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Vanguard had COD's worst launch sales in 14 years in the UK

Call of Duty: Vanguard's launch has been branded the worst-performing launch in fourteen years despite titles peaking the games charts and outcompeting other AAA titles.
Vanguard had COD's worst launch sales in 14 years in the UK
Call of Duty: Vanguard launched on 5th November, and despite high hopes and substantial anticipation, fans of the franchise met it with a somewhat underwhelming response.

Historically, COD titles peaked the game charts, outcompeting many other highly acclaimed AAA titles. However, the same could not be said for COD Vanguard, which recently broke trends.

COD Vanguard's launch was the worst in 14 years

According to early reports by the GSD, COD Vanguard launch sales in the UK fell by 40% compared to last year's game. Physical retail sales fell by 26%, while digital sales fell by 44%. Together, these figures point to COD Vanguard being the lowest-performing launch in 14 years.

cod vanguard lowest performing launch uk in fourteen years
COD Vanguard was branded the "lowest-performing launch in 14 years." (Picture: Activision)

Critics speculate that the decline in year-on-year sales may spell fatigue within the COD franchise. This is clearly demonstrated by the remarkably lower or "underwhelming" Metacritic user and critic review scores compared to prior COD releases.

For example, COD Vanguard for PlayStation 5 had a user-rated score of 3.9 (n=941) versus COD Black Ops Cold War, which had a user-rated score of 4.2 (n=525).

COD Vanguard attracts underwhelming and mediocre review scores from users and critics
COD Vanguard attracts underwhelming and mediocre review scores from users and critics. (Picture: Metacritic)

Otherwise, COD Vanguard maintains its position as one of the biggest game launches of the year, despite contending with DICE's Battlefield 2042 or 343 Indsutries' Halo Infinite.

However, it could also be argued that having Battlefield 2042 as the reference comparator would perhaps not set the bar very high.

Some critics believe that Activision is trying their best to boost sales, marked by the company offering a free multiplayer weekend for COD Vanguard late last month.

cod vanguard broke trends worst launch in 14 years in uk
Activision offered a free COD Vanguard multiplayer weekend pass late in November. (Picture: Activision)

Accordingly, critics suggest that this spells weakness within the company since free multiplayer weekends are typically reserved for later in the franchise. Indeed, given the ongoing legal battles currently embroiling the company, this may come as no surprise.

We've extensively covered Activision Blizzard's legal headache, ranging from its toxic "fratboy workplace" culture lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to cries for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign.

Otherwise, if you're interested in a more detailed analysis regarding the decline in COD Vanguard launch sales, we encourage you to check out the YouTube video by YongYea embedded below.


Check out our dedicated Call of Duty section for more featured guides, best loadouts, weapon tier lists and much more.

Featured image courtesy of Activision.