Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 declared 'biggest entertainment launch ever'

Surprising no one, Activision has declared Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to be "the biggest entertainment launch ever," a title it has previously bestowed upon the shooter series's last two instalments. It's estimated to have sold-through 6.5 million units in North America and the UK alone within the first 24 hours, raking in over $400 million.

Those numbers, Activision says, are based upon "retail customer sell-through information" and data from UK sales-monitoring market research firm Charttrack. Modern Warfare 3 was released for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS on November 8.

Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 million copies in NA and the UK on its launch day in 2010, while Modern Warfare 2 sold 4.7 the year before that. Though the series has become formulaic, as our review noted, it's evidently not putting players off, and the franchise continues to grow.

"We believe the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick boasted in today's announcement.

"Other than Call of Duty, there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings,' two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time."

Not coincidentally, Xbox Live set a new player peak concurrency record two days after Modern Warfare 3 launched, according to Microsoft.

The new Call of Duty Elite social gubbins has been slightly overwhelmed by the flood of players, suffering long waits while techies work to get it up to speed. Activision has offered 30 days of free membership to those who pay $50 annually for the optional premium features.