Call of Duty 6 aka Modern Warfare 2 aka Call of Duty 4 part 2 - whatever you want to call it, is one of the biggest video games of 2009 and today's release is looking to set some records. Reports coming in from online retailers such as Amazon and Play.com, as well as the queues already seen out on the high streets suggest that copies of the first person shooter are flying out the door at previously unseen rates.
What we do know, is that Activision's claims of "over 750,000 pre orders in the UK alone is set to surpass the 3 million copies mark in its launch week",
Until the first 24 hours are up and the official charts are out, the figures are going to be sketchy but the top first-day sales for non-bundled video games of all time to beat are:
1) Grand Theft Auto IV - 3.7 million copies
2) World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - 2.8 million copies
3) World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - 2.4 million copies
4) Halo 3 - 1.7 million copies
Of course, if Modern Warfare 2 is looking to become the biggest selling game of all time, then it's got one hell of a mountain to climb. Again, ignoring games that came bundled with consoles - eg: Super Mario Bros which effectively sold over 40 million copies - not only have the majority of them been for Nintendo machines but also none of them are first person shooters. They are:
1) Wii Play - 24 million
2) Wii Fit - 23 million
3) Nintendogs (all versions) - 22 million
4) Pokémon Red - 22 million
5) New Super Mario Bros - 20 million
6) Mario Kart Wii - 18 million
7) Super Mario Bros. 3 - 18 million
8) Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day - 17 million
9) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - 17 million
10) Pokémon Diamond and Pearl - 17 million
In fact, the only non-Nintendo top seller has been GTA San Andreas and you have to wait until No.12 before the first PC game comes in as the original The Sims. What seems to be happening is that Nintendo expands the market with its consoles and has the power to create a larger phenomenon when the right games come along. It's well documented that systems like the DS and the Wii are targeted towards a broader and more universal family audience and can therefore pull in the numbers. The top 10 best sellers are quite some testament to the company's strategy.
At the same time, though, the majority of these titles made particularly ground-breaking first day sales. The titles that fly off the shelves are all sequels and all involve fighting. What seems obvious here is that is that it's the hardcore gamers market that supports these releases. Those consumers have had a taste of the original game, loved it and are ready with pre-orders and midnight queues to get the next installment.
There's also something more goal focused about the games, which leads users to need the next installment to continue to enjoy them at that same, intense level. One of the big sells of both WoW expansions is to raise the level cap and give something for players to aim at. Mario Kart and Brain Training players just don't have that same thirst to complete them or to put them down once they have.
Although more intense, this market is definitely smaller. It's more for the purist. The point to see, though, is that just because Modern Warfare 2 might well become the fastest selling game of all time, it's very unlikely it'll set many records beyond.