Just over two months ago, Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in stores around the world. It instantly became a best-seller, garnering an estimated $550 million in its first five days and dominating the November sales charts.
The game continued to sell well throughout the holiday season, as today Activision announced that its own estimates have the game's cumulative sales total breaking the $1 billion mark in just two months on shelves. To put that into some perspective, that's nearly as much as the entire US console and handheld gaming industry brought in for the month of October. That's also more than Capcom made for its last fiscal year, which saw the releases of blockbusters like Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5.
The success of Modern Warfare 2 may be overwhelming, but it's far from unexpected, as the Call of Duty franchise has seen considerable growth in recent years. 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.
Modern Warfare 2 isn't the first Activision game to surpass $1 billion at retail. The publisher's 2007 release Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock made it to the milestone as well, but only after 14 months on shelves. It took the competing Rock Band franchise 15 months to hit the $1 billion mark, including everything from $200 band kits to $2 downloadable songs.