The arrival of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has been cited by Activision as the primary reason for diminished sales of the latest entry in the Call of Duty franchise.
Call of Duty: Ghosts sold fewer copies at launch than the past few games, which broke records as the biggest-selling entertainment product of all time.
However, rather than pin the blame on brand fatigue, Eric Hirshberg, head of Activision Publishing, suggested that the transition to next-generation consoles is the main culprit.
“No. We’ve been pretty transparent all year that we think, because of the challenges of the console transition year, that that was likely in the short-term. I think it would be a mistake to conflate the challenges of the console transition year with any indications about the health of the franchise."
He also dismissed critics’ suggestions that annualizing the Call of Duty series could in fact harm the brand in the long term.
"Well no, obviously not – and obviously I don’t agree with the critics there," he said. "I know that Call of Duty’s a polarising franchise with some of the critics, and it’s clear to me that not all the critics like our strategy of making a game every year, but thankfully our fans do.
"It’s also clear to me that the critical response doesn’t always mirror the fans’ appreciation of a game. We actually do read the critics’ comments and take them into consideration during our creative process, but we just can’t measure ourselves by that yardstick alone.
"Our most important audience is our fans, so we try to stay laser-focused on making games that they love. If you look at the fact that [Ghosts is] the most pre-ordered game of the year, it’s the most pre-ordered next-gen game of the year, it’s already the number one most played on Xbox Live, and that we’re seeing longer average playtimes than ever before, we’re confident that we’re doing well by the criteria that matter most."
Read our review of Call of Duty: Ghosts here.