Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 racks up record pre-orders and generates record hype

Inquiring minds want to know: Are people tired of Call of Duty? If the insane Internet buzz surrounding this week’s announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is anything to go by, no they’re decidedly not.

Activision Blizzard’s near-future war game about America’s combat drones turning against their makers  is already lighting up sales charts, according to’s United Kingdom branch. Three times as many copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 were pre-ordered through the online retailer during the first 24 hours after its announcement than the original Call of Duty: Black Ops racked up in 2010.

Laying on the canned PR speak a little thick, Amazon UK video game manager Graham Chambers said, “Set to be one of the biggest games of the year, it’s great to see so much enthusiasm and anticipation for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Bolder and better than before and with everything from a futuristic storyline through to single player mode, zombies, and multiplayer, Black Ops 2 promises something Call of Duty fans have never seen before.” Translated into English, Chambers said, “We are going to sell many copies of this gun game and we will buy fancy meals with the profits.”

The Web coughed up evidence of people’s enduring infatuation with the series throughout the week. Nielsen Media Incite, a research group that tracks interest in brands across social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and from 160 million blogs and message boards, told GamesIndustry International on Thursday that the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 announcement has generated the second most pre-release buzz of any Call of Duty product.

On Monday, 24 hours before the game was announced, Black Ops 2 generated 4,911 messages around the Web. By Wednesday morning, that number had jumped to 21,454 messages. It has actually generated the most buzz by NM Incite’s calculations of any Call of Duty game. Call of Duty Elite, Activision’s online service, generated more messages following its announcement in May 2011, clocking 21,728 messages in 24 hours.

One other interesting note from NM Incite’s research: The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are generating close to the same amount of interest. While popular on all platforms, Call of Duty often commands a larger audience on Microsoft’s machine. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for example has sold nearly 14 million copies on the Xbox 360 since November 2011, while the PlayStation 3 version has sold just over 11.6 million.

Buzz doesn’t necessarily equate to success though. Look at Draw Something‘s dramatic rise and fall over the past six weeks. Then again, it would be foolish to think that Black Ops 2 isn’t going to sell in crazy numbers this fall. Face it: Call of Duty is the Super Bowl of video games. Might as well enjoy it along with everyone else.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: