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EA Takes to the 'Battlefield' Against Activision

There has never been a lot of love lost between Activision and Electronic Arts. The two video game publishers fight over just about everything.

But with Tuesday's launch of EA's "Battlefield 3," the clash is taking on a particular sense of importance. At stake: The supremely profitable shooter genre – and possibly the fate of EA's long-in-the-making turnaround.

"Battlefield 3," if you've missed the near omnipresent commercials and billboards, is a modern military shooter developed by EA. Driven by one of the most startlingly lifelike graphics around, the game hopes to steal some of the thunder from Activision's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," the latest installment in the multi-billion dollar franchise.

For the past two years, "Call of Duty" has set entertainment industry opening day records – and it's a virtual lock-in that it will do so again this year. (Last year's game, subtitled "Black Ops" had opening day sales of $360 million in the U.S. and U.K – and went on to become the best selling video game of all time.)

And while "Battlefield 3" is unlikely to knock it from its perch, MKM Partners' Eric Handler recently upped his 2011 sales estimates for the game to 8.5 million copies.
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