NEW YORK —"Call of Duty: Black Ops" blasted entertainment records this week by raking in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale, a dramatic and lucrative indication that video games have cemented their place as mainstream entertainment on a par with movies, books and music.
For the hordes of devoted fans who waited at midnight Monday to get their hands on the military shooter, this is hardly a surprise. For them, popping the new "Call of Duty" into a game console is the equivalent of turning on the TV to watch the Super Bowl or sitting back with a tub of popcorn to watch the latest blockbuster movie.
But while movies happen at you, video games allow the user to affect the story's outcome. That hands-on experience and interactions with other players fit the emerging social-media era where consumers demand a voice in whatever they do.
Across two years, with a budget well in the tens of millions of dollars, the developers of "Black Ops" created a world that immerses players in Cold War-era battles with settings ranging from 1960s Cuba to Vietnam and the Soviet Union.
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Its intricate graphics and details — down to the gruesome sound a knife makes when pulled from an enemy's neck — are amplified in players' homes through big-screen TV sets and powerful speakers.
Activision Blizzard Inc. sold 5.6 million units the day "Call of Duty" went on sale, according to the company. Its predecessor, "Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2," sold 4.7 million copies in 24 hours to reap $310 million on its first day of sale last year.