Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 smashed more than just game-industry records upon its launch for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in November. Generating some $550 million within its first five days on the market, the Infinity Ward-developed first-person shooter sailed past top earners within the film and book industry, giving Activision cause to lay claim to the title of "biggest entertainment launch in history."
Activision has now provided some perspective on just how big Call of Duty has become. Over the holiday weekend, the publisher announced that the Call of Duty franchise has pulled in more than $3 billion at retail worldwide, according to industry-tracking groups NPD, Chart-Track, and GfK, as well as Activision's own internal estimates. Beginning with 2003's acclaimed original, the series has sold more than 55 million units globally.
The Call of Duty franchise's achievement can largely be attributed to the three most recent installments in the series. In 2007, Infinity Ward rebooted the World War II-centric series it created with its contemporary-set Modern Warfare, a game that has now sold more than 14 million units. Activision's Treyarch studio returned to the WWII era with World at War in 2008, a game that used the same engine as Modern Warfare and achieved sales in excess of 11 million.
Activision has yet to provide an exact global sales figure in terms of units for Modern Warfare 2. However, the publisher did say that Infinity Ward's latest sold 4.7 million units within 24 hours in the US, UK, and Canada, earning some $310 million in the process. The game's prevalence has also been evidenced by its popularity with online networks, as Microsoft announced that it had achieved a new record of 2 million concurrent Xbox Live users following the game's launch.
Check out GameSpot's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Launch Center for more on the top-rated shooter.