The latest release in the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare 3, has seen a noticeable decline in its UK boxed sales compared to its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2.
According to data from GFK, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz, there was a 25% drop in sales for the newest installment during its launch phase.
In terms of platform distribution, the PlayStation version accounted for a significant 80% of these boxed sales, while Xbox versions made up the remaining 20%. This disparity highlights the varying preferences among gamers and the competitive dynamics between gaming platforms.
A Sequel with Challenges
Modern Warfare 3 represents a new approach by Activision Blizzard, marking the first time the company has released a direct sequel to a Call of Duty sub-brand in consecutive years. However, this strategy has not been without its controversies and challenges.
Before the game’s announcement, there were reports suggesting that Modern Warfare 3 was initially conceptualized as a premium expansion to the previous year’s game before evolving into a standalone product.
A Bloomberg report indicated that the game’s development cycle was compressed into just 16 months, about half the typical duration for a standard Call of Duty release.
Studio’s Response to Development Crunch
Statement from Aaron Halon, studio head, SHG.
“We’re incredibly proud of Modern Warfare III – both the full game experience at launch and the upcoming year of content we have planned for the community. On behalf of the extremely talented team across Sledgehammer Games and our…
— Sledgehammer Games (@SHGames) November 9, 2023
This accelerated development schedule reportedly led to long working hours and significant pressure on the employees at Sledgehammer Games. There was a sense of frustration among the staff, who were tasked with quickly following up on Infinity Ward’s 2022 game rather than working on a new, independent title.
Despite these challenges, Aaron Halon, the head of Sledgehammer Games, publicly expressed pride in the team’s work, emphasizing the years of effort that went into the game.
Despite the sales dip and development challenges, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 managed to launch at the top of the UK boxed all-format games chart. It outperformed other new entries like Football Manager 2024, which debuted in fourth place. The chart also featured EA Sports FC 24, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and Spider-Man 2 among the top five games.