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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 makes $1 billion--in 16 days

The mega hit reached the milestone a day faster than "Avatar" did.

Modern Warfare 3 is a cash cow for Activision.
Modern Warfare 3 is a cash cow for Activision. Activision

The good news just keeps coming for Activison's Call of Duty franchise.

The game developer announced today that Modern Warfare 3 generated $1 billion in worldwide sales in its first 16 days on store shelves. By comparison, the 2009 blockbuster film "Avatar" reached the $1 billion milestone 17 days after it opened.

Modern Warfare 3, which launched last month, has become the third Call of Duty game in as many years to reach $1 billion in total sales. However, Modern Warfare 2, which launched in 2009, took two months to hit $1 billion in worldwide revenue. Last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops needed 60 days to reach the milestone.

"Call of Duty is now amongst that rarified group of sustained franchises like 'Star Wars,' 'Harry Potter,' 'Lord of the Rings' and the National Football League that attract or engage tens of millions of people every year or every new release," Activision wrote in a statement today announcing Modern Warfare 3 sales.

Modern Warfare 3's success continues to defy critics who say that the time has come for the franchise to try out some fresh ideas, rather than stick to the typical run-and-gun experience that made it so popular initially.

"This is an exciting and rewarding game, but the series' signature thrills have lost some of their luster," Chris Watters, a reviewer at CNET sister site GameSpot wrote in his evaluation of the game. However, he couldn't deny the game's ability to deliver some of the more entertaining moments in gaming this year.

"Modern Warfare 3 iterates rather than innovates, so the fun you have is familiar," he wrote. "Fortunately, it's also utterly engrossing and immensely satisfying, giving fans another reason to rejoice in this busy shooter season."

Modern Warfare 3's latest sales feat comes just a month after Activision announced that Modern Warfare 3 made $400 million in its first 24 hours of availability. Launch day unit sales in the U.S. and U.K. hit a combined 6.5 million units.