Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Sales Topped $1 Billion in 16 Days

Sales of Activision Blizzard’s (NASDAQ:ATVI) Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 eclipsed the $1 billion threshold in just over two weeks, breaking the previous record held by the 2009 release of “Avatar.”

Citing Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision said the video game crossed the $1 billion mark just 16 days after its high-profile November 8 launch.

“Call of Duty as an entertainment franchise has made an indelible mark on popular culture and its broad and continued success is further validation that audiences increasingly value interactive experiences over passive experiences,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement.

Activision said this milestone surpasses “Avatar,” which in 2009 reached $1 billion in less than three weeks. The film was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which like FOX Business is owned by News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA).

The company also said its online service, Call of Duty Elite, now has more than 6 million players registered since its launch and more than one million premium subscriptions sold to date.

The news underscores the rising demand for video games, especially as Americans gear up for the holiday-shopping season.

According to Venture Beat, which cited NPD data, video-game software sales jumped 15% in November, no doubt boosted by the Call of Duty release. However, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales at retail stores were up just 0.4% to $3 billion.

Shares of Activision slipped 0.49% to $12.17 Monday morning, outperforming a 1.2% decline on the S&P 500. Rival Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), which sells the popular Madden series, was recently off 1.73% to $21.60.