Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 takes $1bn in sales

Screenshot from Modern Warfare 2, Activision/Blizzard
The game puts the player in the role of present-day combat troops

Video game Modern Warfare 2 has become one of only a handful of entertainment franchises to take more than $1bn (£625m)in revenue, its publishers say.

It went on sale in November and made an estimated $550m in its first five days.

The sales put it alongside other $1bn titles such as Guitar Hero III and World of Warcraft, also owned by publisher Activision.

It also puts it alongside other entertainment franchises such as the recent 3D science fiction smash Avatar.

The film's takings as of 04 January make it the fourth-biggest film ever made.

Ahead of it are Titanic ($1.8bn; £1.1bn), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12bn; £695m) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($1.07bn; £664m).

However, direct comparisons between films and video games are difficult as games typically retail for between three and five times the cost of a cinema ticket.

The first-person-shooter game is the sixth instalment in the Call of Duty series.

It was criticised at launch for a section, prefaced by a warning screen, where a player joins a massacre of civilians at an airport.

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

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

It has since become the best-selling videogame of 2009 in the UK, according to industry body Elspa.

"The phenomenal success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was undoubtedly one of the leading entertainment stories of the year and firmly established videogames as one of the leading forms of entertainment in the UK," said Michael Rawlinson, Director General, Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA).

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