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'Skyrim' screams out the starting gate


Bethesda's newest game- "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" - seems to be flying off shelves. And for good reason.

Bethesda's newest open-world role-playing game — "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" — has come screaming out of the starting gate.

According to "Skyrim" publisher — ZeniMax Media — they have shipped 7 million units of the epic, medieval-themed game of exploring and dragon slaying. And they expect those copies of the game to generate more than $450 million in global retail sales.

ZeniMax also reports that more than 3.5 million of those launch units were sold in the first 48 hours the game was available.

It's worth noting that shipped numbers are different than sales numbers. By way of comparison, the new "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" game — which launched last week along with "Skyrim" — sold 6.5 million copies in its first 24 hours ... and that's just in the U.S. and U.K. That makes "Modern Warfare 3" the biggest entertainment launch in history.

Still, it's clear that Bethesda and ZeniMax have a huge hit on their hands. "Skyrim" — which is the follow-up to Bethesda's "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" — can be played on Xbox 360s, PlayStation 3s and PCs. And ZeniMax says the game has set a record on Steam — Valve's online gaming and download service.

That is, Steam reported that in the first 24 hours of "Skyrim's" release, it drew in more than 280,000 concurrent players, far outdistancing all other titles.

And really, it's no wonder people are snapping up and downloading copies as fast as they can. According to critic aggregation site MetaCritic.com — "Skyrim" currently holds a score of 96 out 100 with a whopping 24 reviewers giving it a perfect 100.

Our own In-Game editor Todd Kenreck called it "breathtaking" and "enthralling." In fact, check out his full video review right here:

And if you're one of those people who hasn't yet jumped into "Skyrim," by all means do. But first, check out our interview with game director Todd Howard and his five tips for getting the most out of "Skyrim."

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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+.  And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.