Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops generated $650 million in sell-through revenue in its first five days, publisher Activision said Thursday, citing internal estimates.
The military shooter, released on November 9, is tracking ahead of 2009's hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which held Activision's previous five-day worldwide sell-through record of $550 million. Modern Warfare 2 was developed by Activision-owned Call of Duty franchise creator Infinity Ward.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that the success of the game "illustrates the mass appeal of interactive entertainment," as sales figures eclipse not only video game sales records, but also opening five-day sales of theatrical box office and book releases in terms of sell-through dollars.
The exec added, "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."
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, formerly CEO of major advertising firm Deutsche, Inc., added that "Treyarch delivered a truly awesome game, and in the process have established themselves as one of the most talented developers in the world."
Treyarch is also the development studio behind games including Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty 3, and non-Call of Duty games including James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.
Despite those strong initial sales, Activision is waiting to see if the game has legs, as the publisher stated, "given that it is still very early in the holiday shopping season, the company remains cautiously optimistic."
Analyst Colin Sebastian with Lazard Capital Markets is optimistic of continued strong performance for the game, already concluding that the game has "legs." "We believe that the title is on track to exceed our 4Q unit shipment estimate of 16 million units," he said in a research note following Activision's sell-through announcement.
Activision and Microsoft also said that the game set two new records for online gaming on Microsoft's Xbox Live: There were over 5.9 million multiplayer hours logged in for Black Ops by the end of the title's opening day, and over 2.6 million unique gamers played the game on day one.
Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton also called Black Ops "an incredible success" on PlayStation 3, while retailer GameStop's CEO J. Paul Raines said it's the company's "biggest video game launch ever, which bodes well for game sales as we enter the holidays."