Call of Duty: Black Ops best seller on 360, PS3, PC

Activision announces sales milestone for Cold War-era shooter; Q1 earnings hit $1.4 billion, profit rises to $503 million; Diablo III beta kicking off Q3; free-to-play COD en route to China.

That Activision Blizzard had a hit on its hands with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops last November is no surprise, considering the game made more than $1 billion in less than two months. However, the publisher clarified how big of a hit Black Ops is, announcing today that it is the highest-earning game of all time on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in the US and Europe.

Black Ops became an all-time sales leader in the US and Europe on the 360, PS3, and PC in Q1.

Unfortunately, Activision Blizzard did not release updated sales figures for the Cold War-era shooter. However, the publisher did say that the Treyarch-developed title was the number-one overall seller in the US and Europe during the January-March quarter. That performance apparently bests that of Nintendo's Pokemon Black and White, Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and EA's Dead Space 2.

Activision Blizzard also said that unique users playing Black Ops' online multiplayer component are up 33 percent over its Infinity Ward-developed predecessor, Modern Warfare 2, during their respective first five months.

The announcement came as part of Activision Blizzard's first-quarter earnings report today, which beat expected results. For the quarter ended March 31, 2011, Activision Blizzard posted net revenue of $1.4 billion, up from $1.3 billion during the same period a year ago. Profits climbed during the quarter to $503 million, up $122 million over last year.

Activision Blizzard also trumpeted its gains in revenue from digital channels, which it said grew 30 percent during the quarter over last year. That percentage gain equates to about $100 million, according to the publisher's top executive, Bobby Kotick.

One key driver of this growth was Black Ops' First Strike add-on pack, which was downloaded more than 1.4 million times during the first 24 hours of availability through Xbox Live. Activision Blizzard also said that downloads for the First Strike add-on were up 20 percent from Modern Warfare 2's comparable Stimulus Pack.

The publisher's strong start has given it confidence for the rest of the year. Today, the publisher said that it had revised its fiscal year 2011 earnings upward to $4.05 billion, from previous projections of $3.95 billion.

In a post-earnings conference call, Activision Blizzard dropped additional tidbits about its upcoming lineup. Of this year's Call of Duty installment, the executive team noted that it will have "an unprecedented online universe that is accompanying it." The publisher also noted that the previously announced new online features developed at its newly formed Beachhead studio will be included in this year's installment.

Activision Blizzard also briefly touched upon its massively multiplayer online gaming plans for the Call of Duty franchise. Namely, the publisher expects to launch a free-to-play, microtransaction-based installment in the series in China.

Blizzard Entertainment CEO Michael Morhaime also offered an update on the development of Diablo III, saying that the game is still targeted for release later this year. Morhaime expects external beta testing for Diablo III to begin during the July-September quarter. Morhaime also said that World of Warcraft subscriber figures stand at 11.4 million worldwide through the end of the quarter, though he noted that subscriber levels have decreased faster than in previous expansions because users are completing the new content at a more rapid pace.

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182 comments
BurningDear
BurningDear

@ kingtrav2 Bro you must be old as f**k if I was just a twinckle in my parents eye when online came out.

orgasmore
orgasmore

Wow I didn't know there are that many idiots in the world.

max-ventus
max-ventus

I think Activition just want to bring a challenge to EA, if it's true about the rumor than the next Battlefield is going to beat the game, then it's mean it must be a perfect game because there's no perfect game in this world even if this one is pretty close. This is an impossible job for EA but it might be fun to guess what's going on the other game

BurningDear
BurningDear

I think it will just be the funniest sh!t ever if Battle Field 3 turns out to be just the same as the recent CoDs. I also hope that these past few sub par CoD games have just been to lower our expectsations and drop the biggest FPS bomb the world will ever see after which CoD may or may not make a graceful bow off stage.

dre256x
dre256x

@ youngfellaslim Crysis is way better than Cod, as with many other Fps... But Cod strikes the balance perfectly when it comes to mass market appeal and thats whats key to selling crap loads of copies.. All in all Video Game Companies now answer to the big wigs on wall street in return you have less innovation but a greater chance to strike gold if you appeal more to the casual crowd.. Lets not forget game development is approaching or sometimes exceed movie size budget. So while crysis is way better, maybe for that series to sell more copies it would have to dumb down something...

Cy-Fox
Cy-Fox

@kingtrav2 That's right baby, always bet on Duke!

