Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the UK's best selling game ever, but retailer HMV has reason to believe new instalment Call of Duty: Black Ops will beat it.
"We're seeing some exceptional interest for this title across its different formats," HMV's senior buyer James Brooks revealed to Eurogamer. "Particularly our co-exclusive on the Prestige Edition on HMV.com, where stock is nearly sold-through now and very little is left.
"Based on all this initial demand and the huge excitement that's clearly being generated, I'd say this title has every chance of being the biggest game release ever, and it's certainly shaping up to become the largest pre-order that we've seen in-store and online on HMV.com."
A pre-order chart on fellow retailer Play.com echoes the sentiment; Black Ops is top on Xbox 360, second on PS3 and the Hardened Edition 10th on Xbox 360. However, a spokesperson for Play.com said "no comment" could be made about whether the game will "break any existing opening week sales". "[Play.com is] still in a wait and see scenario," we were told.
Glance around and the story is the same. GAME couldn't tell Eurogamer anything, but Call of Duty: Black Ops sits merrily atop its pre-order chart on Xbox 360 (the PS3 version is second, PC ninth). And Amazon lists Call of Duty: Black Ops on Xbox 360 as its second best seller behind FIFA 11.
But there's one retailer going against the grain: ShopTo. Marketing manager Phil Driver told Eurogamer "COD will be in our all-time top 10 sellers", but added Activision's game "won't be top".
"We are expecting Gran Turismo 5 to be our greatest ever seller," he said, citing a low price and a ShopTo-exclusive deal as the reason why.
Earlier this month, US mega-retailer GameStop touted record pre-orders for Call of Duty: Black Ops. "We are ahead of where we were with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 last year, which previously set the industry standard," bigwig Bob McKenzie commented.
Call of Duty: Black Ops, developed by Treyarch, will be released on 9th November.
Last month Xbox 360-exclusive Halo: Reach became Microsoft's "biggest" game release ever, beating all previous Halo games.
Reach took $200 million in 24 hours, making it 2010's biggest entertainment release so far - even bigger than the three-day opening weekends of films Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3.
Activision's previous Call of Duty game, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, was crowned the UK's best-selling game of all time in August this year. The shooter took 41 weeks to accomplish the task, and lifted the crown from previous leader Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training on DS.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is also the fastest-selling UK game ever, after shifting over 1.7 million copies in just five days. By the end of 2009, Modern Warfare 2 had amassed 11.86 million sales - 8.82 million of which were done in the US.
Modern Warfare 2 game sales were glorious, then, but DLC also did well: Activision noted that there had been 20 million DLC sales (at 1200 MSP/£11 a pop) by the end of June 2010.