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Call of Duty passes $US1b revenue in 15 days – beating Hollywood's Avatar

Activision Blizzard says its video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II has grossed $US1 billion sales in 15 days – nosing ahead of the 16 days-to-a-billion record sent by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 last year.

The company has reeled off a list of brag stats:

  • BlackOps II has beaten the box office record for a feature film to reach $US1 billion. James Cameron's Avatar took 17 days.
  • Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars'' the two most successful movie franchises of all time.
  • Since Call of Duty was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top-10 grossing films of 2012 combined.

There's no doubt the game sector is hot. Males who played arcade games in the 1980s never stopped gaming. And the rise of social media and tablet-based games has now drawn women in equal numbers.

But it's also try that while Call of Duty is smashing records, few other games get close to its tally (one is Microsoft's Halo series; in November, Halo 4 grossed $US220 in 24 hours and $US300 million in its first week).

And while games sell for more up front (BlackOps II costs between $NZ95 and $NZ105), and gain some revenue from the likes of in-game sales and in some cases fees for multiplayer gaming, movies often double their box office through DVD sales, broadcast TV rights and (nascently) onliine sales.

Mr Dotcom made it to the Top 50 in one BlackOps global online leaderboard, but never warmed to the single or multiplayer versions of the game.

And his stock didn't pan out.

Activision's shares  [NAS:ATVI] have risen $US10.56 to $US11.28 since BlackOps II was released, taking its market cap from $US12 billion to $US12.5 billion (or 12.5 times earnings and 3.5 times revenue).

However, over the past year the company's stock performance has been mixed.

While Call of Duty and other titles have performed strongly, Activision has struggled to stem defections from World of Warcraft, its massive online game that has around 10 million players on a monthly subscription (down from a high of 12 million).

The sluggish economy and the rise of free and "freemium" tablet and smartphones games have not helped.

Shares were up a modest 0.13% today on news of BlackOps hitting the $US1 billion mark.

Comments and questions

Isn't it sad that everything is measured by money. Sadly, blockbuster movies tend to more often than not be utter stinkers and innovation in video gaming seems to be limited to a few select titles, with most becoming vanilla immitations of each other.

Why does it always have to be compared to Avatar? The Avengers made $1.5 billion.

Black ops 2 offers an incredible gaming experience. In my opinion, one of the greatest games of all time.