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Analyst: Infinity Ward To Be 'Essentially Closed' After Next Map Pack?

The conflict surrounding the Infinity Ward studio has left the future of the Modern Warfare brand in question -- but one analyst believes the future of the studio is equally shaky.
With so many high-profile defections from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 studio Infinity Ward -- not to mention two separate lawsuits brought against publisher Activision by co-founders and former employees -- the studio's future may be in question, says one analyst. "Continued defections from their Infinity Ward studio have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise," says Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey of Activision's current prospects. According to Hickey, amid lawsuits and widespread employee defections, the outlook's not good: "We expect Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed after their next map pack release, with development work on Modern Warfare 3 spread between two studios not historically tied to the franchise," he says. Infinity Ward has already launched one of two promised map packs for Modern Warfare 2 -- the Stimulus Pack DLC sold 1 million units on Xbox Live on its first day, and 2.5 million units in its first week. Modern Warfare 3, Hickey says, could hit in Activision's fiscal fourth quarter of 2011 and earn $738 million in sales, or about 15 percent of Activision's non-GAAP annual sales performance, Hickey estimated.

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