Call of Duty: Ghosts not declared biggest entertainment launch of the year

For the past four years, the day after the launch of a new Call of Duty game has seen Activision boldly declaring its latest man-shooter the new biggest entertainment launch ever. This year, the broken record skipped.

Perhaps due to staggering success of Grand Theft Auto V, Activision has changed this year's boast. $1 billion of Call of Duty: Ghosts has gone out to stores, the publisher announced this morning, declining to mention how much it actually sold.

Curiously, unlike the past four years, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in today's announcement that it is "too early to assess sell-through for Call of Duty: Ghosts."

Activision declining to give actual sales figures means we can reasonably deduce that the launch probably brought in less than GTA V's $800 million, as it would have gleefully shouted about that. Cod Blops 2 sold-through $500 million on its launch day last November, for reference. We shouldn't be hasty to declare much more than that, though.

Let's not go calling CoD dead just yet. We can say it's probably sold less than $800 million, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's sold less than Blops 2. Activision might simply be so set on this "biggest entertainment launch of the year" hype that it's taking a new tack now GTA V has ruined 2013. Even if it were faring worse than Blops 2, some would-be players will be holding back on buying Ghosts until the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 launch, too.

While our review found Ghosts to be, you know, another Call of Duty game, scoring only a 6, the franchise is huge and has such great inertia that it'll take a lot to stop it.

Ghosts has still set some uninteresting records, though. It's retailer GameStop's "most pre-reserved next gen title," and the average player session for Ghosts on Xbox 360 is longer than in Cod Blops 2 or Modern Warfare 3 on their launch days. Beggars can't be choosers.