Activision has reported in a press release as having sold more than a billion dollars worth of Call of Duty: Ghosts to retailers for its launch this week. Now, that's not actual games which wound up in actual game-playing hands, but rather the amount of product available in the distribution chain as of the first day of release.
It's interesting that Activision chose to release these numbers today, rather than wait a couple of days to release a less-impressive sounding (but more accurately representative) sales figure, and there could be a few of reasons for it.
Critic reviews for Ghosts have averaged a lower score than any major franchise entry to date on Metacritic (and user reviews have been hammered with poor ratings), so this move may simply seek to push more people over the fence into buying on the grounds of general popularity. But with Call of Duty, there has been an expectation that each successive release would break records, as it has for the last four iterations. There could be some concerns that Ghosts will buck this trend and, while still tremendously popular and successful from a sales point of view, mark the beginning of a decline.
Of course, with the upcoming release of two new consoles looming, it could also simply mean that the market has become a touch fractured as some players opt to wait on purchasing Ghosts until the upgraded release is available. With GameStop reporting it as the most pre-ordered next-gen title, there could be a whole mess of sales just waiting in the wings.
Regardless of the reasons, if someone tells you that Ghosts sold a billion dollars on day one, I'd view it with some caution. Even at best, it seems inconceivable that this game would suddenly do twice as much business from one year to the next.