Gamers descended on retailers like locusts to grab their copies of Gears of War 3.Microsoft says the latest installment in the series sold 3 million copies in its first week, making it the biggest game of the year (so far).
The impressive one-week sales also helped catapult the franchise into an esteemed club. Lifetime sales of Gears titles have now topped $1 billion — the first Xbox 360 exclusive franchise this generation to do so. (Halo isn't counted here since it began as an original Xbox franchise.)
"'Gears of War' was the first killer app for Xbox 360, and the series has continued to contribute directly to the overall success of the platform ever since," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer.
That figure is likely to increase in the coming months thanks to the holiday rush and the expected suite of downloadable content. Microsoft and Epic Games plan to release at least four add-on packs over the course of the next year.
It's not the first notable achievement for the game, either. Last week, Gears of Wars 3 was hailed as the biggest launch of the year in the U.K. That country's data tracking service Chart-Track noted that in its opening weekend, the game sold nearly as many copies as the previous two titles in the series did in their opening weekends combined.
Don't expect Gears to hold the title of "year's best selling game" for too long, though. As the industry gets into October and November, even bigger blockbusters are on the way, including EA's Battlefield 3 and Activision's Modern Warfare 3, which is expected to once again set entertainment industry records for its opening weekend.
Last year's installment of the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops, boasted sales of $360 million in just one day, with the game topping $650 million within five and $1 billion in less than six weeks.