Black Ops retail sales hit $650 million


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Call of Duty: Black Ops destroyed previous video-game sales records, ringing up an unprecedented $650 million in retail sales within five days of release, according to Activision Blizzard Inc. More than half of the game’s take, about $360 million, occurred on Nov. 9, its first day out.

The Santa Monica publisher said Black Ops sales surpassed the $550 million generated in its first five days by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the previous installment of the franchise and prior record holder. Though the two titles share a common publisher in Activision, they were developed by two separate studios. Black Ops was created by Treyarch in Santa Monica, while Modern Warfare 2 was developed by Infinity Ward in Encino.


Activision’s massive marketing campaign all but ensured that Black Ops would have a solid start, analysts said. Investors are focused instead on the title’s long-term sales, as compared to Modern Warfare 2, which was released in November 2009 and sustained its lofty sales well into 2010.

‘Initial sales are likely to follow the same pattern,’ said Evan Wilson, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. ‘The real test is what happens beyond the first week.’

Modern Warfare 2 sold 16 million copies in 2009, and another 4 million to 5 million in 2010, according to analyst estimates. So far, Black Ops, priced between $60 to $150 for a premium version, sold more than 10 million copies. And that’s before Black Friday, when sales usually tick up another notch.

-- Alex Pham


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