According to US retailer GameStop, Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 could be the best-selling game of all time.
Although sales were down for the company in the most recent financial quarter, the retailer expects the market to pick up due to a strong release slate in the back end of the year, lead by the Infinity Ward shooter.
"Although we have seen some title slippage, we still see a strong fall line-up, led by Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Halo 3 ODST, and expect that Modern Warfare 2 could be the best-selling title of all time," said Julian Paul Raines, chief operating officer, in a conference call to investors.
Pre-orders for the game are strong, said GameStop, with consumers upgrading from the standard and Hardened editions, priced at USD 59.99 and 79.99 respectively, to the Prestige Edition, which ships with night vision goggles for USD 149.99.
"We believe that Modern Warfare 2 has a chance to be the largest title of all time and obviously we are basing that on the reservation activity that we are seeing in our stores, so we continue to see strong reservation activity," added Tony Bartel, executive vice president.
"We have very strong reservations on the Call of Duty Prestige Edition and that’s obviously a price point. There’s a lot of excitement around the goggles on that, so we have a very strong demand that we are seeing in our reservations. Once that was announced, we had a lot of reservations move from the base version to the Prestige version, which is a very good sign."
The company also gave an indication of titles it expects to boost sales in the first half of next year, including Halo Reach, Final Fantasy XIII, Gran Turismo 5, God of War III, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Galaxy II, Bioshock 2, Splinter Cell Conviction and Starcraft 2.
"Those are great titles, close to a dozen great titles that we have that will impact us favourably and impact the entire industry favourably in 2010," offered Bartel.
And following a number of high-profile delays, CEO Daniel DeMatteo added that it was unusual for retailers to have a clear indication of titles for the following year, which leads the company to believe 2010 will start with a bang.
"I never remember a time when we had as much knowledge this far in advance of titles that are going to be releasing into the following year," he told investors.
"Many of these titles have moved either because of they just weren’t complete or not ready, which I believe are probably the majority, or some of them may have moved just because of the competition in the back half of the year and maybe the economy."
He also said that hardware sales should start moving again now that Sony has announced a price cut for the PlayStation 3, and the company is assuming that competitors Microsoft and Nintendo will follow by reducing their own hardware.
"The recently announced Sony price cuts and most likely others should get the installed base growing again.
"Historically what has happened is that manufacturers follow the others with a price reduction. We assume in our forecast that some time in Q3 that that will occur, but we don’t have any data on that. We have an assumption it will," he concluded.
The GameStop share price fell by over 7 per cent – just over USD 1.77 – to close yesterday at USD 23.41