Modern Warfare 2 tops entertainment industry, not just games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was one of this year's most anticipated titles, but Activision figures now estimate that its launch was even bigger than expected.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is enjoying big success. Infinity Ward

If you think Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has had a major impact on just the video game industry, you may need to adjust your expectations.

According to Activision Blizzard, the game's publisher, Modern Warfare 2 has set records across the entire entertainment industry.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the "biggest entertainment launch in history," Activision said in a statement. In its first five days of availability, the game set a worldwide record with about $550 million in sales, according to internal Activision figures. It's impressive. But more impressive is the list of launches that it beat out.

In the first five days of availability, Modern Warfare 2 has eclipsed the largest worldwide box-office opening, held by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which tallied $394 million over its first five days. It also beat "The Dark Knight," which holds the U.S. box-office record with $203.8 million in first five-day sales.

The game also narrowly trumped Grand Theft Auto IV, which captured $500 million in sales in its first five days of availability.

In other words, Modern Warfare 2 has had a major release.

The game's success also translated to major numbers on Xbox Live. Activision reported that "more than 5.2 million multiplayer hours were logged playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the first day alone." On November 10, 2.2 million unique gamers played on Xbox Live, setting a new one-day record for the online-gaming platform.

Of course, it should be noted that all these figures come from Activision's internal estimates, which might differ from the NPD Group's official totals when it announces November video-game sales.

But until then, Activision can (rightfully so) celebrate Modern Warfare 2's success. And maybe the video-game industry, which has always received second billing to film in the entertainment space, can finally stake its claim to the top spot. Video games are, based on Modern Warfare 2's success, just as viable an entertainment platform as movies.