Next week's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare could sell 70 per cent fewer units than 2012's Black Ops 2.
It could also fall 40 per cent short of last year's COD: Ghosts, according to estimates from Cowen and Company which says that the series is now in a state of decline.
Games Industry reports that the analyst's pre-order data suggests the game will fall commercially well short of previous years.
"Advanced Warfare is now pacing almost 40 per cent behind last year's Ghosts (vs 50 per cent last week) and almost 70 per cent behind 2012's Black Ops 2 (vs 80 per cent last week)," it says. "We continue to believe COD will be down meaningfully vs last year. With the franchise facing two consecutive significant year on year declines in sales, we think it is prudent to assume it has peaked."
Although Cowen says it still expects Advanced Warfare to outperform Activision's other shooter Destiny, it doesn't rule out the possibility that should Bungie's title enjoy a significant sales boost when its first DLC arrives it could yet outsell COD this year, possibly shifting north of 15m units.
This echoes predictions the company made in the summer.
Cowen is not the first analyst to predict that Advanced Warfare will struggle to match its predecessors, and despite a spike after Gamescom even Activision has hinted that pre-orders for the game have not hit expectations.
It should also be added, however, that pre-orders as a whole are down across the industry, with some blaming the shift from physical to digital and others speculating that consumers are increasingly waiting for review scores and growing tired of tepid pre-order incentives.
The series hit its high point in 2010 when COD: Black Ops set new unit sales and revenue records. It has been in decline ever since.