MediaFile

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hits stores tonight

One of the biggest video game launches ever is going down tonight at stores all over the U.S.  “Modern Warfare 3″, the eighth game in the “Call of Duty” series is going on sale at midnight While the usual suspects like GameStop and Best Buy will be open late to accommodate the crowds, Wal-Mart is going all out by hosting tournaments centered around the game at more than 2,700 stores starting at 8 p.m..

To give you some idea of how big the market for this game is, last year it took a little over two months for ”Call of Duty: Black Ops”  to generate $1 billion in global sales.

In 2010, the last edition of the Activision military game sold more than 5.6 million copies, or $360 million worth units on its first day on sale. That is more than double Harry Potter’s record-breaking opening weekend box office take in June.

But how much will it make this year?

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said that he expects “Modern Warfare 3″ to outsell its predecessor by 10 percent and for 5.5 million to 6 million units on its first day. The game should sell 18 million units in the December quarter alone, he said.   

Zynga herding its users like sheep from game to game: data

Social games company Zynga is adept at converting its current players to its new games, just as smoothly as some of the top video game franchises like Call of Duty, according to a new 21-page report by the game tracking service and social network Raptr.

The report takes into account more than 3 million Zynga players who use Raptr’s game tracking applications.

“If Zynga were to release a new game tomorrow, our data reveals that 90 percent of users of that new game will come from an old game,” said Dennis Fong, Raptr’s co-founder.

How Bobby Kotick ended up alongside Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

 

How did Bobby Kotick, the CEO of the largest video game company in the United States, end up with a speaking role alongside Brad Pitt in the upcoming movie Moneyball?

In the baseball-meets-math flick based on the bestseller by Michael Lewis, Kotick plays a convincing owner of the Oakland Athletics, at least for the three seconds he is seen in the trailer (see clip above starting at 17 seconds).

When Brad Pitt, playing general manager Billy Beane, comes into his office asking him for a bigger budget to buy players, Kotick says, “we’re not in New York. Find players with the money we do have.”

“Modern Warfare 3″ vs “Battlefield 3″ fight turns ugly

The showdown between next fall’s biggest first-person shooters escalated at E3 this week, with EA’s and Activision Blizzard’s top brass exchanging some vitriol. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s CEO first went on CNBC on Monday claiming that EA’s “Battlefield 3″ was just a PC title with only a ”small audience.” In response, EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, told Reuters that Kotick was spreading misinformation about “Battlefield 3″ and that contrary to what Kotick said, it would be widely available on consoles.

Here’s what both CEOs told me:

BOBBY KOTICK, CEO, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

“We just want to stay true to the interest of the Call of Duty fans and we try to not get distracted by what people are doing. I can’t objectively tell you what I think of other products until I see them. Battlefield I’ve only seen on a PC and nobody’s seen it on a console yet. Most of our consumers play games on a console. Until I see it on a console, I wouldn’t be objective on commenting on it.”

JOHN RICCITIELLO, CEO ELECTRONIC ARTS

“It’s the beginning of the war and (Kotick) recognizes they’re going to be threatened. We’re going to have a clash of the titans this fall. The very fact that he’s trying to cast doubt on our game is a perfect example of how we got his goat. In terms of where this goes, we think our PS3 game is better than their Xbox game and our PC game is better than their PC game. If that’s all he’s got to say, it’s obviously going to evaporate as we launch all three. If you went to our press conference, you saw the PS3 footage and the Xbox footage. If Bobby thinks that is PC footage, he’s in real trouble.”

Activision’s brainy toys take over

At E3, the huge video game trade show that kicks off in LA on Tuesday, the main attention usually falls on first-person shooter titles aimed at teens or young male gamers. Games targeted at children can easily get lost under the bright lights.

Activision Blizzard, known for “Call of Duty” and ”World of Warcraft” is trying to change this by backing its new kids game, “Skylanders” with a hefty marketing push at E3.

“It’s getting the full triple-A treatment,” said Laird Malamed, a senior vice president of development at Activision.

GlobalMedia-Gaming giants differ on mobile, social games

kotickMuch of the buzz in gaming these days revolves around two small but fast-growing areas: social games and mobile ones played on smartphones. But two titans of the video game industry have decidedly different takes on those markets.

There are already tens of thousands of game apps available for the iPhone and competing Android smartphones, and tens of millions of people playing free games on Facebook.

Still, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick (pictured) sounded less than enthusiastic about those markets when he spoke to the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York on Tuesday. And that represented a stark contrast from what Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said just a day earlier

Fire in the hole: Call of Duty obliterates Hollywood box office

Here’s a blog post from our colleague Ben Deighton in London:

Robotic drone planes and night vision sniper rifles take their aim at traditional media in the latest installment of the Call of Duty series — Modern Warfare 2.

The game made about $310 million North America and the UK in its first day, dwarfing the up to $60 million that blockbuster movies gross on their opening.

But it’s not just in cash terms that games like Modern Warfare 2 are challenging the medium of film. Played on a wide screen TV in dazzling high definition, graphics have become so detailed and carefully rendered that they almost give players the sensation of being in a film themselves.