It's a hat trick for Call of Duty. For the third time in a row, the latest entry in the series has smashed launch day sales records.
When Modern Warfare 2 was released, it scored the title for the biggest video game launch in history. That record was broken when Call of Duty: Black Ops was released, and now Modern Warfare 3 has done the same thing to its predecessor.
More than 6.5 million copies of Modern Warfare 3 were snatched up in its first day, bringing in $400 million in sales for publisher Activision Blizzard.
"Other than Call of Duty, there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings,' two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement.
New Call of Duty games are churned out on a regular basis, and downloadable content (DLC) packs that expand the game are released even more frequently. It is a veritable cash cow for Activision.
The franchise's formula for success is a combination of tried-and-tested gameplay mechanics, new features and enhancements, and wildly expansive new environments.
For many gamers, buying each new Call of Duty game is like renewing their car registration or getting their teeth cleaned - it's just a necessary part of life.