November 17, 2012
Black Ops II Sells $500 Million On Opening Day
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Within its first 24 hours of availability, Call of Duty: Black Ops II has already netted $500 million in sales. This is a new record, according to the game maker Activision Blizzard, and proves once more that the annual release of a new Call of Duty title is “the biggest entertainment launch of the year.”
If last year´s sales of Modern Warfare 3 are any indication (it sold $1 billion in 16 days) Black Ops II could be another boon for Activision Blizzard. The market likes a winner, and already shares of Activision have risen by 3%. The company is still proceeding into 2013 with caution, however, citing concerns about the macro-economic environment. Todd Mitchell, an analyst with Brean Murray, Carret & Co told Reuters he expects Activision to set 2013 targets below Wall Street´s expectations, but also expects a strong 4th quarter from the video game maker.
"The combination of the strong 'Call of Duty' and good indications on 'Skylander' (another Activision game) points to a very strong quarter," said Mitchell, speaking to Reuters. "I assume the sell-through on ("Black Ops II") will be strong enough that it beats last year's launch when you look at first-week sales."
The Call of Duty franchise got its start in 2003 and, according to Activision, has earned more in franchise history than the Harry Potter or Star Wars franchises earned in global box office sales.
"Call of Duty has become more than a product people buy, it's a brand people buy into," said Activision Publishing´s CEO Eric Hirshberg in a statement.
"And every November we do more than just the launch of a game, we kick off an annual, unofficial but worldwide phenomenon called the Call of Duty season."
According to USA Today, Amazon and GameStop have reported very strong pre-order sales, saying Black Ops II sold more pre-orders than its Modern Warfare 3 predecessor. This led Activision to predict that the latest Call of Duty will go on to become the bestselling video game of all time.
Video games have seen a significant shift over the years, with franchises such as Call of Duty gaining in popularity. Now, many video game releases are compared to opening weekends for blockbuster Hollywood hits. In 2007, Microsoft´s Halo was first introduced to the world, selling $170 million in first day sales, the top grossing entertainment launch at the time. The video game industry has also had to face an ongoing threat from smaller devices, namely smartphones. With many sub-$9.99 video games in Apple and Google´s perspective app stores, many no longer have the desire to buy a console and spend $49 and more for a specific title. Many are watching Call of Duty very closely as a gauge to determine what the future for video game consoles and franchises may be.