Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 beats Modern Warfare 3 to $1 billion but…

call of duty black ops 2 sales

Activision Blizzard investors nonplussed by the consistently low share price and mealy dividend yield of the world’s biggest video game publisher are likely both exhausted and enthused by Call of Duty’s popularity. Ever since Infinity Ward propelled the shooter series to superstardom in 2007 with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision has released a new game in the series every November with increasing success. 2011’s Modern Warfare 3 outsold 2010’s Black Ops which in turn outsold Modern Warfare 2, etc.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is no different, at least from a revenue point of view. Activision announced on Wednesday morning that its latest military shooter earned $1 billion in retail sales in just 15 days. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 made $1 billion in 16 days, and Activision was quick to point out that the fastest earning movie of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar, took 17 days to earn the same.

“In order for Call of Duty to remain the entertainment juggernaut that it is, and keep out fans coming back for more, we need to continue to bring fresh ideas and new innovations to the table every time, while always staying true to what people fell in love with in the first place,” said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hiirshberg, “That’s what we did with Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and that’s what we intend to keep on doing.”

How times change. Activision’s Guitar Hero III was the first individual video game in history to break $1 billion in sales back in 2009, almost fifteen months after it was first released. That Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 could do the same in a fraction of the time speaks volumes about the continuing strength of big budget gaming, but there are a couple of factors that need to be considered when assessing the game’s success.

First, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 wasn’t the only major source of Call of Duty-related revenue in 2011. Last November, Activision sold 1 million paid subscriptions to the now free Call of Duty Elite service, approximately $50 million in additional revenue on top of Modern Warfare 3 sales. That revenue is gone from the Black Ops 2 sales landscape. Additionally, Activision had to spend more on Black Ops 2’s development, considering it needed to invest in resources to port that game over to Nintendo’s Wii U, another source of lost revenue mitigating the $1 billion milestone.

Finally, a difference of 24 hours in hitting a sales milestone is nothing to crow about. It means that retail sales are essentially flat with last year’s model. Black Ops 2’s performance to date certainly supports Stern Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia’s claim that the series is showing signs of decline. Will sales be down 15 percent year-on-year? We’ll see when Activision closes its fiscal year in March.

Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.

Find the perfect weapon in Black Ops 4 multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.