"Call of Duty" gamers scoff at recession

Up or down economy, expertly rendered digital violence finds a market

Published November 13, 2009 2:14PM (EST)

My son came home from middle school yesterday talking about "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2." One friend already owned it, he said wistfully. Another had somehow managed to convince his parents to splurge on the deluxe edition, complete with $200 night goggles.

Today, I learn from the headlines that "Call of Duty" sold 4.7 million copies in its first day (Veteran's Day in the U.S.) That's the most copies of a game sold in in a single day ever, and the $400 million take, reports the Financial Times, rivals the opening weekend U.S. box office take of "The Dark Knight." The newspaper industry and the music business might be having a difficult time surviving the combined effects of a down economy and the difficulties of finding business models that work on the Internet, but the gaming industry is powering ahead.

There's no beating this business model, I guess.

From the Sacramento Bee:

The game's appeal is simple and direct: Some people like to shoot things. Most of the time, we call them guys. The game brings death, destruction, loud sprays of gunfire, spreading pools of blood, a sophisticated musical score and really cool graphics into the homes of otherwise peace- loving people.

My son is skeptical as to whether the hyper-realism of "Call of Duty" will get parental approval. But maybe it's my patriotic duty to support him in his consumer frenzy -- blood, guts, and GDP growth.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Gaming Great Recession How The World Works Video Games