Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t get the usual triumphal announcement from Activision that it was the biggest entertainment launch of the year. Because, one assumes, it was not. Activision did say that $US1 billion worth of Call of Duty was on retailers’ shelves. Why is that worth bragging about? Well, this video is why.
Here are a bunch of TV journalists and Lou Dobbs failing to pick up on the fact that the $US1 billion mentioned by Activision in Wednesday’s press release is “sold-in”, a delightful piece of industry jargon that no one ever cares to define, because it’s basically bullshit. “Sold in” means, more or less, the value of merchandise retailers have ordered, in this case from a publisher — as CNBC correctly points out at the end of this supercut.
“Sold through” is the operative term. That means “stuff people actually bought”. Call of Duty has never sold $US1 billion on its first day. Not even close. Its record first day was last year — $US500 million on day one for Black Ops 2, which, hell yes is amazing. But it didn’t punk Grand Theft Auto V‘s three-day total in a single day, as these folks keep claiming.
So, that’s why Activision told us what retailers bought. They put out an accurate press release; maybe it was self-serving but hell, it’s a press release. Mainstream media just took Call of Duty and $US1 billion and swallowed it whole, which is great PR and brand extension, even if it’s not the biggest entertainment launch of the year.