Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 overtakes Avatar's $1 billion record

Activision's first person shooter franchise reaches $1 billion milestone quicker than James Cameron’s sci-fi film

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 crossed the $1 billion mark in sales in just 16 days, according to publisher Activision Blizzard.

Based on Chart-Track and retail customer sell-through information, the video game, which launched on 8 November, beat an earlier record set by James Cameron's 2009 film, Avatar, by a day.

"Engagement of our Call of Duty audience continues to rise around the world," Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, said.

While past iterations of Call of Duty have pulled in impressive sales numbers in their own right, Activision sees the strong performance of the latest instalment as proof that the franchise has made an "indelible mark on popular culture" and that its continued success is further proof that "audiences increasingly value interactive experiences over passive experiences".

As proof of this sentiment, Activision highlighted that box office revenue in 2011 was on the decline, down four per cent this year at $9.4 billion compared to $9.8 billion a year earlier.

On the other hand, the publisher has seen the number of people purchasing and participating in gaming as "on the rise with no sign of slowing".

Activision now finds itself in the enviable position of having its Call of Duty franchise being placed among a group of sustained franchises that have entertained millions of people worldwide, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

The publisher's mainstream success with Modern Warfare 3 brings back memories of when Sega launched its Dreamcast console in 1999 to a tune of $98.4 million in combined hardware and software sales.

At that time, the company also compared its sales results with the $28.5 million opening day gross of the heavily hyped-up sci-fi film of the time, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, as a way to show how mainstream video games had become.