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'Call of Duty: Ghosts' video game passes $1 billion in sales to retailers

By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc's latest title from its blockbuster "Call of Duty" video game franchise surpassed $1 billion in sell-in sales - the number of copies shipped to retailers - a day after its launch, the company said on Wednesday.

Activision shares were relatively unchanged at $16.54 in afternoon-trading on the Nasdaq.

The franchise's tenth installment "Call of Duty: Ghosts," a gritty military-themed shooter game, was released worldwide on Tuesday.

While Activision has only announced "sell-in" sales, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc's said in September that its "Grand Theft Auto V," touched $800 million in retail sales a day after it launched.

Grand Theft Auto V crossed the $1 billion mark for sales through retail channels in three days, the fastest rate for any video game, Take Two said.

Whether Activision beats this record remains to be seen, as the company has not yet divulged retail sales figures - actual sales through retail channels - and the number of units sold of its just-launched "Call of Duty: Ghosts."

In cities like London and San Francisco, excited "Call of Duty" fans queued up at retail stores at midnight launch events. Activision hosted a glitzy pre-launch party in London to celebrate the release of the game, which was developed by Activision's Infinity Ward studio.

Activision, also known for its "Skylanders" games, has been delivering a "Call of Duty" title every year over the last decade.

Last year, the game maker's first-person shooter title "Call Of Duty: Black Ops II" took 15 days to hit $1 billion in global sales after its November release. That game touched $500 million in retail sales on its first day.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; editing by Andrew Hay)

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