December 15, 2011
New Call Of Duty Installment Breaks $1 Billion-Mark In 16 Days
Gamers around the world have registered their judgment on the enormously hyped video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by dishing out the dollars. According to the game´s distributor Activision Publishing, the first-person shooter has already been catapulted to the status of pop-culture legend, reaching the $1 billion sales mark in just 16 days.
And it isn´t just video game records that MW3 is demolishing. It has even surpassed sales for James Cameron´s visual-trip sci-fi film “Avatar” which took 17 days to hit the $1 billion mark. And it blew out of the water the record of its predecessor Call of Duty: Black Ops which took 7 weeks to reach the golden sales mark.
Activision Blizzard says that the key to its success lies in consistently building on the franchise´s strengths. Rather than attempt to radically alter the style of the game, the company has continually expanded and improved those aspects of the game that players seem to love, thus building its fan base and recruiting new gamers along the way.
“Really knowing the taste of your customers is something we do really well,” explained Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick to Nick Biltin of the New York Times. “We´ve had so much sustained success with this franchise because we continue to look at what the audience is interested in. We continually make sure we are delivering products that have audience appeal.”
Modern Warfare is the ninth installment in the Call of Duty series and is available on almost every popular game console, including Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii.
Research studies show that in recent years the number of people opting out of the cinema and picking up a game pad continues to grow–a trend that has accelerated as the social-networking dimension of modern videogames and digital media in general has continued to expand. And few companies have anticipated and capitalized on this trend more successfully than the Call of Duty creators.
“Modern Warfare 3, and other games by us, have a much broader appeal than they have had in the past, with the social nature of the game offering a different type of interactive experience that has not existed before,” Kotick said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “As the number of new game consoles has expanded, along with the audience, it´s capturing a new audience that in the past has not considered playing video games.”
According to financial figures released in November, Activision´s profits have tripled year-on-year in the three months to the end of September–and that´s without including sales from Modern Warfare 3. The company also recently introduced a social gaming network companion called Call of Duty: Elite which has already attracted over six million subscribers worldwide and continues to grow.
Commenting on the unprecedented success of the game series, Kotick stated that: “Call of Duty as an entertainment franchise has made an indelible mark on popular culture. [It] is now amongst that rarified group of sustained franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and the National Football League that attract or engage tens of millions of people every year or every new release.”
And to him who has, more shall be given, says Charles Bae of the digital advertising agency Rokkan. Observing the positive feedback-loop that continues to fuel the game´s popularity and expand its player base, Bae notes: “It´s been riding its own wave. When you have a game that big and that has that much hype around it, you´re bound to attract new players.”
In a recent press-release, Activision reported that its community of Call of Duty gamers boasts over 30 million players–more than the total combined populations of New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Madrid.
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