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Call of Duty's $10-million weekend

April 1, 2009 |  6:18 pm
Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War Map Pack 1. Credit: Activision Blizzard

Downloadable content used to be regarded as pennies in the couch compared with sales of packaged disc games sold at retail stores -- nice to have, but not a game changer. That's no longer the case. 

Activision Blizzard, which has sold millions of songs for its Guitar Hero games as downloads on Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live, this morning said it sold 1 million downloads of an add-on to its Call of Duty: World at War game in one weekend. The add-on is essentially a set of four additional levels to the main game, which players can buy the old-fashioned way for $50 to $60 at a Best Buy or Gamestop.

At about $10 a pop, the add-on pulled in nearly $10 million in revenue from March 19 through March 22, the weekend it was released. Activision won't reveal how much of a cut Sony and Microsoft claimed, but the usual take is about 30%, with the remainder going back to publishers. So it's likely that Santa Monica-based Activision netted $7 million.

The Call of Duty add-on is called Map Pack 1, which suggests that there are more maps, and more money, to come.

-- Alex Pham