The latest in a parade of hits, Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has sold an estimated $550 million in the first five days of its release, bringing the entire The Call of Duty series $3 billion in sales between its six titles.
Modern Warfare 2 officially smashed opening-day sales records with 4.7 million copies sold in its first day in the U.S. and U.K. alone. To put that in perspective, James Bond has been a franchise for 47 years and grossed just over $5 billion.
Activision isn’t the only company growing fat on Modern Warfare’s success. GameStop, an online gaming retailer, sold 2.5 million copies of MW2 within three days of its release. Not coincidentally, GameStop’s Q3 sales rose to $1.82 billion, up from $1.7 billion in Q2. Activision ended the day’s trading up 0.09 percent, closing at $11.57.
“If you consider the number of hours our audiences are engaged in playing Call of Duty games, it is likely to be one of the most viewed of all entertainment experiences in modern history,” says Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision.
MW2 includes over 40 types of weapon and presents the player with the option of participating in a civilian massacre — a controversial move that VentureBeat reporter Dean Takahashi examined in his review of the game. This scene has inspired some outcry: There were early reports that it was banned in Russia. In fact, the game was released there, but without the massacre scene. To help offset some of the outrage over the massacre concept, Activision has donated $1 million to veteran’s groups in the U.S.
MW2’s launch beat every previous-best first and five-day launch in the entertainment industry: box office, book releases and video games launches alike have been humbled by its sales. Previously, the five-day sales of Grand Theft Auto IV held the record at 6 million units and $500 million dollars. MW2 has been so successful, in fact, that a special edition of the game is being offered with full functioning night vision goggles. So far, no handgun edition has been announced.