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Activision announced its outlook for 2015 today, and the guidance is really soft compared to the strong 2014 it just reported. But the company is likely selling itself short.

The headline news is that Call of Duty was the No. 1 selling game in North America in 2014 while Destiny was No. 3 in North America and Europe, but those results are easy to ignore when Activision has so quickly announced hard sales numbers for massive hits like Call of Duty in the past. Some analysts believe that Call of Duty is on a permanent downward trajectory and that Destiny failed to live up to expectations. But Activision is into both franchises for the long term — and both Advanced Warfare and Destiny are showing positive signs that they will continue to find success.

Call of Duty

Activision’s latest entry in its decade-old shooter franchise did manage to surpass $1 billion in shipped product to retailers. Now, that doesn’t mean it sold $1 billion to consumers, but it’s an indicator that demand for the series is still high.

More revealing is that the first map pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is doing well. Activision says that sales for Havoc, which debuted on Xbox One and Xbox 360 last week, are up in the double-digit percentages year over year compared to the first map pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts. That includes both the standalone map pack as well as season passes.


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A jump in sales for the map pack is a sign that the core Call of Duty fan is happy with Advanced Warfare. Many felt burned by Ghosts, and that led to lower sales for the add-on content — and it even could have hurt Advanced Warfare’s sales. But if more people are buying Havoc, it shows that demand for more Call of Duty is still at a high level.


We already know that Destiny managed to “break industry records.” Activision continually repeats that it was the biggest launch for a new gaming property ever. That’s great, but that doesn’t really matter all that much when you consider Destiny is about attracting players who will stick around for the long term and spend money on add-on content. But the shooter has also managed to do that.

Activision revealed today that Destiny has over 16 million registered players — although that could include people with multiple accounts. But for those who are active, the publisher said that they spend an average of three hours every day playing Destiny.

On top of that, Destiny manged to do something that few console games do: it increased its active player numbers from November to December despite launching in September. It was even the No. 1 most played game in North America on PlayStation 4 in December. That was thanks to the release of The Dark Below expansion, but Activision should take this as proof that the model Bungie has built for its shooter works. Players will return for more content even if it takes a few months for the add-ons to come out.

In 2015

We’ll see how these trends play out during this year. Destiny will get its new House of Wolves expansion at some point in the second quarter, and Activision announced that it has even more content for it in the works for later this year.

Call of Duty will get the next entry in its franchise from Black Ops II developer Treyarch. That is now the top team in the Call of Duty triumvirate that includes Sledgehammer (Advanced Warfare) and Infinity Ward (Ghosts). If the franchise is going to put an end to its sales slide, Treyarch — following a strong entry from Sledgehammer — has the best chance to accomplish this feat.

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