To date, video-game fans have played Black Ops for a total of more than 600 million hours since Activision Publishing released the game Nov. 9. Black Ops is available for PCs and all the major video-game consoles, including Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii.
Microsoft says the average player logs on to its platform more than once a day and plays for more than one hour each time. More that half of that time is spent playing online against multiple players.
"In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and 'Avatar' have ever achieved the billion-dollar revenue milestone this quickly," Bobby Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard, parent company of Activision Publishing, said Tuesday in a statement. "Avatar" is the 2009 blockbuster 3D movie directed by James Cameron.
Black Ops holds the medal for the largest entertainment launch ever, the best-selling video-game launch on Amazon.com and GameStop, and the most number of players in one day on Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming network -- 2.6 million -- Activision said.
Black Ops brought in a record $360 million in sales during the first 24 hours after its release. The previous record-holder, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, racked up $310 million in day-one sales. Black Ops also set a five-day sales record of $650 million, easily beating the $550 million record held by Modern Warfare 2. The first game in the franchise, Call of Duty, was released in October 2003.
The success of Black Ops is among a string of good news for the video-game industry in the last quarter of what has been a lackluster year. Other popular products that have jumpstarted sales have included the Kinect and the Move, motion-sensing add-ons for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, respectively.
In October, overall sales of the industry at physical retail stores were down 4% year over year, to $1.07 billion, which followed an 8% drop in September and a 10% decrease in August, according to the NPD Group. Sales of Black Ops and the other popular items are expected to help bring overall sales for the industry about level with last year.