A new research note from Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz predicts Activision's next Call of Duty
title will sell 25 million copies worldwide in its first year, well ahead of 10 million predicted sales for EA's Battlefield 3
The prediction anticipates robust growth for the Battlefield
series over 2010's Battlefield: Bad Company 2
, which has sold roughly 7 million units worldwide to date, 3 million of which came from the U.S.
But the increased sales won't be enough to catch the massively popular Call of Duty
series, Creutz says. Last year's Black Ops sold over 13.7 million units through February
in the U.S. alone, becoming the best selling title ever recorded by NPD tracking.
' success was itself unforeseen by Creutz, who predicted last May
that the title would underperform 2009's Modern Warfare 2
by selling only 10.7 million units in its first year.
Creutz's note also predicts 1.5 million purchases for BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic
in the year after its launch, which the analyst predicts will happen in October. Roughly 60 percent of those purchasers, or 900,000 users, will stay on as long term subscribers, Creutz estimates, tracking closely with a 1 million subscriber estimate from Janco analyst Mike Hickey
EA has previously said The Old Republic
would be "very profitable" with a subscriber base of 1 million players, a subscription level Creutz estimates would bring in $162 million in annual revenue and $26 million in annual profits for the company.
While Creutz predicts NFL players and owners will come to an agreement before the scheduled start of the pro football season, he warns that a work stoppage could hurt sales of this year's Madden NFL
title to the tune of 30 to 40 percent, noting that the 2004-05 NHL strike led to a 33 percent decline in EA's associated game sales.
The NFL reportedly lowered the licensing fee it charges EA
due to the risk of such a work stoppage.