Call Of Duty Passes $1 Billion Mark
December 7, 2012

Millions Answer Call Of Duty To The Tune Of $1 Billion

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

Video games are often compared to movies; both in how the plots shape up and how the numbers add up as in sales vs. box office receipts. This month, Activision Blizzard hit a new milestone when sales of its new Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 video game passed the $1 billion mark only 15 days after release.

That is notable, as sales of the game hit a billion dollars two days faster than the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, which set a box office record when it was released during the 2009 holiday season.

"The release of Call of Duty has been one of the most significant entertainment events of each of the last six years," said Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick.

Kotick added that sales of the cumulative franchise revenues for the game have eclipsed current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top 10 grossing films of this year. Further, sales of the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars series, three of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

The game also required a production team worthy of a movie, as more than 250 people labored on it for the last two years. This included working with arms experts to imagine and conceive the weapons and equipment that might be used on a battlefield in the future.

It isn´t just $1 billion that is notable either, as the other big number is 150 million hours, or the amount of time that players have racked up battling with or against each other online. The game, which is the sequel to an earlier Cold War-themed first-person shooter, is set in a fictional 2025, where a Nicaraguan militant is plotting to undermine US security.

“The move to the near future provided us with the opportunity to tell a time and generation-spanning narrative, as well as access an entirely new world of technology, weapons,” Mark Lamia, head of Treyarch Studios, who developed the game for the US publisher Activision, told AFP on Thursday.

While Activision Blizzard and its team have much to celebrate, the rest of the industry may be hoping for a brighter future, as it isn´t likely coming this holiday season.

Despite the big sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the rest of the game industry finds itself in a bit of funk. Market research firm NPD Group´s November 2012 sales report, which came out on Friday, showed that overall video game sales declined for the 12th consecutive month, while store sales showed an 11 percent year-over-year decline. While this decline was the smallest that has been seen in dollars and percentage terms, it is likely a result of the release of Activision Blizzard´s hot shooter, but last month also saw the debut of the Nintendo Wii U, the only new console released this holiday season.

One other big title was released in November; Halo 4 from Microsoft for its Xbox 360 console, proving that even in its seventh holiday season, it can still deliver something fresh.