Although Modern Warfare 3 has yet to register more than a blip in our poll on the best PC game of 2011, the market has spoken. In the 16 days following its November 8 launch, the latest chapter in the Call of Duty franchise raked in one billion dollars. That appears to be a new record for an entertainment product; James Cameron's Avatar took an extra day to break the billion-dollar threshold. Of course, it's fair to note that Modern Warfare 3's asking price is 5-6 times higher than the average price of a movie ticket. As popular as Activision's latest cash cow may be, movies still have a much broader reach.
That said, gamers are probably getting a lot more replay value out of their Call of Duty purchase. According to Raptr, a social gaming network with over 11 million users, the average Modern Warfare 3 player has invested 20 hours in the game thus far. That's a little bit more than the 17-hour average play time for Battlefield 3, but it's behind the 24 hours folks have sunk into Skyrim. In terms of hours played, the new Elder Scrolls game is the most popular of 2011. The average player sinks nearly three hours into each Skyrim session compared to just over two hours in Modern Warfare 3.
Raptr's full report describes the site's methodology in more detail. A proprietary formula is used to calculate standings based on how often games are played within the first week and the first month of their release. Raptr says this data is a "strong indicator" of long-term trends, although it obviously only applies to folks who are running the company's app.
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