS4/Xbox One generation. In 2013, Call of Duty: Ghosts was a critical disappointment, and the games have seen fewer sales ever since. That culminated last year with Infinite Warfare, which was still a huge success, but it was also a low point for the series.
Call of Duty: WWII has seemingly turned that all around, and it looks like it is on a trajectory to finish as one of the best-selling games of this generation.