Call of Duty: Vanguard was released earlier this month to a rather muted reception. Reviews have been middling and excitement online seems to be lower than ever. UK sales data is now giving us a glimpse at how the game is actually doing, reviews, and perceived “hype” aside. The results are in and it’s not great news for Activision. We already saw that Call of Duty: Vanguard’s physical sales were down 23% compared to last year in the UK. Now, we have digital sales data too and the game hasn’t been saved by digital-like many predicted it would be. Digital sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard are down 44%. Combined, that means Call of Duty sales are down 40% compared to last year in the UK.
The startling year-on-year drop in sales for the Call of Duty franchise in the UK puts Vanguard as the worst Call of Duty launch since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. Call of Duty 4 is the game that sent the franchise into the stratosphere so the launch sales for that game were also much lower than subsequent games. That’s very troubling for Activision. The drop in sales is even worse when compared to other games in the franchise. The first Black Ops game was released in 2010 and that holds the record for the biggest Call of Duty launch. Vanguard has sold 200% fewer copies than Black Ops did just over a decade ago.
There are many different possibilities for why Vanguard has sold so poorly in the UK. The console transition, the popularity of Warzone, and the mediocre reviews could all be to blame. We’ll have to see how the game has fared in other countries before writing it off but the UK is famously one of the Call of Duty franchise’s biggest markets so it’s a worrying trend for the series.