'Call of Duty: Black Ops II' Earns Record $500 Million in First Day Sales

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"Black Ops 2" could sell 20 million units by year’s end.

For the fourth year in a row, Activision breaks records and is well on its way to another billion-dollar haul.

Activision Publishing has set another entertainment record with the launch of developer Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The new game, which features performance capture from Sam Worthington, Michael Keaton, Rich McDonald and Tony Todd, earned more than $500 million at retailers worldwide in its first 24 hours, according to Chart-Track data and internal Activision data.

Black Ops II, which was written by David S. Goyer, obliterated the $220 million that Microsoft’s Halo 4, developed by 343 Industries, made just last week in its first day of sales.

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“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."

On November 13, 2012, millions of fans attended more than 16,000 midnight openings at retail stores worldwide. Actor James C. Burns, who plays Sergeant Frank Woods, was at the Los Angeles launch, while actor Michael Rooker, who plays Harper in the game, attended the Amsterdam premiere.

“Coming off Black Ops, the team was energized and thrived on the creative freedom of exploring a new time period of 2025 with new weapons and vehicles and how that translated to gameplay, especially in multiplayer,” said Mark Lamia, Tryeyarch Studio Head. “Drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence all play a vital role in warfare and provide powerful combinations of power in multiplayer. Black Ops II offers the most ambitious and best multiplayer game we’ve ever made.”

Reflecting the wave of excitement that swept the globe, Call of Duty: Black Ops II drove social conversation in its first 24 hours as it was a top trending topic globally on Twitter in 23 cities worldwide. Additionally, there have been more than 30 million YouTube video views of the game's live-action “Surprise” launch trailer since its release on October 29, 2012. That trailer was directed by Guy Ritchie and featured a cameo by Robert Downey Jr. The game has also received critical praise with a Metacritic score of 84 for Xbox 360 and 83 for PlayStation 3.

"Call of Duty has become more than a product people buy, it's a brand people buy into. And every November we do more than just the launch of a game, we kick off an annual, unofficial but worldwide phenomenon called the Call of Duty season," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. "I want to thank our incredible team at Treyarch for making an amazing game, everyone at Activision for making this brand a force of nature and our retail partners for their unprecedented support of this franchise. But most importantly I want to thank our millions of fans for their continued support and loyalty and for making us better every day."

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is available in three different variations for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game also launched for PC and will be available for the Nintendo Wii U launch on November 18. Activision also launched a Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified for PlayStation Vita. 

Michael Pachter, video game analyst for Wedbush Securities, forecasts that Activision will sell 20 million copies of Black Ops II worldwide before the end of this year.