Activision have noticed a "downturn" in pre-orders - and Call of Duty is "not immune"

Metal men want you to pre-order. Why do you not pre-order?

Games publishers would just love it if we’d pre-order some of their games. They’ve made that abundantly clear in the last few years, with a trend toward rewarding people who buy a game before they know it’s any good.

But it’s not really working. Activision told investors they’ve seen an industry-wide decline in pre-order figures.

Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg said the company had “reset expectations” for pre-orders after observing a “secular downturn”.

“We think that’s happening due to a number of factors,” he said. “Things like increased digital consumption, titles being widely available on day 1 and the decline overall for demand on previous-gen consoles.” 

Call of Duty is “not immune to that” - but the results of an internal consumer study have led the publisher to be confident about the prospects of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

“We still expect the Call of Duty to lead the industry in preorders once again this year,” said Hirshberg.

“We’re seeing purchase intent for Advanced Warfare to be significantly above that which we saw in Call of Duty: Ghosts, and actually in line with our past top-performing titles.”

Publishers like Activision have previously used pre-order sales as a key metric to work out how popular a game is going to be, and consequently persuade retailers to sell it. From here on out, they’ll have to rely on omens like extreme weather change or unusual animal behaviour.

What was the last game you pre-ordered? Or do you Kickstart these days instead?

Try these free to play games

These are affiliate links - clicking them and playing the games directly supports PCGamesN

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
Mctittles avatarDog Pants avatarHtorne avatarbrj3 avatarjon_hill987 avatarBraveToaster avatar
Dog Pants Avatar
2 Years ago

I'd like to think this is because consumers are becoming wise to pre-orders, but the cynic in me says it's going to be something less direct, like Steam Sales encouraging people to wait.

I try not to pre-order. I'm so rarely in a rush to play anything these days, especially with so many good games I've not got round to playing yet. XCOM was possibly the last game I pre-ordered, and that was because I played it in advance.

I do Kickstart, but usually when a game is struggling and I want it so succeed, or to support a genre I want to expand. I also Early Access, but only when I think the game is in a state to be worth my time playing.

Mctittles Avatar
2 Years ago

Yea I was just thinking maybe they should switch to putting COD on kickstarter if they want people to buy before it's proven.

Last game I pre-ordered...hmmm. I don't think I've pre-ordered anything since Mario/Pilotwings and the Nintendo 64. This was just because there was a chance I couldn't get it at all, really the only reason I can convince myself to pre-order.

I do have a couple early access games though like Kerbal Space Program and Factorio. Seems nearly inevitable nowadays.

I can't wait to order my early access Oculus and maybe someone will release an early access PC so I can play my unfinished games on some unfinished hardware in this brave new world :).

Htorne Avatar
2 Years ago

Perhaps we will never see the Pre-purchase a Pre-order option, what a shame, I was looking forward to that. /irony off

brj3 Avatar
2 Years ago

The last one I went through with was GT5. Games come out too broken now to take that risk though.

I think another factor is that the return policies for used games are much more forgiving than for new stuff and you get a little bit off to start with. There are also tons of used copies even on day 1 for these big titles. It's a much safer choice in a market where you are selling $60 items that may or may not work.

jon_hill987 Avatar
2 Years ago

Why pre-order a buggy mess when you can buy the GotY edition 8 months later for half the price with all the bugs ironed out and the DLC included?

BraveToaster Avatar
2 Years ago

"with all the bugs ironed"

You had me up until here. They put that effort into making DLC, not fixing the game

jon_hill987 Avatar
2 Years ago

Well yes, that is my point, i'm not buying it before or at release for full price if it will be broken. I wait for the sale of the GotY edition when they have bothered to fix it. I have not bought Arkham Origins at all even though I loved the others after the developer came out and said that they were not going to fix anymore bugs but were going to release some DLC.