In December 2011, Activision boasted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 had clocked up $1 billion in sales more quickly that James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster Avatar had done back in 2009. CoD reached that milestone in 16 days, ‘Dances with Wolves in space’ in 17 days.
A year on, the games publisher is making exactly the same comparison with the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty: Black Ops II which, it says, hit $1 billion in 15 days, one less than its predecessor and two ahead of Avatar. The game was released on 13 November.
Of course, the Cameron epic went on to gross pass the $2 billion mark in 2010. It has since gone on to take almost $2.8 billion worldwide.
We can’t see Black Ops II coming anywhere near that total - games tend to achieve almost all of their financial success in the early weeks of release as fans pile in. And direct comparisons with films are invidious: ticket prices are a lot lower than those of AAA-titles discs and downloads; films have a broader demographic and more global appeal.
Still, it’s a sign of just how important the videogames business has become that it can rack up such a large amount of money in such a short time, and to do so
“Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, the two most successful movie franchises of all time,” added Activision. ®