Call of Duty: call of record sales

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Picture of the Call of Duty logo projected onto a wallGames maker Activision has declared Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 the best selling computer game of all time. It reached £490m in its first five days on sale, which is certainly a record for the moment until the next biggie comes along - so what happened to this recession, then, and how come people are still paying that much for a video game?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was close behind at £320m, the publisher said.

Distorted market


To an extent this is going to be down to canny marketing. It's blindingly obvious that a company prepared to project its product's name onto a wall as in the picture accompanying this story is going to make a big splash, and of course - get ready to shudder - we're only a month away from Christmas give or take a few days.

Significantly it suggests that although the Game retail chain has announced a fall in sales of 8%, the market itself is buoyant. Nobody needs to be cynical to point out that High Street sales being down overall while e-sales are up doesn't necessarily add up to a net loss; the shape of retail is changing, probably irrevocably, and the High Street can no longer expect to flourish as it did.

The actual number of units sold was about the same as the previous edition so only a limited amount of people have actually started playing for the first time, assuming a few have stopped along the way. Consistent numbers in the current economy, however, is arguably quite an achievement.

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