Call of Duty: Vanguard has released to a mixture of excitement and apathy depending on where you stand. Regardless of what some of the more vocal fans think, it has once again topped the sales charts, at least in the UK. The UK is the first region to release figures for last week’s game sales so it’s the first indication we have of how the game is doing. In the UK, FIFA 22 has been dominating the charts since it launched at the beginning of October. None of the games that have been released since FIFA 22 have been able to knock it off the top spot. Call of Duty: Vanguard was able to do it with less than a full week of sales.
Although Call of Duty: Vanguard is the bestselling game in the UK, its sales are down 23% compared to Black Ops Cold War from last year. It’s important to note that the UK sales charts only count physical game sales. Physical game sales have been declining all over the world in recent years and the UK is no exception. Last year, Black Ops Cold War had a monster 64% drop in physical sales compared to 2019’s Modern Warfare. It partly made that up with digital sales which rose 39%.
We probably won’t know for a little while how Vanguard is doing digitally but one thing is certain. Physical sales of games are seeing a monumental drop-off. In the UK, it was typical for retailers to battle over the price of Call of Duty each year. The physical sales were so huge that getting Call of Duty players into stores with a steep day one discount on the game was worth it for retailers. In a sign of the times, retailers haven’t bothered to discount the game at all this year. It’s a sign that, like with music and movies, video games are moving into an increasingly digital future.