This broke Activision's previous record of $550 million in worldwide sales for last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and has shattered records across the board in all forms of entertainment, including box office, book and video game sales. This makes Call of Duty the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for two consecutive years. Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, spoke about the record breaking success:
"The number of people playing online and the number of hours they are playing demonstrates how online gaming has become a mainstream form of entertainment and certainly validates Activision Blizzard's leadership role in online entertainment."
In addition to the monetary success at launch, Black Ops has also set two new records on Xbox LIVE. According to Microsoft:
- More than 5.9 million multiplayer hours were logged playing the game by end of the first day at launch.
- More than 2.6 million unique gamers played Black Ops in one day on November 9.
Microsoft is not the only company to reap the benefits of the Black Ops money train. The game is now the best-selling video game launch of all time for both Amazon.com and Gamestop, and the game was also a considered a huge success on the PS3. Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America stated that the game has driven unprecedented levels of traffic to the PlayStation Network so far. And the holiday season is just beginning.
The game's launch was not without its share of controversy, however. Commentators on the ESPN show 1st and 10 discussed at length about whether it was appropriate or not for Kobe Bryant to appear in a television commercial for the game. They noted that the star Lakers shooting guard can be seen in the commercial playing along with the warlike action and firing a weapon. Strangely enough, nobody seemed to mind that talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel can be seen in the same TV spot performing basically similar actions. Regardless, this is a very minor distraction to what is on all other accounts a phenomenally successful game launch.
Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, put it best:
"There are many reasons for the success of Black Ops, but first and foremost is the fact that our team at Treyarch delivered a truly awesome game...There are millions of people all over the world engaging in this community. It's our job to keep them coming back for more."
As gamers, we hope they can do just that.
So, what do you think of Call of Duty: Black Ops? Does it live up to the hype? Does any lingering controversy regarding the advertising for the game mar the gameplay experience for you?
Call of Duty: Black Ops is available now for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC.