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Lower Call of Duty Ghosts review scores 'won't enormously impact sales'

Analyst thinks the long-running shooter series "is somewhat review-proof"

Relatively low Call of Duty: Ghosts review scores won't significantly hit sales of the game, according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.

The newly released Infinity Ward game's Metascore currently ranges from 74-78 across all platforms, down from last year's series entry, Treyarch's Black Ops 2 (74-83), and Infinity Ward's previous game, 2011's Modern Warfare 3 (78-88).

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Review scores for Ghosts rival Battlefield 4 have generally been higher, with the game's Metascore ranging from 81 on Xbox 360 to 87 on PS4.

But in a research note sent to investors, Creutz said Call of Duty Ghosts' "mediocre" Metacritic ratings are unlikely to seriously dent its sales potential.

He suggested people place far too much emphasis on Metacritic scores. "By and large, most titles' commercial fates are decided well before the first review comes out; otherwise, we would not be able to use pre-launch data from Amazon and predict actual sales with a fair degree of accuracy."

Creutz also said most Ghosts reviews were too focused on the game's single-player experience when in fact it is Call of Duty's multiplayer offering that drives sales.

"We think CoD has become such an embedded franchise that it is somewhat review-proof," he said. "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.

"Ultimately, we don't think that sales of this year's title will be impacted enormously by these reviews. 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. To the degree that CoD 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."

In CVG's Call of Duty Ghosts review critic Nick Cowen calls Activision's latest series instalment "fun and familiar".

Other current-gen and PS4 reviews are now live across the games press and we've collated them in our Call of Duty Ghosts review round-up.

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