I'm not much of a video game player--I don't have an Xbox, Playstation, or Wii in my apartment, and my gaming is limited to a rare bit of Madden or the like at a friend's place. Yet in recent years, it's no secret that video games have gone from being the pastime of kids and nerds to being in the mainstream--titles like Madden, Grand Theft Auto, and Guitar Hero are all centerpieces of pop culture. Not only that, they're a big business.
My eyes popped at an AP headline today that said "'Call of Duty' game sells $310M in 24 hours". That is referring to a new game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which apparently sold a staggering 4.7 million copies in North America and Britain on its first day on sale. The $310 million is revenue from only those regions, not even total worldwide sales, but it still makes this game the "biggest-selling launch in the history of entertainment".
Wow. That's a bona-fide blockbuster, and far more so than any Hollywood theatrical release. By comparison, the biggest movie opening of 2009 was Transformers 2, which made "only" $109 million its first weekend. It's the only movie released this year that has a total gross more than Modern Warfare 2's opening, so even though movies nowadays often rely on DVD sales for half their revenue, there's no question this game has put up some serious numbers. View this as a sign of a shift away from the traditionally dominant players in the entertainment industry.