Activision observes 'industry-wide' decline in pre-orders

Hirshberg hopes analysts can "reset expectations"; Publisher flaunts Destiny and CoD pre-orders

The western games publishing sector is facing a "secular downturn" in pre-order sales, according to a key Activision executive.

Eric Hirshberg, the chief executive of Activision Publishing, told investors on Tuesday that he believes there are several reasons for the perceived drop in pre-order numbers.

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg says Destiny pre-orders are record-breaking

"It's important to just sort of reset expectations as it relates to pre-orders overall," Hirshberg said during a conference call.

"You guys [investors and analysts] can see the same thing we see industry-wide, that there's been sort of a secular downturn as it relates to pre-orders.

"We think that's happening due to a number of factors, things like increased digital consumption, particularly on the next-gen consoles, titles being widely available on day one and the decline overall for demand on previous-gen consoles."

Despite this warning, Hirshberg also noted that pre-orders for Destiny are "on track to be the largest ever for new IP in the industry".

But he said that pre-order figures are just one of several metrics that Activision uses to measure the potential of its franchises.

"We also look at our quantitative studies surrounding things like purchase intent and awareness and we're seeing strength in those areas as well."

He claimed that Destiny's awareness, by Activision's measurements, is at an "all-time high and climbing" when compared to other new IP.

"Purchase intent is similarly at an all-time high and rising when compared to any other new IP, and we had 4.6 million players in the beta with almost universally positive sentiment," he added.

"Overall, we're really pleased with the performance of the Destiny beta. We're pleased with the broad range of metrics that we look at to gauge momentum and our chances for success."

With regards to Call of Duty, the corporation's flagship franchise during the previous generation, Hirshberg suggested there was no meaningful downturn in interest from its traditional fans.

"We expect Call of Duty to be the most pre-ordered game of the year and we're currently seeing strong purchase intent, in line with our past top-performing titles," he said.