The popular first-person shooter also broke Activision's record for PC launches and digital sales.
Last week’s release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been hailed as an enormous success by publisher Acitivison. According to a press release, it brought in over $600 million over the weekend, making it the best launch for a Call of Duty game this console generation. In addition, it has enjoyed the best PC launch in franchise history, and boasts the best digital release Activision has ever had.
“Call of Duty is once again the top selling new premium game of the year, proving the enduring nature of the franchise across console, PC, mobile, and esports,” Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said in a statement. “In its first three days of release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare more than doubled the box office opening of Joker.”
The apples and oranges comparison to Joker aside... Activision Blizzard was in need of victory, considering its share prices fell to a two-year low in February even after Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII garnered a $500 million launch last year. As a result of the lower-than-projected performance, the company laid off 800 employees.
Strong digital sales are indicative of a greater trend of consumers favoring the convenience of downloads over physical games. In January, analyst group SuperData reported that 2018 was the most profitable year so far for digital sales, driven largely by Fortnite and other free-to-play titles.
“Free-to-play titles earn a far greater share of total revenue in Asia (93%) than in North America and Europe (62%),” SuperData analyst Carter Rogers explained at the time. “Also, while what we'd call ‘hardcore’ gamers often gravitate to PC or console in North America, many of Asia's top mobile games like Honor of Kings would certainly be considered hardcore titles by North American or European standards.”
Modern Warfare earnedimpressive sales numbers despite a controversy surrounding the game’s seeming alteration of one mission’s real-world historical inspiration. Developer Infinity Ward has apparently recontextualized a United States-led Gulf War operation that resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians to fit a pro-U.S.narrative in a level called “Highway of Death.” In retaliation, users have review bombed Modern Warfare on Metacritic, resulting in a very low 3.3 user rating. It is also believed that the strongly anti-Russian mission is the reason Sony has not made Modern Warfare available available in Russia’s PlayStation store.
Historical accuracy aside, there’s no denying fan enthusiasm for the newest Call of Duty game, which serves as a soft reboot for the Modern Warfare series. It also features a single-player campaign for the first time since 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII, a fact that Activison Blizzard has made sure to highlight in the weeks leading up to release. It’s likely that Modern Warfare will continue to sell well through the holiday season, as Call of Duty always does. As we move towards the end of the year, expect Activision to continue to tout its impressive sales numbers.
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