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‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ Sets Launch Sales Record

November 12, 2010

Game developer Treyarch has released its latest military shooter game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” with smashing success, raking in 360 million dollars in sales in North America and Britain on its first day, becoming the highest-grossing video game launch ever, the game’s publisher said on Thursday.

Masses of devoted fans waited outside stores at midnight Monday to get their hands on the new Call of Duty. For those fans, getting their hands on the game and racing home to pop it into their game console is the equivalent of turning on the TV to watch a major sporting event.

The game sold 5.6 million units in its first day, according to Activision Blizzard Inc. Its predecessor, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” sold 4.7 million units on its first day on sale last year.

“There has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records for two consecutive years and we are on track to outperform last year’s five-day global sales record of 550 million dollars,” Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick told AFP.

“The Call of Duty franchise has over 25 million players around the world that are engaged in billions of hours of online gameplay,” said Kotick.

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” holds the record for the top single-day box office ever for a Hollywood movie, taking in 72.7 million dollars a year ago, according to Hollywood.com.

Analysts said the strong first day performance of “Black Ops” was largely expected given the sizeable number of preorders.

“Black Ops” is the seventh title in the “Call of Duty” franchise and has gained a devoted following since the first version was released in 2003.

In the latest version, game developers used motion capture technology to increase the realism of game physics and to recreate ultra-accurate and facial movements. The studio consulted with Vietnam veterans on how they modified weapons or infiltrated enemy lines on dangerous missions.

“We were also able to find a Russian soldier who showed us special techniques used by Spetsnaz,” said Dominique Drozdz, head of animation at developer Treyarch, referring to the Russian special forces units.

For gamers with a 3D compatible television set, the game offers the option of 3D play as well.

The “Call of Duty” franchise has been at the forefront of online gaming for some time and while “Black Ops” offers a fairly modest amount of single-player missions, the online multiplayer version offers many extras.

“‘Modern Warfare 2′ was the most played online game on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is important to continue this,” said Guillaume Lairan, the head of French marketing for publisher Activision.

“Black Ops” went on sale Tuesday and costs $60. It was developed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles.

Activision Blizzard Inc. will also release “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” in December, the latest update to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game that boasts 12 million subscribers.

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