Activision Blizzard’s latest game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, had the best start in the history of the Call of Duty franchise, eclipsing the previous record holder, which was Modern Warfare since 2011.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II launched on Friday, October 28 and is available for sale on the Sony PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC platforms.
The game grossed $800 million worldwide in three days of sales, making Modern Warfare II the “best-selling weekend debut ever” for the Call of Duty franchise. The previous five-day record from 2011 was held by Modern Warfare.
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$800 million for Modern Warfare II in three days is a huge number, but not a video game record. Back in 2013, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V made $1 billion in its first three days. For another comparison, Bethesda’s Fallout 4 sold 12 million copies and made $750 million in the first 24 hours alone. However, it’s important to note that Fallout 4’s $750 million per day is units shipped and not necessarily sold, while Modern Warfare II’s $800 million figure covers units that were actually sold to consumers.
Activision said in a press release that Modern Warfare II’s opening gross exceeds the biggest box office of the year in the movie world, even outpacing opening weekend grosses for Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Activision also stated that Modern Warfare II set new “player-participation franchise records” for unique players and hours played during the first three days of the game’s premium release. This is most likely because the Modern Warfare II campaign kicked off early on October 20 for people who pre-ordered.
“Thank you, Call of Duty players, for making the launch of Modern Warfare II one of the highest-grossing entertainment debuts of the year. We are honored and privileged to host such a historic weekend for the best fans in the world. As amazing as this revelation is, Call of Duty has a lot more in store. An unprecedented level of support for the Modern Warfare universe and the launch of Warzone 2.0 are just around the corner. This is an extraordinary time for the franchise,” said Call of Duty general manager Joanna Faries.
In January, Microsoft agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in cash, or $95 per share (the deal is now being reviewed by regulators).
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After the news of the merger, Call of Duty fans began to actively discuss whether Microsoft would make the game exclusive to the Xbox. As Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer noted in a new YouTube podcast interview, the company promises to “keep Call of Duty on the PlayStation for as long as the PlayStation exists.”
“As long as the PlayStation exists, we intend to continue to supply Call of Duty for it. Similar to what we did with Minecraft when we owned it – we didn’t reduce the number of places where people can play it, but rather expanded it. It’s been good for the Minecraft community and I want to do the same for Call of Duty – we’re thinking about where the series can go,” Spencer says.
Despite the public debate between Sony and Microsoft over the future of Call of Duty, Spencer recently compared Call of Duty to Minecraft twice. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal tech conference last week, Spencer also hinted at plans to bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch in order to treat the franchise like Minecraft and keep it on rival platforms.
Microsoft also says keeping Call of Duty on the PlayStation is “a commercial necessity for the Xbox business and deal economy” in documents provided to the UK regulator. The company claims that withdrawing the series from the PlayStation “would jeopardize its revenue” and “is looking to profit from the distribution of Activision Blizzard games to the Sony PlayStation.”
But whatever the future holds for Call of Duty after the deal closes, it is now one of the most popular gaming franchises and has had a significant impact on the development of the genre. Over the entire period of its existence, the series has sold around the world with a total circulation of about 425 million copies and earned more than $30 billion.
Coming out in 2020, Warzone’s ‘battle royale’ has over 125 million players and is a key part of the franchise’s new strategy to better align Call of Duty’s multiple facets and maximize their reach, according to Activision. Since the release of Warzone, Activision has increased its resources around Call of Duty, with more than 3,000 people working on the series’ shooters as of June 2022. Call of Duty Mobile has also been a success, with more than 650 million players downloading the game since its release in 2019.
Source: The Verge, Gamespot