One video game. One day. Half a billion dollars.
In the latest sign that Activision’s “Call of Duty” military shooter franchise remains a retail behemoth, gamers worldwide spent more than $500 million on the latest sequel, “Black Ops II,” in its first day on sale.
That’s far-and-away the biggest video game launch of the year, easily exceeding the $220 million spent on “Halo 4" its first 24 hours last week (“Halo 4" was available only for the Xbox 360, though, while “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” can also be played on the Playstation 3 console).
Publisher Activision Blizzard last year said that its previous installment “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" grossed $400 million its first day, but only in the U.S. and Great Britain. The Santa Monica company has never before provided a worldwide number for “Call of Duty” sales in the first 24 hours, making it impossible to compare the performance of “Black Ops II” to that of previous entries.
However, Activision’s announcement touted “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” which for the first time in franchise history takes place in the future, as “the biggest entertainment launch of the year,” not “ever.”
Analyst Evan Wilson of Pacific Crest Securities said that “likely means ‘Black Ops II’ sold less” than “Modern Warfare 3.”
Wilson also noted that “Modern Warfare 3" grossed $775 million globally in its first five days and called that “the number to watch” in terms of a direct comparison for “Black Ops II.”
While it undoubtedly remains one of the most popular and profitable brands in the video game industry, analysts have been worried that Activision’s annual “Call of Duty” installments have been starting to lose sales momentum. Some analysts said that after a bigger start, “Modern Warfare 3" sold less than 2010 entry “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”