SANTA MONICA: Activision, the company behind the videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, is anticipating record sales for the most-hyped game of the year, which could potentially boost the performance of the sector as a whole.

Activision Blizzard, which has been advertising its first-person shooter game since March, says that with both Wal-Mart and Amazon offering special deals on the title, MW2 could provide a much-needed fillip for the entire industry.

"It's the biggest launch in our history, bigger than Halo 3," says Tony Bartel, merchandising and marketing chief for video retailer GameStop, which has been taking pre-orders since April.  

While the early Call of Duty games, set around World War 2, sold only moderately well, it was version four, placed in modern times, that really took off, selling six million units in its first quarter.

Analysts, who claim that Activision rivals have postponed their own launches so as not to directly compete with the new game, believe that sales of the sequel could soar to double that amount.

While details of the action remain under wraps, MW2 is understood to include new weapons and battlegrounds as well as lavish scenes of civilian slaughter. At least part of the action is set in Washington.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff