Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 videogame sales begin


The game almost did not happen after dozens of the staff resigned last year

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The latest addition to one of the world's best selling videogame series went on sale in the UK at midnight.

More than 500 stores held special openings to let gamers buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops, generated more than $1bn (£620m) of global sales over the first six weeks of its launch.

However, troubles at the studio behind the new title have threatened to overshadow its release.

The latest game follows on from events in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Players take on the role of special forces resisting a Russian invasion of the United States and Europe.

The campaign is set across locations in England, France and Germany as well as Africa, India and the Middle East.


Modern Warfare 3 is the first title in two years to be developed by Infinity Ward, the creator of the Call of Duty series.

Game's Oxford Street store in London Shoppers queued at midnight to be among the first to own the Call of Duty sequel

Critics are keen to discover if staffing changes at the California-based studio affected the product.

Activision fired Infinity Ward's founders, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, in 2010 accusing them of misconduct. The firm later described them as "insubordinate and self-serving schemers" who had negotiated with rivals while under contract.

The two men sued their ex-employer seeking unpaid royalty payments and damages. Activision countersued, alleging that the men had held secret talks with Electronic Arts.

A court in Los Angeles is set to consider the case in May 2012.

Mr West and Mr Zampella went on to set up a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, which signed a publishing and distribution rights deal with EA.

Several of Infinity Ward's other employees also moved to the new studio. Respawn's website reveals that 40 members of its staff previously worked on the Modern Warfare series.

Activision brought in one of its other teams - Sledgehammer Games - to help the remaining Infinity Ward workers complete Modern Warfare 3.

Several members of Sledgehammer's team had helped develop the highly regarded Dead Space series, helping restore gamers confidence in the project.


There is now huge interest in what they have been able to deliver.

A trailer of the new game, posted on YouTube on 21 October, has already attracted more than four million hits.

Battlefield 3 Call of Duty faces competition from EA's Battlefield 3

IHS Screen Digest predicts the title will sell more than 20 million copies worldwide before the end of the year, despite competition from EA's rival title, Battlefield 3, which was released over the last fortnight.

"It's not just about day one sales for these types of games - there's a heavy online-multiplayer aspect," said Steve Bailey, an analyst at Screen Digest.

"Gamers pay for enhanced subscription services such as Call of Duty: Elite's extra social/profile features, or direct-purchase other content such as map packs.

"The true test will be taking place over the next six months to a year, where we see who can support the gaming community best, retaining and engaging an audience in an ongoing fashion."

Not everyone has been willing to wait. French media reported that thousands of copies were stolen in a Paris heist, and pirated versions of the game have been spotted online.

Other titles fighting for a place at the top of the Christmas games charts include Skyrim, the fifth entry in the Elder Scrolls role-playing series, and the action adventure Batman: Arkham City.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Been playing BF3 for the last week and a bit and it is VERY good. Can't see MW3 matching it. For me there is a place for both games though and I am still looking forward to going home tonight to start MW3 :-)
    Although Skyrim will be my game of 2011... At least it will be a single player that lasts >5hrs

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Haven't played MW2 and won't be going out of my way to buy MW3. Having two kids now has put a stop to any sort of hours long gaming. The first game I bought in more than a year was Crysis 2, which I have played three times in the past two months :( The next game I will buy is Syndicate >:-) Brutal... That will trump all these games...

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The game like every other modern war games is vastly over hyped. I don't know why people bother to queue through the night for this game

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    A friend bought it last night, played it at silly-o'clock this morning. I have to report..... it's a good 'un!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Lost interest after Call of Duty 4, which is still my firm favourite of the series. The emphasis in the following games on a 'run and gun' attitude rather than teamwork made the multiplayer too shallow.

    Battlefield 3 has been awesome so far though - I will be trial running MW3 on Xbox 360 but I can't see it competing in all honesty, short of a complete multiplayer overhaul.


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