‘Battlefield 3’ Sales Predicted to Hit 11 Million, First Look at Multiplayer

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Everyone with a console knows that this fall’s biggest FPS showdown will be when EA’s Battlefield 3 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 come out within weeks of each other. And, as fans leaning toward one title or another have fired shots on comment threads all over the web, speculation’s run rampant over which war title will be the sales juggernaut this year. Given the way that various Call of Duty games have performed the last few years, the smart money’s been on Modern Warfare 3 extending Actvision’s dominance on the sales charts.

A recent report by analyst firm Cowen & Company says that the battle may be even tougher than expected. Their research previously pegged first-year sales estimates for Battlefield 3 at about 8 million units, but they’ve now raised that estimate to 11 million based on pre-order activity. Cowen & Company say that BF3 pre-orders are hovering around what Call of Duty: Black Ops did this year. Black Ops went on to make a record-setting $650 million.

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One of the differentiating factors that stands to win gamers’ wallets for both BF3 and MW3 will of course be each game’s multiplayer modes. Activision’s waiting to reveal what players will get with Modern Warfare 3‘s multiplayer, but EA’s just offered a glimpse of Rush Mode, one of Battlefield 3‘s online competitive offerings.

The trailer represents a massive battle in the Paris metro system that moves outside where the chaos expands across an expansive map. I had a chance to go hands-on with a PC build of BF3‘s Rush Mode at E3 this year, and it was frantic, gorgeous fun. The lighting and detail made the action come alive in an incredibly bracing way and the sheer amount of player-controlled characters made it feel impressively immersive.

EA’s not been shy about saying they’re gunning for COD with the newest Battlefield game, and both the multiplayer and analyst research make it seem like they may have a shot. Your move, Activision.

MORE: Activision’s Field Generals Talk ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’