Taking into consideration just North America and the UK, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's launch could be considered a resounding success. Two days after Infinity Ward's modern military shooter's November 10 launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, Activision said that the game had sold 4.7 million units in the two aforementioned territories in 24 hours, generating revenue in the neighborhood of $310 million.
Today, Activision returned to provide more blockbuster Modern Warfare 2 sales statistics. According to the publisher's internal estimates, Modern Warfare 2 generated $550 million during its first five days on the market, a figure that sets a new entertainment record for the period. Activision did not provide a unit-sales update, however, and had not responded to requests for clarification as of press time.
The publisher did make claim to a variety of first- and five-day entertainment records spanning movies, books, and games. Beginning with the most direct comparison, Activision claims Modern Warfare 2 bested Grand Theft Auto IV's first-day worldwide game sales records of 3.6 million units and $310 million. The game also apparently busted GTAIV's five-day global haul of 6 million units on $500 million of gross revenue.
As for other media, Activision said that Modern Warfare 2 broke Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's five-day global box-office record of $394 million. The game also eclipsed The Dark Knight's first- and five-day domestic theatrical opening, which stood at $66.4 million and $203.8 million, respectively. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows' first-day book sales record of $220 million was also surpassed.
In terms of usage, Activision said that more than 5.2 million hours of multiplayer matches were played through Xbox Live on November 10. The publisher also noted Xbox Live's new concurrent user record of 2.2 million following Modern Warfare 2's launch, before saying that some 11 million achievements were earned within 24 hours.
[UPDATE] According to the Los Angeles Times, Modern Warfare 2's success didn't come cheap. The paper reports that the game had a budget between $40 million and $50 million before the cost of worldwide marketing, disc production, and distribution to retailers. Once those costs and the royalties paid to Microsoft and Sony are factored in, the game's final overall budget is estimated at around $200 million. The figure means that Activision spent far more producing, distributing, and marketing Modern Warfare 2 than it did developing it.
Check out GameSpot's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 launch center for more on the top-selling shooter.