Call of Duty: Black Ops Reaches $1B Sales Plateau

Dennis Faas's picture

The ongoing recession doesn't seem to be having any impact on the video game industry.

Recent reports have shown Microsoft's Kinect peripheral achieving strong sales in its first weeks on the market, and now a new study finds that Activision's popular First Person Shooter (FPS) Call of Duty: Black Ops has already surpassed the $1 billion sales marker.

Call of Duty is an action game franchise dating back to 2003. The original titles all involved World War II campaigns, but in recent years the series has moved to more familiar conflict areas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was a runaway success, so it was really no surprise when 2010's Black Ops made splashes with its much-anticipated release last month.

Makers Activision reportedly shipped 4.7 million units at launch, generating $360 million in sales. It hit $650 million in sales after the first five days of availability. (Source:

Black Ops Accounts for 25 Per Cent Market Share

According to industry analysts NPD Group, Black Ops has continued to sell at a rapid pace. An estimated 8.4 million units were shipped in November alone, accounting for an incredible 25 per cent of all video game sales worldwide. That means one in four gamers bought Black Ops, choosing it over a wide variety of competing titles.

There's no indication sales have slipped leading up to Christmas Day. Activision recently noted that Black Ops has now generated $1 billion in sales. Just as staggering, the company says an estimated 600 million hours have been logged by fans of the series. Presumably, this only includes the gameplay minutes for gamers connected to Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network (PSN) or PC servers, meaning offline gamers could constitute even more game time.

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"Even more remarkable than the number of units sold is the number of hours people are playing the game together online which are unprecedented," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Call of Duty is more than a game, it's a true community." (Source:

The $1 billion sales marker is no minor feat. Aside from Call of Duty, only Avatar has hit that milestone in such a short span of time.

"This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise," noted Activision Blizzard CEP Bobby Kotick.

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