Just when you thought Modern Warfare 3’s release couldn’t get any more impressive, Activision has once again proclaimed to the world just how well its latest entry in the Call of Duty franchise has sold so far.
According to a press release issued today by Activision (linked here), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has achieved the $1 billion mark in just 16 days. Not only is this an incredible achievement for a video game, it is also a new record for sales in any form of entertainment. The previous record holder for hitting $1 billion was the 2009 movie Avatar, which hit the mark in 17 days. Keep in mind that MW3 was released November 8, with Black Friday occurring on November 25. Notice that the 16th day would be November 23 (24 if the release date is excluded), meaning MW3 made a billion dollars before Black Friday.
There is something to note about this record when comparing MW3 and Avatar, and that is the price of admission. MW3 costs $60 new, which is what Activision considers a purchase. Used games are not considered because the publisher/developer does not see any money from those sales. There is also the matter of the game being on sale, which of course lowers the price. Avatar on the other hand cost an average of $7.50 per movie ticket in the United States in 2009 (source). Bear in mind that movie tickets vary depending on location, which is why an average price was used. Despite this difference, it is also worth noting that for each user, MW3 is more or less a one-time purchase while Avatar required a purchase for each viewing. (Futile attempt at keeping flame wars under control, I admit)
On another note, the Call of Duty community has exploded to include over 30 million users. For those into demographics, that’s more than many major cities’ entire populations and even some small countries’ populations. Quite an impressive feat indeed. Activision at this point feels comfortable comparing Call of Duty to such established franchises as Star Wars and Harry Potter, where the market is just there waiting for the next big release. Let’s hope Activision doesn’t turn Call of Duty into the next Guitar Hero then, or that feeling will be lost.