New "Call of Duty" game has first-day sales of $500 million

Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:26am EST
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(Reuters) - The latest "Call of Duty" videogame had worldwide sales of more than $500 million in the first 24 hours of its release, a new record, game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc said on Friday.

Shares of Activision rose about 3 percent following the news, even after the company said it remains cautious about the rest of 2012 and 2013 due to the macro-economic environment.

The note of caution likely means Activision is preparing to provide 2013 financial targets that are below Wall Street expectations, Brean Murray, Carret & Co analyst Todd Mitchell said. But he expects a strong fourth quarter.

"The combination of the strong 'Call of Duty' and good indications on 'Skylander' (another Activision game) points to a very strong quarter," Mitchell said.

While "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" had first-day sales of more than $500 million, Microsoft Corp's sci-fi action-shooter "Halo 4," launched a week earlier, had sales of $220 million on its first day.

In 2011, Activision reported first-day sales of about $400 million in North America and the UK for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," and sales of $1 billion after 16 days.

North America and the UK are Activision's biggest markets, according to Hudson Square analyst Daniel Ernst.

Mitchell said, "I assume the sell-through on ("Black Ops II") will be strong enough that it beats last year's launch when you look at first-week sales"

Activision, the world's largest videogame publisher, raised its earnings outlook last week on expectations for strong holiday sales of the new "Call of Duty.   Continued...