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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 grosses $400 million on first day

Photo: Gamers wait to buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 at a GameStop in North Las Vegas Monday night. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty ImagesOne of the video game industry's biggest franchises is bringing home even more spoils of war. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 generated $400 million worth of retail sales in the U.S. and Great Britain on its launch day Tuesday -- setting a new industry record.

The eighth entry in the annual military action series sold 6.5 million units in just one day, publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. said.

Last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops generated $360 million in sales on its first day, while 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 took in $310 million. The price for most versions of the game has remained consistent at $60.

Behind the scenes, the Call of Duty franchise has struggled through a dramatic series of events over the last couple of years. The game's co-creators Jason West and Vince Zampella left Activision in 2009 and are now embroiled in lawsuits with the Santa Monica publisher. They also took most of the development talent that worked on Modern Warfare 2 with them to work at a new development studio.

The Activision-owned studio at which they previously worked, Infinity Ward, spent much of 2009 rebuilding its ranks and had to partner with another studio, Sledgehammer Games, to get Modern Warfare 3 finished on time. Reviews have been largely positive, however, though not quite as good as for Modern Warfare 2, according to compilation site Metacritic.

Analyst Evan Wilson of Pacific Crest Securities estimated that Modern Warfare 3 will sell 23 million copies worldwide by the end of 2012, compared with 20 million for Black Ops in the same period last year.

That's good news for Activision Blizzard, which saw its stock take a hit Tuesday on news that its other key franchise, World of Warcraft, is losing subscribers. Wall Street did not seem surprised by the sales news Friday, however, as Activision stock was down 1% at $12.83 in midday trading.

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-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Gamers wait to buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 at a GameStop in North Las Vegas Monday night. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

 
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