Top 10 Selling Call of Duty Games

by William D'Angelo, posted on 07 October 2013 / 26,765 Views

Welcome to the ‘Top 10’ weekly feature. Each week we will be taking a look at the top 10 selling games in a particular genre, platform, most recent month, even sprinkling in the top 10 selling games from a past year. All sales specified will be worldwide, unless stated otherwise. If there is a particular top 10 you want to see leave a comment and it may be featured in a future top 10. As a note all sales figures are retail only.

This week we will be looking at the top 10 selling Call of Duty games. Last week we looked at the top 10 selling Microsoft games (Updated through the week ending September 21) and the week before that the top 10 selling games Sony games (Updated through the week ending September 14).

Top 10 Selling Call of Duty Titles

Looking at the top 10 bestselling Call of Duty games the franchise has always been a yearly release. The first game in the franchise came out in 2004. While the first three games were popular, all World War II shooter, it wasn’t until the franchise hit modern times that it became one the biggest franchises in gaming.

While there may be a new game released every year there are two developers, Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Infinity Ward developed Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, while Treyarch developed Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

The top 10 bestselling Call of Duty games have sold a combined 163.99 million units. Only Modern Warfare 3 has topped 30 million units sold. The top four titles have sold more than 20 million units and the top six titles have sold more than 10 million units.

Top 10 Selling Call of Duty Games

The top 10 selling Call of Duty games as a graph really shows how popular the franchise has become. The four oldest games in the franchise are all at the bottom of the chart. Also the number 10 game, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory, was only released on the PSP. All the other games were always released on the PlayStation 2 and / or PlayStation 3, and the Xbox and / or Xbox 360.

There have also been two sub franchises the last five years Modern Warfare and Black Ops. The Modern Warfare series was developed by Infinity Ward, while the Black Ops II series was developed by Treyarch.

 Each Modern Warfare game has sold more than the previous. The original sold has 17.37 million units to date while has Modern Warfare 2 sold 25.95 million units to date. This is an 8.58 million unit increase. Modern Warfare 3 has sold 30.33 million units to date.  This is a 4.38 million unit increase.

While each Modern Warfare title has sold more than the previous, the same can’t be said for the Black Ops series. Black Ops has sold 29.27 million units to date, while Black Ops II has sold 24.67 million units to date. This is a 4.6 million unit decrease.

Only two main games for the franchise did not outsell the previous year, World at War and Black Ops II. Other than those two games, each release in the franchise has outsold the previous year.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is the next title for the franchise. It is set to be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC on November 5, 2013. The PlayStation 4 version will be out at launch on November 15 in the US and November 29 in Europe. The Xbox One version will also be out at launch on November 22.

Contact VGChartz at wdangelo@vgchartz.com


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8 Comments

shikamaru317 (on 07 October 2013)

It's looking like GTA V will pass MW3, and Ghosts is tracking behind GTA V in preorders during the same time period (though that doesn't neccessarily translate into post launch sales). GTA V might just dethrone the King that has held the throne for several years now.


vodkasosa1000 (on 07 October 2013)

Add your reply...@shikamaru317 GTA SA and IV already sold more than any CoD game. Besides GTA VC and SA were pirated so many times that GTA probably has over 50 million players world wide.


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S.Peelman (on 08 October 2013)

Pretty steep decline for BOII. CoD Ghosts will probably have the franchise decline further. GTAV wins 2013 easily. I see Ghosts ending in CoD4 territory, maybe slightly above, fighting Pokémon X/Y for this year's second place.


teamsilent13 (on 07 October 2013)

As someone who buys almost all my games in digital form (ironically I supported physical copies in the whole DRM debate), I almost always see treyarch games ahead of Infinity Ward games on the xbox live marketplace. Also, there is no way to know how DLC sells because it isn't tracked at all and you can only speculate. For this reason, it's possible that Black Ops 2 isn't doing as bad as people say. I believe it could have sold more than MW2 because it has four DLC where MW2 only has two DLC and also has been one of the top two games on the xbox live marketplace all year. Also, cod games are not comparable to GTA5. MW2 took only 30-40 million to make and 200 million to market. That's only 240 million total. In threads about this I've been told that the marketing in the more recent cods has been even less and I doubt costs to develop have skyrocketed to the level of GTA5 in only three years. My point is that GTA5 may sell more than cod, but Cod could still be the more profitable series.


