The big picture: A new Call of Duty game is always one of the top-selling releases each year, but the latest entry broke a decade-old franchise record. The numbers represent a positive turnaround for the series after last year's game suffered a disappointing commercial performance.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II made over $800 million in its first three days on the market, more than any other title in the franchise's 19-year history. According to Activision, that performance beats the opening weekend box office numbers of marquee Hollywood films like Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The previous sales record-holder in the franchise was 2011's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (the sequel to the original 2009 Modern Warfare 2). Modern Warfare II's success is a turnaround after last year's Call of Duty: Vanguard failed to surpass the sales of 2020's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Vanguard contributed to Activision losing 63 million monthly active users throughout 2021. The company hopes that Modern Warfare II and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 --- the sequel to its successful free-to-play spin-off --- can bring players back.

One disappointing decision Activision recently made with Modern Warfare II was disabling Steam Family Sharing just three days after launch. Some players expressed dissatisfaction after having bought the $70 title intending to share it with close friends and family members. Others suspect the decision is a move against cheating.

As for future Call of Duty games, new reports this week shut down rumors that a sequel to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was in development, aiming for a 2025 release. Activision delayed the entry it intended to launch in 2023, making next year the first in 20 without a new Call of Duty title. The company plans to fill the gap with a paid Modern Warfare II expansion.

The switch could signal a new standard rhythm for the franchise's releases. Activision might begin releasing Call of Duty games every two years instead of annually to ease their notoriously turbulent production cycles, meaning there won't be a new game in 2025.

Whatever happens, Microsoft promised that if its deal to buy Activision closes, future entries will still release on PlayStation for the foreseeable future. Microsoft has stated this multiple times in response to Sony's alarm over the acquisition, which faces scrutiny from UK, US, and EU regulators.