It’s been a long time coming, but Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has finally hit store shelves as of midnight last night. Despite a rough ride it’s had the past few weeks with several controversies springing up, it appears that CoD:MW2 is going to break all kinds of sales records in the days to come. Even before its release it was setting new highs:
Noting that buzz has “been consistently strong” for the title over the four weeks preceding its launch, the data gathering firm said that MW2 had unaided awareness levels in gamers six times higher than historical benchmark titles. Aided awareness numbers were almost triple that of the average videogame (71% to 26%).
46% of all gamers aware of MW2 reported seeing TV ads last week while 30% reported hearing info on the game from a friend or co-worker.
While an average game release has about 3% of gamers indicating they would pick up the title in the first week of release, the number jumps to 9-12% for MW2.
As I mentioned earlier, the game hasn’t been without its controversies as of late starting with the revelation through various interviews that the PC version of the game would not have a dedicated server option unlike all previous versions of CoD and that PC multiplayer matches would be limited to a paltry 9 vs. 9 maximum.
Needless to say this started a firestorm among the PC crowd faithful with some folks canceling their pre-orders and one person going so far as to mail a check for $60, the amount he would have paid for CoD:MW2, to rival developer DICE who plan to have a dedicated server option for their upcoming Battlefield: Bad Company 2. There’s also the near-mandatory Facebook boycott page. Alas, the PC version of the game will probably be a relatively small portion of the sales so any boycotts will probably be ineffective at best.
Another controversy, one that’s likely to garner no small amount of media attention (FOX News is already going to air a segment on it later this morning), is one that came about due to leaked footage of a sequence depicting a terrorist act at an airport from the game. I won’t go into too much detail so as to avoid potential story spoilers, but it’s an optionally interactive sequence that has what many consider to be some disturbing violence in it. Activision was quick to hit sites carrying the video clip with take down notices and Infinity Ward put out a short statement saying the scene is out of context and that players should wait until they play the game before passing judgment.
Yeah, like that’s going to happen. The debate has been raging on pretty much since the footage was first leaked and is likely to be a major focus of the news media reports in the days to come. The amazing thing is that none of this appears to have had any impact on enthusiasm to buy the game:
The seemingly constant storm clouds surrounding the upcoming Activision-published and Infinity Ward-developed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 have not done much, if anything, to negatively influence pre-sales of the title.
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter thinks the title can reap global sales of in excess of $500 million in its first week of release reports Industry Gamers. Pachter also believes that the game could sell over 10.0 million units in this year’s fourth quarter.
Across the pond, MCVUK talks about the Modern Warfare 2 selling 1.7 million units in its first week at retail in the UK, citing pre-order numbers for the game at around 500,000 already. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV currently holds the UK mark for unit sales in a week, with 926,000, a number that MW2 could obliterate. Factor in the rising price (suggested retail prices at least) of videogames in the UK and MW2 setting a record for gross dollars culled at launch seems almost a given.
I suppose it all goes back to the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. As for myself it’ll probably be awhile before I pick the game up due to my annual suspension of buying stuff for myself before Christmas tradition, but, even though the PC version is limited to 9 vs 9 multiplayer without any dedicated server option, I’ll probably still pick it up at some point. I’m a long-time fan of the series and all the reviews are saying this one doesn’t disappoint. Until then I will have to content myself with Call of Duty: World at War.