Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.

call 1

Once a year, the world goes bloodthirsty. It happened again today as Activision Blizzard launched Call of Duty: Black Ops II around the globe at midnight store openings.

Dressed in military gear (or like zombies), fans came out in droves for special events, multiplayer tournaments, and celebrations. Above, the event in Toronto, Canada, featured a bunch of zombies in military garb. Midnight launches have become such a tradition as video game marketers try to turn their games into real cultural phenonena. Activision said that more than 16,000 retailers around the globe held midnight openings, compared to 10,000 for Halo 4.

All indications are that Black Ops II will match last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, last year’s title, which was the fastest-selling game of all time. Black Ops II preorders are running ahead of Modern Warfare 3. It will be a test to see whether Black Ops II can beat Halo 4, which sold 4 million units and $220 million-worth in its first 24 hours (up from $200 million for Halo: Reach, released in 2010).


GamesBeat Summit 2023

Join the GamesBeat community for our virtual day and on-demand content! You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.

Register Here

So far there don’t appear to be any complaints about multiplayer server access. I’ll be interested to see if Call of Duty and Halo 4 can lift retail sales of games in the month of November. We’ll see if retail can grow again or not as social, mobile, and online games steal market share from it.

Call of Duty has been the top seller during the holiday period each year since 2008, according to the NPD Group. Liam Callahan, an analyst at NPD, said that Call of Duty was 14 percent of all retail game software sales last holiday. Call of Duty has more than 30 million active fans.

[vb_gallery id=573611]

[Image credits: Call of Duty blog]

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.