Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter says he thinks Activision's next Call of Duty game could surpass Black Ops' 20 million in sales, despite a competitive threat from EA's Battlefield 3.
In a new research note, Pachter says the new Modern Warfare 3 has the potential to surpass Black Ops' "mind-boggling" sales numbers, "due primarily to the network effect created by the game's remarkable 17 million weekly active unique online players."
Activision's exceedingly popular first-person shooter series will face tough competition from EA's Battlefield 3, which Pachter says is likely to surpass the 6.5 million sales for the last Battlefield game.
A strong review average for Battlefield, combined with negative fan reaction to the Call of Duty Elite program, could help the game peel off some Call of Duty players and impact Activision stock, Pachter said.
For the broader industry, Pachter predicted overall spending and console hardware sales to be down this summer when compared to 2010, thanks to a weaker slate of title launches and a slow start for Nintendo's 3DS.
Continuing declines in PS3 and Xbox 360 sales may spur price cuts for those systems later in 2011, Pachter predicts, which could help turn industry spending around alongside many high-profile releases for the fall and holiday periods.
Pachter said he expects The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS, Duke Nukem Forever, Infamous 2 and L.A. Noire to be among the top sellers in NPD's report on new U.S. retail game sales for June, which will be released this Thursday.