"We see purchase intent well above last year and we see engagement with the brand in social media channels all being markedly up," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, in a report from GamesIndustry. "I'm still optimistic."
Analyst outfits like R.W. Baird and Sterne Agee predict that the 2014 game will sell between 10 percent and 15 percent fewer copies than 2013's Ghosts, itself a financial disappointment compared to previous games in the blockbuster shooter series. They base their predictions on pre-order information taken from retailers and other metrics.
But Activision believes that digital purchases will make a difference. "Pre-orders are a good barometer for day one, but I don't think they reflect the overall demand for the product," added Hirshberg. "They don't represent what they used to, because of the move to digital and all the ways people can buy the game."
Reviews for Advanced Warfare, published today, have also been more positive than Ghosts. Metacritic's average for the Xbox One version currently stands at 85 percent, while Ghosts' highest platform score was 78 percent, for both new generation versions, and lower for others.
Hirshberg paid tribute to development team Sledgehammer, working on its first full Call of Duty title. "Our brief to them was to go further than you think we want you to go," he said. "Make us nervous in a good way. Come back with new ideas and new experiences ... and they did."