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Modern Warfare 2 sales nuke all previous records

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 became the highest grossing launch in entertainment history, pulling in $310 million in the US and UK alone.

By / November 12, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 sold more than 4.7 million copies in 24 hours. One happy customer, Erik Cota walks out of a Redwood City, Calif., video game store with his copy early Nov. 10.

Photo by George Nikitin/AP

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Modern Warfare 2's retail blitzkrieg seems a success. Number crunchers at Activision said today that the highly anticipated video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" broke the record for the most successful entertainment launch of all time. In other words, the mature-rated title about terrorism pulled in more money in one day than any other game, book, album, or movie.

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Let's break down the numbers. Modern Warfare 2 sold 4.7 million copies in the first 24 hours, earning $310 million. Those sales figures only count North America and the UK. Worldwide figures will roll in soon, snowballing well beyond the $155 million that box-office record-breaker "The Dark Knight" raked in during its opening weekend.

As we wrote before, such a comparison may not be entirely fair. The game costs at least $60, whereas the rising prices of movie tickets aren’t quiet there yet. So, “The Dark Knight” needed to pull in about six-times more fans to earn each million-dollar benchmark.

A closer comparison would be last year's "Grand Theft Auto IV," the last video game to shatter the record for "most successful opening in entrainment history." It sold 3.6 million copies – worth $310 million – worldwide in its first weekend.

The game's success can also be measured in its failures. Activision wasn't prepared for the flood of customers playing the game on the PS3. Eager gamers overwhelmed servers, crippling multiplayer matches. Robert Bowling, Creative Strategist for the game, posted on Twitter that "The amount of players on #MW2 [Playstation Network] overwhelmed the PSN presence server which updates 'what you’re doing' and is essential to parties."

Also see:
Netflix PS3 ‘Watch instantly’ to require disc through 2010
Microsoft Natal pricing, release date leaked?

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