While 2009 was hardly a vintage year business-wise for the gaming industry, this week has seen the announcement by Activision Blizzard Inc that sales of its blockbuster title Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 have exceeded $1 billion worldwide.
That’s the tally since the launch of the game in mid-November last year and Activision Blizzard chief executive, Bobby Kotick took a break from lighting cigars with hundred bills to tell the word that: “There are only a handful of entertainment properties that have ever reached the $1 billion mark, which illustrates the power of the Call of Duty franchise and the mass appeal of this game.”
The LA Times report that though the Santa Monica-based publisher didn’t specify how many units it had sold, “that’s likely close to 15 million based on the eight million units the game sold in its first week on $550 million in receipts.”
That means the game likely already is, or soon will be, ahead of the 14.4 million units of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2007, previously the best-selling title in the hugely popular six-year-old Call of Duty military shooter series. Modern Warfare 2 now ranks among the best-selling video games of all time, including sequels to the Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario series.
Game sales fell 11% in the US last year so this dollop of good news for the industry comes at a welcome time. As the Times notes, “Sales of music games have been particularly hard hit during the economic downturn. That’s just as painful as Modern Warfare 2 is profitable for Activision Blizzard. It owns the Guitar Hero franchise, which saw four sequels or spin-offs released between September and December.”