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Black Ops sells 18m map packs, $76 average spend

Eric Hirschberg says COD players spending 18 per cent above retail price

The average Call Of Duty: Black Ops player spent $76 on the experience, Eurogamer reports.

The figure is based on confirmed sales of 18 million map packs for the record-breaking game, and represents an 18 per cent increase on the retail price.

The figures were released by Activision CEO Eric Hirschberg at an investor event in Los Angeles yesterday. The news follows the publication of Vivendi's financial results, which confirmed how important Activision-Blizzard's Call Of Duty and World of Warcraft revenues have become to its parent company.

In its first nine months on sale, Treyarch's previous Call Of Duty game, World At War, sold 9 million map packs at $10 each - an average spend of $68 per player. Modern Warfare 2 sold 11 million packs at 15$ each in the same amount of time.

"There are over 30 million unique players of Black Ops who collectively have amassed, incredibly, more than 2.3 billion hours of play," Hirschberg said.

"To put that number in perspective, that's more than a quarter of a million years of play and that means our millions of fans spend more time per day on Black Ops multiplayer than they do on Facebook."

Activision-Blizzard's second quarter financial results showed revenue of $1.14 billion, 37 per cent of which was generated by digital content.

In an interview with earlier this week, Hirschberg argued that the company's strategy of extending the lifespan of a handful of core franchises with digital content is motivated by consumer behaviour, and not profit.

"Gamers seem to want to spend more time on, and go deeper into, fewer games," he said. "We get 20 million unique Call of Duty players every month. The shift is that the games have gotten deeper, and as we've seen this shift to online connected play, the tail on games is a lot longer than it used to be."

This approach is evident in the controversial introduction of a real-money auction house to Diablo III, which lets players buy and sell items they earn in the game.

"Most of the Call of Duty [revenue] has been driven by new map packs which are distributed online," said Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy in an earnings call this week.

"This of course creates a very favourable sales mix if you think that the distribution cost on the online component is of course way less than it is on the physical sales. We are trying to push this further and to have more recurring revenues. We are thinking about an Auction House [for] Diablo."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.