Hercz (on 08 October 2013)

Uh, GTA5 grossed $1.15billion 1st week alone, not to mention the game is likely at 24mil - 25mil right now, GTA5 is gonna end the year at 32mil - 35mil, & life time sales may reach 40mil. All in all, GTA5 is probably gonna gross $3billion, EXCLUDING DLC sales, no COD game has done this.


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Hercz (on 08 October 2013)

What people fail to realize is that both COD, & GTA sells 25mil on a regular basis. COD seemed more popular b/c they're releasing every year, w no competition except Assassin's Creed. GTA5 is gonna finish off at around 35mil - 40mil, & see as how GTA4 is STILL selling, no one knows GTA4 true sales figures, it was last reported at 27mil in 2012, & still selling.


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Hercz (on 08 October 2013)

What people fail to realize is that both COD, & GTA sells 25mil on a regular basis. COD seemed more popular b/c they're releasing every year, w no competition except Assassin's Creed. GTA5 is gonna finish off at around 35mil - 40mil, & see as how GTA4 is STILL selling, no one knows GTA4 true sales figures, it was last reported at 27mil in 2012, & still selling.


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beuwolf (on 07 October 2013)

You can't compare it to GTA V. CoD games are released every year. GTA V took over 5 years to develop (with 4 times the budget) - one would hope it will sell more than games that take 2 years to make.


shikamaru317 (on 07 October 2013)

You have a point. The fact that CoD is selling this many copies despite yearly releases (less time to build anticipation), lower budgets, and 2 year dev cycles is astounding. The GTA series as a whole still leads CoD, but even with GTAV's amazing sales, CoD will still likely pass the GTA series after Treyarch's next title.


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retroking1981 (on 09 October 2013)

You've also forgot to add the Wii sales to Modern Warfare which is an additional 1.48m


retroking1981 (on 09 October 2013)

Where's Call Of Duty 2: Big Red One? That sold 4.12m (PS2, XB, GC) Call Of Duty 2: Finest Hour was also on GC which you've not listed in your chart. Also Call Of Duty 2 didn't release on PS2 and only sold 1.85m on 360 so that shouldn't even be in the chart.


Zkuq (on 07 October 2013)

Just a quick note: The series started in 2003 with Call of Duty. I would also assume that it sold better than Road to Victory, which would put it on the list, but it's hard to say for sure because VGC is bad at tracking PC game sales (and the first Call of Duty was on PC only).


S.Peelman (on 08 October 2013)

I agree, the original most definitely outsold the PSP game, maybe even Finest Hour as well (wasn't that also on GameCube?).


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vodkasosa1000 (on 07 October 2013)

@shikamaru317 GTA SA and IV already sold more than any CoD game. Besides GTA VC and SA were pirated so many times that GTA probably has over 50 million players world wide.


shikamaru317 (on 07 October 2013)

I'm only seeing about 25 million in combined sales for San Andreas here on VGchartz, and maybe 22 million for IV. That still puts several CoD titles ahead of them. That's of course physical copies only, nobody tracks digital sales that I know of, so unless the publisher releases digital sales figures, you can't really compare digital. As for pirating, there's no way to track that, CoD could see plenty of pirating as well.


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Hercz (on 08 October 2013)

GTA3 total era sold 23mil+, w/ Liberty City Stories.
Vice City total era sold 22mil+ w Vice City Stories
San Andreas sold 27mil+, 90% of that on PS2
GTA4 total era w/ Episodes from Liberty City has sold 30mil+, tied w/ MW3.
GTA5 is about to be at 30mil by Thanksgiving.

Quit w/ the hate, GTA, & COD does the same numbers, GTA is on their 5th straight 20mil+ sold game, COD is on their 4th as of Oct 2013. COD developers already confirmed that they're not expecting COD Ghosts to sell as much. GTA5 is the clear winner, simple as.


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