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Call of Duty: Black Ops to Smash Records

Stocks in this article: ATVI GME

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Activision (ATVI) jumped more than 3.5% in early afternoon trading Monday on hype that its new Call of Duty: Black Ops game will break video game sales records.

The game is already tracking to surpass records set last year by its predecessor, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which sold 4.7 million copies its first day of global sales.

In October, retailer GameStop (GME) said pre-orders for Black Ops were higher than those for Modern Warefare during the same timeframe.

Amazon (AMZN) also tweeted last week that Black Ops pre-orders had exceeded those of Modern Warefare.

Domestic pre-orders of Black Ops are around 3 million, said Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research, who expects combined one-day global sales to "materially surpass" those of Modern Warefare.

However, overall quarterly sales of Black Ops are expected to be 10% to 20% lower than its predecessor, said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.

Infinity Ward, the studio that created Modern Warfare, is traditionally regarded as higher in quality than Treyarch, which developed Black Ops, Hickey said. "The higher quality and the modernish tweak to the gameplay for Infinity Ward gives Modern Warefare a sales advantage," he said.

Anticipation for the game was evident over the weekend as robbers stole more than 100 copies of the game from a GameStop in Baltimore.

Last week, Activision beat third quarter sales and profit estimates, as adjusted profit rose to 12 cents per share, from 4 cents per share last year. Analysts had expected profit of 9 cents per share.

Adjusted revenue jumped to $857 million from $755 million during the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected revenue of $747 milllion.

Despite Activision's strong performance, the video game industry has suffered from a drop in software sales as consumers have moved towards online channels. Software sales declined 6% in September to $614 million, according to NPD.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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