November 9th, 2009, 19:53 Posted By: wraggster
Long-awaited video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 begins its assault on the gaming industry when it is released on 10 November.
Online retailer Amazon said pre-orders of the controversial title were already higher than any previous video game.
The first-person shooter is predicted to sell millions of copies in the first few hours after launch.
Many stores, including more than 10,000 in the US and 320 in the UK, will open at midnight for eager fans.
Some have already managed to get their hands on the game after shops broke the sales embargo.
However, Robert Kotick, CEO of the game's publisher Activision, said the first-person-shooter could be "one of the largest entertainment launches of any media of all time".
Labour MP Keith Vaz: "It contains such scenes of brutality that even the manufacturers have put in warnings within the game"
Analysts believe the game could sell as many as 5 million units on its first day.
It is the sixth instalment in the Call of Duty series and gives players the chance to be a member of a military strike force that takes on a Russian ultra-nationalist terrorist group.
It sees the combat team travelling to Russia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Brazil and into orbit, to thwart the terrorists.
The game has drawn criticism because one section, prefaced by a warning screen, involves a player joining a massacre of civilians at an airport.
Labour MP Keith Vaz condemned the game saying he was "absolutely shocked" by its violence.
In response, publisher Activision said the scene was "not representative of overall experience".
Labour MP Tom Watson also set up a Facebook group to defend games such as Call of Duty from their critics.
The first Modern Warfare debuted in 2007 and sold more than 12 million copies. The game won praise for its uncompromising story line and attention to detail.
Versions for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC all go on sale on 10 November. In the UK almost 600 stores are set to open after midnight.
A large launch event is also due to be held at one of the cinemas in London's Leicester Square which more usually plays host to film premieres. The pre-launch event is due to start at 1900 GMT.
Amazon said the pre-order sales for Modern Warfare 2 are already 50% higher than for Grand Theft Auto 4 - which until now had the most successful release ever.
"We're already seeing it bully other name-brand competitors into pushing their release dates back rather than risk going head-to-head in the same launch window," said Scott Steinberg of game and gadget website Digital Trends.
Since the Call of Duty franchise started in 2003, more than 28 million copies of the game's various incarnations have been sold.
In the UK the console versions of the game will retail for about £54. The PC version is expected to cost about £35.
However, supermarkets and retailers have been advertising it a steep discount. Sainsbury's and Tesco are expected to offer it for about £26. Online stores have also cut the price of the title.
A limited edition of the game, called the Veteran Package, is also available for £99.
While many gamers are looking forward to playing the game, fans of Modern Warfare have expressed disappointment that the PC version will lack some of the tools and tweaks available in earlier editions.
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