Video game becomes biggest entertainment release ever

Brad Johannsen, Guest Writer

What if the biggest entertainment launch in history wasn’t a James Cameron film, a pop-stars multiplatinum CD or even a piece of revolutionary computer software? What if the biggest entertainment launch in history is actually a video game?

Call of Duty: Black Ops, a video game released Nov. 9, generated an estimated $360 million in just 24 hours, according to a press release from the game’s publisher, Activision. If those numbers hold up, then the game surpasses every entertainment launch in history, including movies, books and music. In North America and the United Kingdom, approximately 5.6 million copies were sold in one day, according to the Associated Press. The game is also on track to topple the previous weekly records set by the game’s predecessor, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in late 2009.

Norman Roberson, a senior at Francis Marion and an avid gamer, said that he was happy this video game holds the unofficial record.

“I love it when records get broken, especially when something is deserving of the fame,” Roberson said. “Video games have been great for years so it’s nice to see one get some real recognition.”

GameStop, the world’s leading video game retailer, opened more than 4,400 stores at midnight to allow eager consumers early access to Black Ops. GameStop was not alone as Best Buy, the electronics retailer powerhouse, held midnight openings in over 700 stores nationwide in anticipation of what they call the most anticipated entertainment launch of year.

“This is the hottest release of the year and we’re thrilled to be able to open more of our stores early to give customers the chance be among the first to own it,” Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of the home entertainment group at Best Buy, said.

Midnight launches for extremely popular video games, such as the Call of Duty series, often attract hundreds of people per store.

Troy Giles, a recent FMU graduate, waited in line for over an hour Monday night in Sumter, S.C. for his early copy of the game, and said that his local GameStop saw over 100 people show up to wait in line.

Phil Griffin, an employee at the Florence GameStop on Irby St., said that his store saw over 150 people turn out Monday night with some individuals showing up as early as 9 p.m.

“Black Ops has been our most pre-ordered game in recent years,” Griffin said. “I’ve never seen that many people line up for one game. Our store alone saw over 400 pre-orders, and that’s a record for us.”

Within 24 hours of the game’s release, almost 3 million gamers were playing online at once via Xbox Live gaming service.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is the seventh game in the main Call of Duty series and is currently available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Windows PC. Black Ops is also available for the Nintendo Wii and DS.