Sanity Saturday: Call of Duty Edition

Throughout the GeekWorld this week has been a near rapture over the sales performance of the latest tactical shoot’m up, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Most of it has been over the sales performance, leading many a gamer to hold their braced Carpal Tunnel-ridden arms in the air in victory saying how video games are dominating film as an entertainment media. I would like to call their bluff.

Many of the comparisons are drawn from movie opening weekends. Call of Duty netted around $310 million in its first day in the US and UK. A lot of geek articles have compared it to The Dark Knight, one of the most profitable movies of last year, in saying it took them a week to get to $310 million. Well, that part is true. The problem is, movie theatres do not charge $60 a pop for an admission ticket.

Put in perspective, Call of Duty sold 5.17 million units. Ok, that’s pretty good. Let’s look at the Dark Knight. It grossed $67,165,092 on its opening day. Paltry compared to Call of Duty right? Well, not really. Accepting that ticket prices are around $8 (outside major metro areas) and you have 8,395,636 seeing that movie, more if you average it out to folks that went to see a matinee (which would lower the ticket price).

The Dark Knight ultimately made around $1 billion ($533 mil domestic / $468.5 mil foreign). Please, let’s not compare the limited audience of the video game world to the more worldwide spread of film. Earning millions of does not equal quality. Even that horrible live action version of GI Joe made $300 million at the box office.

An additional, more serious note, if those in geekdom are still reading this: Why are the games still so expensive? The cheapest of the new CoD is $50 for the Wii (really, CoD on the Wii? How?) and goes up to $80 “Hardened” Edition and even a night vision goggle set for $167.