The decline of Call of Duty is a well documented phenomenon. The only problem is, it looks like sales are back on the up.
Activision has revealed that retail sales of Black Ops III are up both on last year's Advanced Warfare and 2013's commercially disappointing Ghosts. Digital sales of the game are nearly double those of Advanced Warfare.
Overall the game generated revenues of over $550m in its first three days. It has also set a new record for day one full-game sales on the PlayStation Network.
Comparisons are difficult due to the different metrics that Activision sues each year. Ghosts was said to have sold more than $1bn of stock into retail on day one”, although its launch sales were severely down year-on-year. 2012's Black Ops II, however, sold $500m worth of units in its first day. In 2011, Modern Warfare 3 generated $400m in the UK and US alone on day one, shifting 6.5m units in the process.
Activision has not confirmed any actual unit sales numbers for Black Ops III, much like Microsoft has chosen to do with Halo 5: Guardians. We do know that Black Ops III pre-orders were up year-on-year, bucking ongoing predictions of decline for the series.
The publisher has added that users are playing Black Ops III for longer than any previous COD title (which, in corporate terms is described as the ‘highest per player engagement ever recorded for COD), clocking 75m hours online between them in the first three days.
"Call of Duty's millions of passionate fans have shown us, yet again, the strength of their commitment to this enduring franchise," Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said. "Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the biggest entertainment launch this year in any medium, and bigger than any theatrical opening weekend ever.”
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg added: "The Call of Duty: Black Ops III launch is bigger than any game, any movie, or any entertainment launch this year. But more importantly, our fans are engaging more deeply with the franchise than ever before.
"Call of Duty is more than a game, it's a year round passion for a growing base of millions of fans and it's only gaining momentum.”
SCEA's VP of publisher and developer relations Adam Boyes, meanwhile, also chipped in: "As we‘ve said from the start, PlayStation is the best place to play Call of Duty, and this record-breaking launch shows how true this statement is. Black Ops III is the biggest launch of the year so far, and the PlayStation Nation is ready. We're proud to call PlayStation the home of Call of Duty and look forward to supporting our community with DLC map pack content first."