While Call of Duty: Ghosts is taking a hit from critics, analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Company told GamesIndustry International that the franchise has become embedded and can withstand weakening critic scores.
"We think CoD has become such an embedded franchise that it is somewhat review-proof," said Creutz. "We think of CoD as being like EA's Madden NFL, which continues to sell similar unit numbers year in and year out, regardless of reviews; Madden's Metacritic has ranged as low as 78 in recent years.
"Given that CoD changes only incrementally from year to year, we think reviewers have become increasingly less likely to give very high review scores due to a certain degree of ennui with the franchise."
He then mentioned that Battlefield 4 is also selling well despite its current Metacritic score and added that the bigger threat to the Call of Duty franchise will come next year.
"Our concern lies more with next year, when Call of Duty will face competition from several new next-gen shooters, including EA's Titanfall and Activision's own Destiny," Creutz said.
"To the degree that Call of Duty may become a bit of a 'been there done that' experience for gamers, we think it is vulnerable to losing share as new product enters the market; even if a lot of that share goes to Destiny, as a third party title it will carry a lower margin for ATVI, and we think bullish 2014 EPS estimates assume Destiny will be more incremental than cannibalistic."