Bigdiscovery
Bigdiscovery

Truthfully in comparison of MW2 vs. BlackOPS I like MW2 better in dealing with simulation, gun and movement controls, but BlackOPS is still fun.

super_gameru
super_gameru

hehe, Diablo III targeted for release later this year. We'll see about that. All I care regarding Diablo III is to be an awesome game (Story; Feeling, Gameplay and of course Multiplayer). If it's released this year...or the next one..I don't really care as long as it's not released in the same period with Heart of the Swarm.

armandoisgreat
armandoisgreat

Gamespot, why must you inform me of other people making incredible amounts of money?

LoveSack
LoveSack

don't know why I clicked on this... I've realized I couldn't care less about anything COD related

cable126
cable126

disappointing that such a mediocre game gets such praise, give me Bad Company 2 any day

aldesk21
aldesk21

i think we already knew black ops was the best seller. makes halo 3 launch look like a joke, but really H3 was a stepping stone in its age #Signup on SugarSync (5GB to start, up-to 105GB with referrals), way better than Dropbox...plus we both get an extra 500MB. http://goo.gl/EOc15

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

I really enjoyed Black Ops' Singleplayer (despite the fact it was short as hell) but it's multiplayer remains an unimaginative cesspool of mediocrity.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@s_emi_xxxxx, probably because it had horrid sales due to the fact that they focused on the console version, ignoring completely why Crysis was popular and even took steps back from an engine perspective, dumbing it down from a gameplay perspective and pissing off their fans in the process. They should add the box-art for Crysis 2 in the dictionary under 'sell-out'.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

Activision = the gaming industries resident sheep herders.

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Meh, don't really want to play Black Ops anyways. I'll stick to Eurocom's Goldeneye.

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

Massive failure like Brink? LMAO. Pretty sure you haven't even played it. The game just got released today and you're basing your opinion on half ass reviews? Black Ops is an overall fun experience. I enjoy playing it mostly with friends only. I would really love to see an update for hit detection, that is truly something that needs to be fixed. There is no excuse when I empty an entire clip of an M16 into someones dome because its the only thing showing and I get maybe two hit markers. There has also been a large amount of lobby lag this past week.

scorpgul
scorpgul

And yet some nerds still say Black Ops suck LOL. Admit it Call of Duty owns the Multiplayer FPS space. I hope Battlefield 3 can compete but we'll have to wait until its released to see this. Many games have claimed to be better like the massive failure Brink that just came out...

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

@kingtrav2 - the game seems to be dated. Its like playing doom2 with updated yet dated graphics

MasterDZ0522
MasterDZ0522

I hope to god battlefield 3 will outsell this

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

@GuinnessHero, "*sigh* where's the heart and soul in video gaming gone?" Excellent question mate, but as long as theres still companies such as VALVe and Bioware, theres still a glimmer of hope : )

kingtrav2
kingtrav2

Duke Nukem Forever is the answer for all you people tired of CoD/Halo. Always bet on Duke. Can't wait to destroy all you CoD kids in DNF and show you what real DM is. You kids are about to get schooled by the people who played online games while you were still a twinkle in your parents eyes.

MaxiM_
MaxiM_

Crap for the masses always sell better than the good stuff. Pff.

GuinnessHero
GuinnessHero

Congrats to Activision for becoming the latest money making machine of the gaming world; awesome profits, not such awesome games.... *sigh* where's the heart and soul in video gaming gone?

dre256x
dre256x

@GeaorgeBotts23 When i meant realistic, i meant in the setting being realistic... They have the formula down right, realistic setting, arcade gameplay, and accessibility... not to mention the single player campaign, which is over-the-top.. Battlefiled is good, no doubt but its doesn't have the accessibility like Cod and that's why it will almost never reach (quote me on that) reach CoD level in term of sales.. Socom 4 now its straying from its hardcore military roots, just to be more accessible to a wider range of audience. Also @ StingrayX5 No fps on console that makes you level up you need skills... You can always play like crap and still level up and that my friend is just one of the accessibility that CoD has and other are trying to emulate..

thesim1990
thesim1990

@GuinessHero It went out of the window a long time ago when so-called investors started rubbing their hands together.

hunter8man
hunter8man

Activision almost had me when they announced Call of the Dead, but I still refuse to support it. I learned my lesson long ago to rent any CoD game.

s_emi_xxxxx
s_emi_xxxxx

I wonder EA/Crytek haven't released their earnings for Crysis 2.

