GameStop Q3 profits hit $52 million, Modern Warfare 2 sets record

World's largest specialty retailer says Infinity Ward's shooter sold 2.5M units in 72 hours at its stores; quarterly earnings hit $1.8 billion.

Among the first of many records that Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 smashed this month was GameStop's high mark for most-preordered game. Following its November 10 debut, the first-person shooter went on to achieve opening-week sales of $550 million, besting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's five-day global box-office record of $394 million and Grand Theft Auto IV's week-one global haul of $500 million, among other achievements.

A man falling, or a vertical high five?

Now, Modern Warfare 2 has yet one more feather to add to its cap. As part of GameStop's third-quarter earnings report today, the gaming retailer said that Activision and Infinity Ward's acclaimed shooter has achieved the biggest launch in the company's history. GameStop said that it sold more than 2.5 million copies of Modern Warfare 2 at its stores worldwide within 72 hours of release.

As GameStop's third quarter expires October 31, Modern Warfare 2's success won't be reflected until the specialty retailer's next fiscal period. Still, GameStop turned in a solid earnings report today, announcing Q3 revenues hit $1.83 billion, an 8.2 percent increase from the year-ago period. Net income for the period rose 11.8 percent to $52.2 million, thanks largely to a 19.4 percent uptick in used-product sales.

The retailer's top-five performers for the August-October period won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who follows the NPD Group's monthly sales reports. GameStop's top-selling games, all of which met or exceeded the company's expectations, were EA's Madden NFL 10, Microsoft's Halo 3: ODST, WBIE's Batman: Arkham Asylum, 2K Sports' NBA 2K10, and Nintendo's Wii Sports Resort.

Looking ahead, GameStop expressed optimism over its sales prospects during the holiday shopping period. The company said that strong starts from Modern Warfare 2, as well as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Assassin's Creed 2 portend healthy fourth-quarter earnings. As such, GameStop reaffirmed its guidance range of $1.47-$1.65 earnings per share during the quarter, with a full-year EPS forecast of $2.45 to $2.63.

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