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Call of Duty holds No.1 as Watch Dogs 2 launch sales fall 80% over the original

Early Black Friday deal sends WWE back into the Top Five

Ubisoft's Watch Dogs 2 is the latest high profile casualty of a struggling few weeks for UK physical games retail.

Sales of the critically well-received open world action game are 80 percent down compared to the original (boxed sales only, digital is not included), and the game failed to knock Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare from its No.1 spot.

Watch Dogs 2 was always going to struggle to match the sales of its 2013 predecessor. The first game was one of the most anticipated launches of all time and was the fastest-selling new IP in history when it arrived. The final product disappointed some fans, and so it was inevitable there would be some caution around its sequel. Nevertheless, the scale of the drop will come as a disappointment to Ubisoft and to retail. Ubisoft did warn its investors that Watch Dogs 2 sales may be weaker than expected, pointing to a decline in pre-orders.

An Ubisoft spokesperson had this to say on the sequel's performance:

“We're incredibly happy with critics' and players' very positive reception of Watch Dogs 2, which should bolster support for the long-term success of the game. It is true that first-day and first-week sales for a number of big games, including Watch Dogs 2 and titles from our competitors, are comparatively lower than previous versions in previous years.

"However, we expect both week-two and week-three sales to be above traditional sales patterns. There is a trend toward games, especially high-quality games, having stronger and longer “tails” as favorable reviews and word of mouth spread. Watch Dogs 2 is already considered a tremendous addition to the open-world action adventure series and we're confident that millions of players are going to love it.”

Activision's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare retains its top spot, despite a 46 percent dip in sales. The game is slowly closing in on Battlefield 1 to become the UK's No.1 shooter for 2016, although it has taken far longer than usual.

The expectation that Dishonored 2's sales would rebound in its second week now the reviews are live has not materialised, with the game's second week sales down 52 percent - that's about the same drop-off as the original Dishonored suffered during its second week.

It is possible that the imminent arrival of Black Friday may be having a depressed impact on sales of games at UK retail.

In fact, Black Friday has started early for certain games, and it is already having a positive effect. WWE 2K17 is now at No.5 with a 173 percent growth in sales. 2K's wrestling franchise has had a challenging year, particularly with the declines suffered in the Xbox 360 and PS3 markets (traditionally, where sales have been strong for the series), but the 40 percent discount offer at UK retailer GAME appears to have done the trick.

Also in better news, Forza Horizon 3 continues to be a bit of a sleeper hit at UK retail. The game remains at No.6 but actually enjoyed an almost 50 percent uptick in sales week-on-week. Finally, Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection, a remastered compilation of previous games in Ubisoft's series, makes it debut at No.10.

Next week's sales figures will factor in the majority of Black Friday's numbers, and it will be fascinating to see the impact of this still relatively new sales period.

All data courtesy of UKIE/GfK

Last Week This Week Title
1 1 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
New Entry 2 Watch Dogs 2
2 3 FIFA 17
2 4 Battlefield 1
Re-Entry 5 WWE 2K17
6 6 Forza Horizon 3
4 7 Dishonored 2
5 8 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Re-Entry 9 Grand Theft Auto V
New Entry 10 Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year games business veteran. He spent nine years at UK business weekly MCV, including five years as editor. He joined GI in 2016 and oversees editorial, sales and events worldwide. He is the architect behind Best Places To Work Awards and GI Live. And is a tiny bit obsessed with market data. He also writes for Doctor Who Magazine. Because Doctor Who is awesome.

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