UPDATE 1-Activision says "Call of Duty" series tops $3 bln

Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:34am EST

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* 55 mln units sold since franchise launch in 2003

* 6th game in series launched earlier in Nov.

SAN FRANCISCO Nov 27 (Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) said on Friday its "Call of Duty" video game franchise pushed past the $3 billion mark in global retail sales.

Overall, the "Call of Duty" series has sold more than 55 million units since its launch in 2003, Activision said, citing data compiled by NPD Group, Charttrack, GfK and internal company estimates.

The company released the sixth title in the series, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," earlier this month to record-breaking results.

The first-person shooter game recorded an estimated $550 million in sales in its first five days on the market. It sold 4.7 million copies on the first day in the United States and United Kingdom alone.

"If you consider the number of hours our audiences are engaged in playing Call of Duty games, it is likely to be one of the most viewed of all entertainment experiences in modern history," Activision Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in a company release.

Activision shares rose more than 1 percent in late morning trade on the Nasdaq, even as shares of competitors Electronic Arts Inc ERTS.O and Take Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O) fell more than 2 percent.

Shares of Santa Monica, California-based Activision rose 13 cents to $11.69. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Phil Berlowitz) ((gabriel.madway@thomsonreuters.com; +1 415 677 2536))

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