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Black Ops 3 bucks Call of Duty's recent sales decline with $550m launch

Bigger than Advanced Warfare and Ghosts.

It seems Black Ops 3's great Nuketown farce failed to dent the Call of Duty sales juggernaut: the shooter's once again made millions and millions.

Activision announced today that Black Ops 3 brought in over $550m in worldwide sales during its three-day opening weekend. That makes Treyarch's shooter the biggest entertainment launch of 2015, beating blockbuster movie Jurassic World's three-day haul.

But how does Black Ops 3 compare to other Call of Duty games? Activision said Black Ops 3 enjoyed digital sales nearly double over last year (Advanced Warfare), and retail sales were up "significantly" over the last two years (Ghosts in 2013 and Advanced Warfare in 2014).

That suggests Black Ops 3 is the biggest Call of Duty game since Treyarch's own Black Ops 2, which launched in 2012. Black Ops 2 was peak Call of Duty - it made over $500m in the US alone in just 24 hours, and held the record of the biggest entertainment launch of all time until Grand Theft Auto 5 came around in September 2013.

Black Ops 3's success is also a testament to the strength of the Black Ops brand relative to the other Call of Duty games. And it's worth noting it launched two years into the life of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One - and thus onto a larger current-gen install base than Advanced Warfare and Ghosts.

Call of Duty's transition from last-gen to current-gen is almost complete, then. In the UK, 91 per cent of physical sales were on PS4 and Xbox One. Five per cent were on Xbox 360 and just three per cent were on PS3. Perhaps much of this has to do with the last-gen version's lack of a campaign, among other things.

Meanwhile, Activision trumpeted "player engagement" - a popular metric these days for big publishers. Activision Publishing chief Eric Hirshberg said people are playing Black Ops 3 for more hours per player than any Call of Duty game on record.

Also, Black Ops 3 was the best-selling digital full game by units sold in its first day of availability in PS4 history. That one you'd expect, given Activision's new allegiance with Sony for Call of Duty.

Cover image for YouTube videoOfficial Call of Duty®: Black Ops III – Nuk3town Bonus Map Trailer [UK]