It's no secret that the Call of Duty franchise is a behemoth. The most recent entry--Modern Warfare 3--minted over $1 billion in just 16 days and helped GameStop do over $3 billion during its holiday period. According to Microsoft, the Call of Duty franchise also dominated its Xbox Live online space in 2011.
Microsoft's director of Xbox Live programming, Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, has released a chart of the most popular Xbox Live titles of 2011 as ranked by unique users, and the Call of Duty series claimed the top three spots.
Call of Duty: Black Ops was the most played game of 2011 on Xbox Live, with Modern Warfare 3 taking the number two spot, followed by Modern Warfare 2. Rounding out the top five are Halo: Reach and Battlefield 3, taking spots four and five respectively. The full list of the top Xbox Live titles of 2011 is available below.
In addition to parsing statistics related to console Xbox 360 titles, Major Nelson provided a list of best-selling Xbox Live Arcade titles. This list is led by Pinball FX 2 (a free download) and Full House Poker, with Castle Crashers, Fruit Ninja Kinect, and From Dust rounding out the top five in that order.
For the rest of Microsoft's 2011 popularity lists--which include top Games for Windows games, indie games, and Windows Phone games--check out Major Nelson's blog.
Top Xbox Live games of 2011 (based on number of unique users):
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
4. Halo: Reach
5. Battlefield 3
6. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
7. Gears of War 3
8. FIFA 12
9. FIFA 11
10. Madden NFL 12
Top Xbox Live Arcade titles of 2011 (based on full versions purchased):
1. Pinball FX 2
2. Full House Poker
3. Castle Crashers
4. Fruit Ninja Kinect
5. From Dust
6. Trials HD
7. Magic: The Gathering -- Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012
8. Dead Rising 2: Case West
10. Toy Soldiers: Cold War