Strong sales for Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 measure gaming industry growth

The video game industry has not been immune to the onslaught of mobile gaming, but the strong sales of Microsoft’s vaunted Halo 4 game is a positive sign. Microsoft’s flagship game is set to compete with Activision Blizzard Inc’s upcoming Call of Duty game.

The arrival of smartphones and tablets had not only affected the PC industry but also the video gaming industry, where many companies see their revenues dip significantly.  The performance of both high-end games during the upcoming holiday season will be used as a barometer to determine the future demand in this sector.

The Call of Duty series from Activision is currently the reigning best-selling game but Microsoft’s Halo 4 sales will certainly take a significant toll into its sales on Xbox console. However, Call of Duty is not an exclusive as it is also available in Sony Corp’s PlayStation, PCs, and Nintendo Co Ltd’s Wii system.

Microsoft has announced that Halo 4 has so far bagged up to $220 million in sales around the world during its launch day, breaking the record of Halo: Reach released in 2010.  Microsoft expects sales to reach $300 million during the first week.

Meanwhile, Activision upped its expectation for the release of its Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, citing strong sales this holiday. It expects that Black Ops 2 will surpass the previous record set by its predecessor, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 racked up more than $400 million in sales during its release day in stores around North America. The installment hit a $1 billion mark in sales 16 days after the release.

The new Call of Duty franchise will hit stores today and will be available for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. A dedicated Wii version will be made for a new Wii console that will be launched on November 18.

Avind Bhatia, an analyst from Sterne Agee, cited the good starts on some popular titles like the 15 percent rise in sales for Halo 4 compared to its predecessor, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III that was released on October, which saw its sales numbers double over its previous installment launched last year.

Bhatia said that even a small rise in sales numbers or flat sales over last year’s offerings for Black Ops II would be a good sign for the rest of the quarter.

He said: “There’s no reason to believe the early sales won’t be strong but the question is beyond the December quarter. It boils down to the legs the game may have beyond the first few weeks or the first quarter.”

The Call of Duty series has been the biggest-selling game during the holiday season from November to December since 2008. the series has also represented about 14 percent of total software sales during the previous holiday season, said Liam Callahan, an analyst from research firm NPD Group.

Black Ops 2 will feature a Cold War backdrop as well as a futuristic setting in 2025. Gamers will also be allowed to stream gameplay directly from YouTube live.

source: reuters