While it may have been easy to predict, we can now confirm that Activision's wildly popular Call of Duty series is still the one the beat. The latest title in the CoD franchise -- Black Ops II -- notched over $500 million in worldwide sales during the first 24 hours of its release, more than doubling that of Halo 4's launch, which raked in $220 million on its launch day.
"With first day sales of over half a billion dollars worldwide, we believe Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment launch of the year for the fourth year in a row," said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard, Inc. "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. Given the challenged macro-economic environment, we remain cautious about the balance of 2012 and 2013."
We're not sure about Kotick's strategy of insinuating that Call of Duty is more popular than Star Wars (he may have a geek revolt on his hands), but his point is well taken. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, said in a related statement that "Call of Duty has become more than a product people buy, it's a brand people buy into." We have no argument with that.
Black Ops II launched on November 13, 2012, with more than 16,000 midnight openings at retail stores around the world. It was a top trending topic on Twitter in 23 cities, and continuing the social media blitz, there have been more than 30 million YouTube video views of the game's live-action "Surprise" launch trailer since it was released on October 29, 2012, Activision said.
CoD: Black Ops II is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC.