Saying that video games are a big business is probably the understatement of the century. The video game industry is worth billions of dollars, making stacks of money for any lucky developer that happens to have the staff that are able to come up with the next big game. One of the most disproportionately high earners in terms of genre is that the war game genre, specifically the first-person shooter kind. This can only mean one thing: Call of Duty and Battlefield ruling the roost. This is reflected in the stupendous sales figures for these games franchises. This article lays down some of the dizzying figures involves including revenue, copies sold, and more information about the developers behind the games.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
It's hard to argue against a game that has sold well over 23 million copies since its release. Call of Duty: Black Ops clinches the high position in this article, out-selling any other war-based shooting game by quite a way. Developed by Treyarch and released in 2010, it remains to this day the highest-grossing game of the Call of Duty franchise thus far. Though the number of copies sold doesn't exceed that of games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, its revenue stands at a staggering $1.85 billion dollars and counting due to the regular income provided by the multiplayer segment of the game.
Black Ops' gameplay isn't drastically different from its predecessors, but it is the first game of the franchise to have some of its levels set during the Cold War. Its mechanics don't really improve drastically on the Call of Duty norm, but the multiplayer has some incredible strings to its bow, particularly the wager matches that involve spending various amounts of currency earned from other multiplayer ventures on entering matches, with players emerging at the top at the end of each match receiving monetary rewards. Gun game and Sticks and Stones matches are the most enjoyable, but traditional multiplayer matches are also as thrilling as ever.
Treyarch is a developer that is no stranger to commercial success, having been involved in developing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the Dreamcast as well as Call of Duty 2: Big Red One and Call of Duty 3. A further 2 sequels follow the original Black Ops, with Black Ops III BETA also being developed by the company, due for beta release shortly with a full release expected in November 2015. It is unlikely that sales for any future Black Ops titles will reach the heights of the original, however.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Though Black Ops' sales figures are almost too colossal to be believable, the sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are nothing to sniffed at either. If you were to learn that the game has grossed well over $1 Billion in its relatively short time in existence, would you be surprised? Its 26 million copies (and counting) sold make this figure much more believable, and even more so when you add in ongoing revenue from the multiplayer/online side of the game.
Though not quite as revered by critics as the two previous Modern Warfare games, Modern Warfare III managed to sell 6.5 million copies in the United States alone within 24 hours of it going on sale; it amassed $400 million in gross revenue within the aforementioned 24 period. In terms of gameplay, things are largely unchanged from the previous Modern Warfare games, but there are changes to the killstreak system in multiplayer as well as the unlocking and ranking system. Perhaps most notably, Black Ops introduced the famous Nazi Zombies mode, a survival match that involved cooperative play in the style of an area defence challenge that had you fighting off waves of Nazi zombies.
Modern Warfare III was developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games. The former developer is responsible for many of the other call of duty games including the original that started the franchise, while Sledgehammer Games worked only on this title and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Considered by many to be one of the greatest Call of Duty games ever made bar none, Modern Warfare II has the sales to reflect its favourable standing with fans and critics alike. The game has sold between 22 and 27 million copies over the years, amassing well over $780 million in revenue over that time, with this figure still climbing year after year. Released in 2009, this game sold 4.7 million units (US and UK figures combined here) within the first 24 hours of release. Even as of 2010, the game has made more than $1 billion in sales, with this figure being larger still in the present day.
This game was developed solely by Infinity Ward, with the developers seeing to it that the game received almost universal critical acclaim, scoring above 90% in a multitude of reviews and becoming the favourite game for fans, remaining so many years later.
The only non-Call of Duty title to be featured in this list, Battlefield 3 has managed to hold its own against its giant rival by selling 20 million copies and counting. The game has been the recipient of multiple awards including Best Shooter at IGN's People's Choice Award 2011 as well as other honours such as Best Multiplayer on various platforms including the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
Battlefield 3 definitely edges ahead of Call of Duty in terms of realism and map design, with many people also preferring its multiplayer to that of Call of Duty's. The game involves combined arms battles over a variety of incredibly well-designed maps, allowing you to control a variety of vehicles such as fighter jets and tanks. It was awarded a 9/10 score from IGN, with this score applying to versions of the game on all platforms.
Battlefield 3 was developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (shortened and stylised as DICE), a Swedish video games developer with titles under their belt such as Mirror's Edge, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and a multitude of other Battlefield titles including the very first, Battlefield 1942.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Another game that has become a favourite of fans as well as being praised by critics upon its release is Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare. The original Modern Warfare was again developed by Infinity Ward, being released in 2007 and becoming the best-selling Xbox game in the country at the time. In all, the game has managed to shift around 16 million units. Though this isn't exactly a low number, it would have been significantly higher if the game had not been the target of piracy, with a significant number of people playing illegal copies of the game, having a direct effect on the sales figures.
This is another Call of Duty game that received almost widespread critical acclaim due to it taking the Call of Duty series at the time to another level of immersive gamplay, as well as introducing the hardware and battlefields of modern warfare as opposed to the World War II battlefields seen in some of the older Call of Duty titles.