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Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:06 PM

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$500m video game escapes GCC ban, goes on sale

Distributor confirms availability of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in the Gulf region.

Gulf video gamers were celebrating on Tuesday as one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of all time went on sale across the region - and escaped the ban its predecessor suffered in the GCC.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the sequel to a game that sold more than 13 million copies around the world. The new game, which has already been hailed by critics for its state-of-the-art graphics and immersive storyline, is expected to eclipse that figure by some distance.

There had been concerns that the sequel, an action-packed shooter in which the player takes on the role of US and UK special forces, might suffer the same fate as its predecessor, which was banned in Gulf states including the UAE.

The first game centred on a radical leader staging a coup d'état in the Middle East. In the sequel, however, the player’s opponents are Russian ultranationalists.

And on Tuesday the game’s distributor in the region, Red Entertainment Distribution, confirmed that the game was on sale in the Gulf on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

“We have shipped the game to retailers across the region and it has gone on sale in most places from today. Gamers across the region should have access to the game by this weekend,” Nitin Mathew, marketing manager at Red Entertainment, told Arabian Business.

“Given the early critical acclaim from media around the world, the game is one of the strongest contenders for ‘Game of the Year’ awards and possibly one of the largest entertainment launches of all time,” he added.

In the US and UK alone over 3.25 million units were pre-ordered, and most games retailers opened their stores at midnight to satisfy eager fans.

The game is expected to eclipse the most recent Harry Potter film, which tops the list of movie opening weekends with revenue of just under $400m worldwide. Modern Warfare 2 is tipped to break the $500m barrier this weekend.

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