Activision Bets On 'Biggest Entertainment Launch Of All Time' For Modern Warfare 2

Following projections that Modern Warfare 2 could be the biggest game of 2009, publisher Activision is aiming higher, instructing its ad agency to prep the "biggest entertainment launch of all time."
On the heels of a recent analyst projection that Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 will be the highest-selling game of 2009 comes a report that publisher Activision is aiming even higher, instructing its ad agency to prepare for the "biggest entertainment launch of all time." According to a story published by Advertising Age, Activision told contracted advertising firm TBWA\Chiat\Day that the launch of Modern Warfare 2 will eclipse not only all other game launches, but those of films and other entertainment forms as well. That rhetoric is highly reminiscent of Microsoft's claims following the 2007 release of Halo 3. The day after the game went on sale, Microsoft declared it "the biggest entertainment launch in history" with $170 million in revenue. Modern Warfare 2 is the successor to Infinity Ward's long-running Call of Duty franchise, which appears to have been largely entrusted to fellow internal Activision studio Treyarch now that Infinity Ward's branch of the series has shed its original prefix. Infinity Ward's last game, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, has so far sold a hefty 13 million units worldwide across Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3. Interestingly, a report from ratings firm Nielsen this week didn't have Modern Warfare 2 pegged in its list of the twelve 2009 gamers with the highest purchase intent among gamers. In a followup comment on the Nielsen blog, an employee of the firm clarified that Modern Warfare 2 had 27 percent purchase intent, a considerable proportion but not enough to break the 30 percent threshold for inclusion on the list. It is possible that, without the well-known Call of Duty name -- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was certainly abbreviated more often as COD4 than COD4:MW or MW, for one thing -- Modern Warfare 2 is suffering to some extent from a lack of immediate brand awareness. And despite its extremely positive reception at E3, Nielsen reported that the trade show made only one- to two-point changes to games' existing purchase intent scores. Of course, not everyone agrees with Nielsen. A pre-E3 report by OTX/Gameplan Insights did share Nielsen's view that Bungie's Halo 3: ODST holds the highest purchase intent among gamers (at least in single-platform terms), but it put Modern Warfare 2 in second place. Relatively similar rankings among other 2009-slated titles may suggest a MW2 anomaly in Nielsen's ratings.

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