An image of a smartphone with a spreadsheet on the display
Markets

The Billion-Dollar Game

A billion dollars isn't that much, really, in a world where banks routinely trade trillions of dollars of derivatives and the Federal Reserve loans $7.7 trillion to backstop failing banks. Still, it's a pretty astonishing amount of money for a single digital product to earn. In this case, the product joining that rarified club is the blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

It took just over two weeks for the game to break through that milestone, according to a release from publishers Activision Blizzard ( ATVI ). Indeed, it beat the previous entertainment release record holder, the film Avatar, to a billion dollars by a single day.

Bobby Kotick, the often-irascible chief executive officer of the company, said in the statement that the Call of Duty series "has made an indelible mark on popular culture and its broad and continued success is further validation that audiences increasingly value interactive experiences over passive experiences."

Perhaps appropriately, critics have actually called out the series for its lack of gameplay freedom and innovation - certainly, there's no doubt that the main campaign focuses on bombast and spectacle over gameplay innovation. There's a minor controversy raging on the popular rating aggregation site Metacritic , where the game holds a solid 88/100 rating from known, published game reviewers but suffers from its 3.2/10 rating at the hands of individual gamers.

Of course, with $1 billion in sales some of those 2,500 angry user reviewers probably bought the game, so to Bobby Kotick, it's probably a moot point.

The general cultural reaction to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can be summed up in Woody Allen's quip about sex without love: "as empty experiences go, it's one of the best."

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Other Topics

Technology