Modern Warfare 3 ready to blow away game-sales record

Launching next week, the game should best its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops, to take the crown of the bestselling game of all time, an analyst says.

Don Reisinger
Former 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
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is launching next week.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is launching next week. Activision/Infinity Ward

Get ready for another blockbuster Call of Duty launch.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said in a research note yesterday that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which is scheduled to hit store shelves next week, will likely become the bestselling game this year, and could very well beat out its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops, in total sales.

"If Modern Warfare 3 receives strong review scores, it should at least match predecessor Black Ops' sales (over 25 million units) due to the network effect," Pachter said. In a follow-up interview with IndustryGamers, Pachter said he thinks Modern Warfare 3 will outsell Black Ops by 10 percent during its first six weeks of availability and generate a total of $1.1 billion during that time.

If that happens, Modern Warfare 3 will become the bestselling game of all time, beating out Black Ops, which generated $1 billion during its first six weeks on store shelves. That title took the crown from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Saying that a Call of Duty game will outsell all other titles isn't much of a stretch. But the fact that the franchise can keep its streak going is a surprise, given its recent history.

When Modern Warfare 2 launched, Infinity Ward, the Activision-owned developer that built the game, was celebrated for its feat. However, soon after, Infinity Ward's top executives, Jason West and Vince Zampella, were fired from Activision after the company claimed that they were meeting with Electronic Arts to start a new studio that would be affiliated with that publisher. West and Zampella have denied those claims and are engaged in a lawsuit against Activision.

After West and Zampella were ousted from Activision, many wondered if the Call of Duty franchise would ever reach the heights Modern Warfare 2 enjoyed. However, last year's successful launch of Black Ops, which was developed by another Activision studio, Treyarch, proved there was a life for Call of Duty beyond West and Zampella.

But this year the stakes appear to be higher, considering Modern Warfare 3 has been developed by Infinity Ward, sans West and Zampella. And as the follow-up to Modern Warfare 2, the game will likely be put under a microscope as comparisons between the two titles are drawn.

Modern Warfare 3 is slated to launch Tuesday. It'll be available for all major consoles and the PC.