UK Sales top 5 analysis: Call of Duty soldiers into a snowy December

Another week, another No. 1 spot for Call of Duty. And how far the franchise has come from last year’s effort. It received a huge sales boost around Black Friday, by appearing in many of the most-attractive PS4 bundles, and has held its ground well ever since – with impressive week-on-week dips of around 40 per cent over the last two weeks.

All that now puts it more than 50% up, in total physical sales, on where its predecessor stood at this point last year. An impressive return to form, and good news for all. Platform split continues to favour Xbox One more than most titles with a 45 per cent share, though the PS4’s 55 per cent still leads.

It’s all the more impressive when you consider the furore over loot boxes, which hasn’t seemed to have impacted this game, plus the server failures at launch which have only recently been patched – adding in social spaces. We’d hate to be in the next Call of Duty developer’s shoes if 2018’s title doesn’t also feature a strong historical context.

The second and third spots are held by EA but with very different stories. FIFA 18 is doing very well at No.2, it’s a little down on previous years, but that’s nothing that the shift to digital can’t account for, retailers should be pleased with it, while EA must be very happy. At No.3, Battlefront II is still labouring, having racked up around the half the sales of its predecessor. We’re not convinced that the loot boxes are entirely to blame, either. The anger online is significant, but a sales dip this big is more likely attributable to mainstream consumer apathy than angry forumites.

Super Mario Odyssey at No.4 has now racked up a healthy chunk of sales, and has been selling very strongly since Black Friday as part of hardware bundles, with minimal sales falls week-on-week. The Mario bundle contains a digital code, rather than a cartridge, so that should reduce the number of units coming back for trade-in. Good news for Nintendo’s numbers, but maybe not for retailers.

Only one new release makes the Top 40 in a slow week for fresh blood – this time it’s Gearbox Publishing’s ‘Hello Neighbor’ debuting in at No37.

As for next week there’s only one game in town – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds come to Xbox in its Game Preview Edition format. That means there’s no disc in the box, just a code. That may well migrate most sales to digital, but if it works out for publisher Microsoft, then it’s an approach we could see a lot more of in future.

  1. Call of Duty: WWI (Activision)
  2. FIFA 18 (EA)
  3. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (EA)
  4. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo)
  5. Assassin’s Creed Origins (Ubisoft)
  6. Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar)
  7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo)
  8. WWE 2K18 (2K/Take-Two)
  9. The Sims 4 (EA)
  10. LEGO marvel Super Heroes 2 (Warner Bros)

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