Call of Duty: Black Ops Sells $360 Million on Launch Day, Is New 'Biggest Entertainment Launch Ever'

By Alice O'Connor, Nov 11, 2010 7:30am PST Call of Duty: Black Ops sold-through an estimated $360 million in the first 24 hours in North America and the UK alone, Activision has announced, leading the publisher to declare the November 9 launch the new "biggest entertainment launch ever." It had previously bestowed the title upon Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Treyarch's Cold War-era shooter sold through approximately 5.6 million copies in North America and the United Kingdom, according to Activision's internal estimates, while Modern Warfare 2 only managed a paltry 4.7 million copies back in November 2009.

"There has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records for two consecutive years and we are on track to outperform last year's five-day global sales record of $550 million," boasted Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision has also pledged to "find 1,000 jobs for veterans" and is donating $1 million from the sales of Cod Blops to the Call of Duty Endowment, a "non-profit, public benefit corporation" which helps service members with job training and placements.

"This Veteran's Day, we should all take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that the brave men and women of our military are making in service of our country," said Kotick. "It is a national tragedy to have these men and women put their lives on the line in Afghanistan and Iraq, only to come home to face another battle of finding a new career... I am honored that we are able to use the popularity of Call of Duty to bring much needed attention to this serious issue and assist veterans when they return home."

Call of Duty: Black Ops was released on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS. It hasn't been the smoothest launch, though, as a number of bugs and exploits have been reported, particularly on PC. Activision social media manager Dan Amrich has urged players to report them through the correct channels and act with civility.

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  • Activision's keeping a lot more people employed this year than EA, which is having its 3rd consecutive year of layoffs.

    Don't buy too deeply in soundbites repeated ad nauseam. Kotick may not be a nice guy, and I doubt he even cares all that much about keeping people employed, but who cares? Sometimes you need an asshole to run a business. Stop seeing the world in two dimensions.

    On the other hand, despite EA's Riccitiello being all warm and fuzzy and "turned over a new leaf", EA can't stop hemorrhaging money and firing people.

    Most of the random guys who post two line comments on blogs like these can't see past the soundbite, however.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • I don't think Kotick's leadership is responsible for this. Buying Blizzard was a smart move but Activision simply struck gold/oil with Infinity Ward. They paid a pittance for them and IW then throws out a multiplayer game that displaces Halo in terms of appeal. Pushing for annual releases? Okay. From a gamer standpoint some people will see it as milking the franchise (and it kind of is) but it makes too much financial sense and an annual refresh is not that bad.

      EA's problem is that they have not created any mega hit franchises or new IPs in house. They had to buy Mass Effect to get that series and they've tried to manufacture others by copying existing hits: Dante's Inferno/God of War, Medal of Honor/Call of Duty. However, "me too" efforts rarely yield big hits. Second place doesn't count for much in entertainment. Coming out of the PS2 era, AAA production titles is what EA was geared for but that market has grown very little while costs rose. They've had to buy their way into the causal game market via Playfish.