Ansem_Rev
Ansem_Rev

Congrats . The Robots left the cave. I'm not buying this Black Ops game until its 20 bucks or less

VercettiTommyy
VercettiTommyy

it's a nice game but it's sad that this series gets so many sales while other great series such as Penumbra, Amnesia, Cryostasis or STALKER don't. @feature83: very well put

deathwish026
deathwish026

lol only sheeple play black ops as it requires no skill.... childs play

slayersith1720
slayersith1720

im more excited about the D3 news then all the records COD has broke to be honest.

dinslacck
dinslacck

Buy if you want to play. dont buy if you didn'nt want to. and don't complain.

aaronfhff123
aaronfhff123

They should make a COD Black ops 2. it would continue where BO left off but the campaign will be extra long and you can have the ability to switch firre modes and screw silencers and scopes on/off guns. We need better sp and more option in cod games.

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

Congrats to Activision, they made CoD the standard FPS.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I liked Call of Duty Black ops. Not keen on on-line play. Once and a while but that is it. Activision seems to have done well. Hopefully they will be able to make another series. Call of Duty is not going to hold forever.

mikees1
mikees1

hornetine.....Exactly mate, i buy CoD each year for the single player. When thats done its down to the nearest GAME store for trade in, do it early enough and i lose literally a few British pounds. So i've paid like £39.99 completed it then traded it in for say £30.00-£35.00. So completing the single player effectivly cost me £5-£10, a good price for an 8 hour game. Then its back to Bad Company 2 (And im buzzing at the prospect of Battlefield 3, which is going to bury CoD this year!) for my online hit. I despise CoDs online game as its populated by a) Kids who are too young to play it b) Campers who gather at spawn points for cheap easy kills then boast about being top of the scoreboard when in fact they shouldnt because its not skill thats got them there and c) Cheats and modders. I still own WaW and BLOPs just for the Zombies, and even then BLOPs will probably go at some point because the Zombies are not a patch on the WaW version. No doubt i'll end up getting reams of thumbs down for this, but my message to those who do is....When you're old enough that you're buying games from your own pocket (not mummy and daddies) you'll realise CoD is the same churned out crap every year, then maybe you'll realise just how many £40s you've wasted over succesive years lol

Guilotas
Guilotas

Best selling huh? Wow...

Smithers2286
Smithers2286

I'm irritated that Wii owners were promised DLC for Black Ops, and now we're being shafted.

hugonne
hugonne

@Joshua250 I don't think it stopped being new since CoD2 (we've seen a lot of additions since, all copied one way or another by other game studios, and obviously, sometimes even improved), but if it were the case, it's also true for other titles as well, so, yes, they set the standard.

quebec946
quebec946

does these kids know any others shooters excludding halo?

Joshua250
Joshua250

@ShroomyGrl You sound like an insecure crybaby. Your entire argument is one massive non-sequitur where you equate the popularity of CoD to quality and jealousy of people who play superior games. Call of Duty is essentially Lil Wayne, Britney Spears, Drake or Linkin Park - except for games.

Joshua250
Joshua250

@hugonne No it didn't; for people who weren't born yesterday, Call of Duty doesn't do anything new. It stopped being new since CoD 2. Still, despite disliking CoD, I'm happy for its successes. Hopefully the game industry can stablise itself and we can have the quality of games from the Xbox, PS2 and GC era with the improvements from the current era.

StingrayX5
StingrayX5

Hence why I prefer Battlefield more since you actually have to have skill to earn your levels.

hornetine
hornetine

@irti101 Your just a simpleton. Face it, you got bored of Battlefield cuz it ain't a noobfest. How can running around on a 2*4 map not get boring to you. Are people that simple minded. This generation of young gamers are cursed. I do like the single player aspect of COD for its story though. The MP is just too arcadey and simple for me

StingrayX5
StingrayX5

It is an arcade shooter, and more easier to play then Battlefield, IMO that's why it's so popular, If you want more realism, play Battlefield.

hugonne
hugonne

CoD is the best selling FPS for a reason: they set the standard for current FPSs today on the market. The aiming mechanics, the ranking system, even the controller layout. All other shooters do is try to tweak a thing or two in order to "seem" different, while still being ridiculously similar in most aspects of the game.

feature83
feature83

You want to know why MW3 will still beat BF 3 in sales? One reason..... 1. Generations today want everything haned to them on a silver platter. COD is for the simple minded people who just want to jump on and get super easy kills. If any area of thought about "tactics" or "using recoil" properly comes into play, peoples brain will hurt and they will drop it. Simple.