Call of Duty just had a major winning streak broken

Call of Duty just had a major winning streak broken
Image via Sledgehammer Games | Rockstar Games

Written by 

Joseph Kime


22nd Jan 2024 16:15

No matter how you feel about it and its development over the years, Call of Duty has been a gaming industry powerhouse for so very long. Since Modern Warfare launched, the franchise has been climbing when it comes to game sales and attention.

Although fans have their favourites buried in the 2000s and 2010s, it appears that the shooter series has never been stronger in terms of a playerbase. Despite complaints about Modern Warfare 3 and accusations it's the 'worst' Call of Duty ever, it still sold just as well as we knew it would.

But, even though CoD's dominion over the gaming box office has been a sure shot for an incredibly long time - even when locking horns with the industry's other leading developer - it looks as though its time as top dog has come to an end.

Disclaimer: While the creator of the Harry Potter franchise was not directly involved in the creation of Hogwarts Legacy, their comments on social media around transgender people are hurtful and dangerous given the size of their platform. 

We’d implore you to read our explainer of the controversy so far, and consider supporting trans rights charities where possible.

Hogwarts Legacy topples Call of Duty's box office dominion

A wizard on the back of a Gryphon in Hogwarts Legacy.
Click to enlarge
Image via Avalanche Software

For the last fifteen years, every list of gaming best-sellers has had either a Call of Duty or Rockstar Games title at the very peak, smiling over their domain like tyrannical rulers. 2023 was different and their streak has been torn apart by the little Wizarding World. 

According to research firm Circana (via Polygon), Call of Duty and Rockstar have missed out on the top spot for the first time in a decade and a half. This has left Hogwarts Legacy free to take the crown of sales, becoming the best-selling title of the year.

As 2023's offering, MW3 took a humble second place, followed shortly by Madden NFL 24, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Call of Duty has largely ruled supreme since 2009's MW2, although it missed out on the top spot thanks to GTA V in 2013 and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018. 

Call of Duty's hard work on the sales front doesn't end with Modern Warfare 3, as predecessor Modern Warfare 2 comes in at No. 7. These numbers stand as physical sales only, meaning that the likes of Baldur's Gate 3 and Alan Wake II missed out on joining the list - though they probably wouldn't have made a dent on Hogwarts Legacy.

How many copies has Hogwarts Legacy sold?

A dragon attack in Hogwarts Legacy.
Click to enlarge
Image via Avalanche Software

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The most recent Hogwarts Legacy sales update from Warner Bros. revealed that the game has roped in a whopping 22 million copies in 2023, which is pretty mind-boggling. The game has soared thanks to its connections to the Wizarding World and long-awaited promises of an open-world Harry Potter game.

It's an impressive feat for any game to do something like this, especially when it stands alone. It might have the Wizarding World to thank, but who knows - this could be the start of a trend that flips the industry on its head.

Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.

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