"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" raked in $400 million in sales in North American and the United Kingdom, which Activision said was an industry record.
"We believe the launch of 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3' is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories," Activision Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said Friday.
The Wall Street Journal said analysts weren't certain if the surge was strictly due to anticipation from gamers, or if a pre-release ad blitz fueled buying.
Analysts also cautioned the sales numbers are difficult to put into context because video-game companies generally don't report first-day sales, the Journal said.
Activision also has a tough act to follow, particularly since it has shifted to a strategy of releasing a small number of high-end games each year. "God save them with this trend that they've established," said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. "One year it's going to sell fewer units than the earlier version."