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'Call of Duty' breaks $3 billion sales mark

Activision's video game franchise has sold 55 mil units

SAN FRANCISCO -- Activision Blizzard Inc. said its "Call of Duty" video game franchise has pushed past the $3 billion mark in global retail sales.

Overall, the "Call of Duty" series has sold more than 55 million units since its launch in 2003, Activision said Friday, citing data compiled by NPD Group, Charttrack, GfK and internal company estimates.

The company released the sixth title in the series, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," earlier this month to record-breaking results. The first-person shooter game recorded an estimated $550 million in sales in its first five days on the market. It sold 4.7 million copies on the first day in the United States and United Kingdom alone.

"If you consider the number of hours our audiences are engaged in playing 'Call of Duty' games, it is likely to be one of the most viewed of all entertainment experiences in modern history," Activision chief executive Bobby Kotick said.

Activision shares rose more than 1% on Friday in late morning trade on the Nasdaq, even as shares of competitors Electronic Arts Inc. and Take Two Interactive Software Inc. fell more than 2%. Shares of Santa Monica-based Activision rose 13 cents to $11.69.