With so many high-profile defections from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
studio Infinity Ward -- not to mention two separate lawsuits brought against publisher Activision by co-founders and former employees -- the studio's future may be in question, says one analyst.
"Continued defections from their Infinity Ward studio have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
franchise," says Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey of Activision's current prospects.
According to Hickey, amid lawsuits
and widespread employee defections
, the outlook's not good: "We expect Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed after their next map pack release, with development work on Modern Warfare 3
spread between two studios not historically tied to the franchise," he says.
Infinity Ward has already launched one of two promised map packs for Modern Warfare 2
-- the Stimulus Pack
DLC sold 1 million units on Xbox Live on its first day, and 2.5 million units in its first week.
Modern Warfare 3
, Hickey says, could hit in Activision's fiscal fourth quarter of 2011 and earn $738 million in sales, or about 15 percent of Activision's non-GAAP annual sales performance, Hickey estimated.