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Activision was proud to announce that Call of Duty has made a comeback. The series once again a sales juggernaut after having a rather poor showing last year with the outing of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which had a massive stumbling out of the gate.
Activision sent out a press release indicating that Call of Duty: WWII has sold $500 million worth of both digital and physical SKUs for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on its first day of release. The press release was quick to point out that the game has sold more than what Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman made during their opening weekends... combined.
Also, Activision was keen to point out that these are not shipped numbers but sell-throughs. Oftentimes publishers are a little weaselly with the wording when it comes to some sales data. The terms "shipped" and "sell-through" mean two very different things, with the former referring to what the publisher distributed to retailers -- so some publishers may have shipped out 1 -- 2 million copies to retailers -- but sell-through refers to the stock that the retailers and distributors actually sell-through to customers. So in this case, Activision is saying that on the day of launch, Call of Duty: WWII actually sold through to customers $500 million worth of stock, including the standard edition, the deluxe edition and the limited collector's edition.
In fact, according to Activision, the game has sold twice as many units as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. That's not entirely the most impressive feat given that Activision released Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare under less than auspicious circumstances, especially with all the negative publicity latched onto the game throughout its debut in the spring and all the negative or anti-hype it received leading up to its release. In fact, the debut trailer managed to become one of the most disliked videos of all time on YouTube. Yeah... it was that bad.
Activision also had to deal with EA purposefully cannibalizing the FPS market with Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, both of which launched within weeks of each other and before Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launched. All of these factors put a huge dent in last year's outing of Call of Duty.
For this year, however, the complete opposite happened. There was a lot of positive press heading into the release for the first-person shooter's release in November. A lot of positive feedback was given to the game's cast of characters, graphics, and the return to the World War II theater.
In fact, the game was so hotly anticipated by PS4 gamers that it managed to break day-one records for digital sales on a full priced game on the PlayStation Store.
Activision's CEO Eric Hirshberg acknowledged to Geoff Keighley during an E3 interview that a lot of gamers had simply become future-fatigued with Call of Duty, which is why it was decided to head back to the boots-on-the-ground combat of World War II with Call of Duty: WWII, as reported by USA Today.
It looks like Activision has realized that recycling the same themes too many years in a row is bad for the annual franchise. One thing is obvious: dipping back into World War II was obviously good for the franchise's sales.