Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Modern Warfare 2 breaks UK record

Daniel Emery attended the Leicester Square premiere of Call of Duty

Much-hyped video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has smashed UK sales records on its first day of release.

The first-person shooter sold an estimated 1.23 million units and grossed around £47m, according to industry body Elspa.

The game sold almost double that of the previous record holder, Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV).

Hundreds of gamers gathered at shops around the world ahead of its release at 00:00 GMT on 10 November.

"These first day sales figures are astonishing and clear evidence that videogames are now mainstream in the UK," said Michael Rawlinson, director general of the entertainment and leisure software publishers association (Elspa).

"Our form of interactive entertainment has completely come of age."

The publishers of Modern Warfare 2, Activision, have predicted total sales of 3m across the UK while some analysts believe it could sell 10m copies globally in the run up to Christmas.

Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision, described it as "one of the largest entertainment launches of any media of all time".

Modern Warfare 2 is the sixth instalment in the Call of Duty series and gives players the chance to be a member of a military strike force that takes on a Russian ultra-nationalist terrorist group.

The game has drawn criticism because one section, prefaced by a warning screen, involves a player joining a massacre of civilians at an airport.

Labour MP Keith Vaz condemned the game saying he was "absolutely shocked" by its violence.

In response, Activision said the scene was "not representative of overall experience".

Labour MP Tom Watson has set up a Facebook group to defend games such as Call of Duty from their critics.

"This is specifically intended for an adult audience and accordingly has emotional, adult content," said Mr Rawlinson.

"As an 18-rated videogame, it is important that this game is not played by children, and parents should be appropriately vigilant."

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