As my colleague Christopher Dring already pointed out, the biggest threat to this year's Call of Duty may be last year's iteration. Franchise sales are down year-over-year in both the US and UK by a significant margin, but it's worth noting that the game is still massive. Activision Blizzard sent out a press release to stress just that - Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, year-to-date, has been the top selling game at retail in the US, based on physical unit revenues.
"Call of Duty is retail's #1 grossing console franchise in the U.S. for the 8th consecutive year and the boldly innovative Infinite Warfare is the #1 grossing console game of the year at retail in the U.S.," said Eric Hirshberg, Activision's CEO. "In addition to our annual blockbuster release, Call of Duty is about engaging fans year around. Black Ops 3 has had amazing engagement all year and now with the classic, boots on the ground gameplay of Modern Warfare Remastered, and the thrilling new experiences of Infinite Warfare, we have a great experience for every Call of Duty fan this holiday."
As Hirshberg alludes to above, Call of Duty - like many other AAA blockbusters - has become more and more service oriented. With online multiplayer, map packs, season passes and other year-round content updates, Call of Duty is a completely year-round service that brings in a very healthy digital revenue stream. Yes, physical sales of the game are down, but if it's still at or near the top of the charts every year, there's no reason for Activision Blizzard to step away from the annual release pattern just yet.