Despite backlash, Call of Duty: MW3 is setting records for Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 reveal screenshots
(Image credit: Activision)

What you need to know

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision, launched on November 10.
  • The game is the first to be released following the high-profile acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. 
  • MW3 (2023) is the lowest-rated Call of Duty title and has been the subject of review bombing efforts. 
  • Despite player backlash, Activision has shared that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has broken records for hours played and player engagement.

Sledgehammer Games and Activision have declared Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 a record breaker with a release of limited player details. Two weeks after the game's launch, which has been marred by review bombing efforts, MW has seen the highest player engagement rate out of the three entries in the rebooted Modern Warfare trilogy. Modern Warfare 3 has also seen more hours per player overall than MW 2019 and MW2 2022, as well as more time per player in the campaign.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's new zombies mode has also broken records, earning the top spot as the most engaging third mode in Modern Warfare history. 

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Treyarch Studios developed the MWZ for Modern Warfare, the first time the series has offered a Zombies playlist. Previously, Modern Warfare's third mode revolved around Special Ops playlists, with Modern Warfare 2 introducing the DMZ. 

To celebrate, players can look forward to a 'triple feed' of double XP during the holiday weekend, including Double XP, Double Weapon XP, and Double Battle Pass XP. Modern Warfare 3 is still in its preseason phase, with MW3 Season 1 and a brand-new battle pass coming to players on December 6.

The launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 marked the first time a direct sequel had been released the year following its predecessor. The campaign has been criticized by some as a "$70 DLC", owing to reports that Modern Warfare 3 was originally intended to be a Year 2 expansion for Modern Warfare 2 (2022). Sledgehammer Games has also faced criticism for its portrayal of Russians in the MW3 campaign. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the first title in the COD franchise to be released under the Xbox banner, launching just a few short weeks after Microsoft closed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. The franchise was at the center of concerns for the Federal Trade Commission, who were concerned that Xbox would weaponize the franchise by making COD worse for PlayStation players, an accusation that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer denied.

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.