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Modern Warfare 3, the latest spinoff of the popular Call of Duty video game series, has officially beaten the quickest-to-a-billion-dollars record previously set by Avatar.

James Cameron’s epic effort took 17 days to hit that mark; Modern Warfare 3 took 16.

It’s an incredible benchmark for the series, and it’s evidence that video games have become one of the most economically vibrant corners of the media marketplace.

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According to Variety, aggregate video game sales in November were up 15 percent thanks to high-profile sequels: Modern Warfare 3, Elder Scroll V: Skyrim, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

However, overall revenue was flat, due in part to discounted hardware costs.

Will that change in 2012 with new consoles being rolled out? Stay tuned.