Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter have been banned in Pakistan by the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Cassette Traders and Manufacturers Association (APCDACTM). The group issued a boycott of the games because they depict Pakistan and the country’s intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, as supporting terrorist group l Qaeda and jihadist organizations.
The circular handed out to shop owner members reads:
On CNN's State of the Union with host Candy Crowley, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TENN.) sat in on a panel discussion about gun control and the likelihood of legislation being passed by the current Congress. But instead of discussing gun control, Blackburn decided to take a few shots at Activision's Call of Duty series. Blackburn said that in preparation to appear on the show she watched some video of the game and was shocked at the violence she saw... she also called the game "Call to Duty."
According to this Reddit thread the top Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Xbox Live player in the country has reset his stats after a continual barrage of DDoS and personal attacks from people being categorized as "jealous players." The player, who plays online under the name "Retrominano," decided that it was easier to just reset his rankings in the game than to deal with the onslaught of personal attacks and attacks on his connection.
The Hartford Courant is highlighting a story about a 12-year-old Newtown, Connecticut boy who has started a campaign to "stop playing violent video games." Max Goldstein, a 12-year-old student who attends Newtown Middle School, says that he decided to stop playing games like "Call of Duty" after attending the funeral of one of his brother's friends who had been killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shoot
This is sure to put analyst Michael Pachter on someone's naughty list: Recently he said that Activision needs to start charging a fee for the multiplayer portion of its Call of Duty games. Wedbush Securities industry analyst Michael Pachter made his comments during the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco, California (as reported by GamesIndustry International). During his presentation he said that Activision made a serious mistake when it didn't implement a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer.
My, Mr. Zelnick sure is chatty this week.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GameSpot UK that the secret to Grand Theft Auto's continued success is the fact that the games are released years apart, making each debut special.
"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent," said Zelnick, "then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently."
Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned recently from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) due to a scandal related to an extra-marital affair (which continues to play out in the news this week) has apparently received a promotion in the latest chapter of the Call of Duty series. In the latest game - released this week - Black Ops II - Petraeus is the Secretary of Defense in the year 2025. He appears in part of the story, riding aboard the U.S.S. Barack Obama.
YouTube sensation The Fine Brothers Productions offers a nifty new video featuring a group of elderly people watching and reacting to the new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. While some of the "seasoned" participants seemed close minded about the idea of children (teens) or adults playing such a violent first-person shooter (one person said it could train people to kill) there are a few bright spots of commentary on the usefulness of violent video games as a teaching tool.
Activision is gearing up to sell Call of Duty dog tags at select retailers throughout North America, with the proceeds going to its non-profit charitable organization, the Call of Duty Endowment. The Call of Duty dog tags will carry a suggested retail price of $4.99 and will be for sale beginning today at retailers GameStop, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Best Buy and Target.
Earlier this month, an unknown number of CoD players balked at the religious text inscribed on the frame of a picture hung in the bathroom of the Favela multiplayer map. In response, developer Infinity Ward promised to edit the offending imagery and subsequently removed the entire map from play.
About two weeks later, the edited map was made available to PS3 gamers. Xbox 360 and PC players should have access to it soon.
Earlier this month some Muslims in the Call of Duty community complained that the Favela multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was offensive because a painting placed above a toilet had holy teachings written around its frame "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty."
CBS Cleveland News is reporting that 15-year-old Tyler Rigby has been hospitalized after a 4-day gaming marathon left him severely dehydrated. Reportedly, the Columbus teen locked himself in his room to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. According to his mother, he emerged for the occasional potty and snack break.
Treyarch is diving headfirst into politics with the new villain from Call of Duty Black Ops 2. According to Gameranx the new villain will be Raul Menendez, a man described as a "champion of the 99 percent," who is a lot like Wikileaks front man Julian Assange. In the game Menendez hopes to start a "global insurrection against the status quo."
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick admitted in a recent interview with CNBC Asia’s Squawk Box that bringing Call of Duty Online to market in China is a risky proposition. While Kotick expresses confidence in Tencent Holdings in making the game based on its popular first-person shooter series successful in Mainland China, Kotick also knows that there is a risk when bringing a Western game into a new market with different business models and player tastes.
Activision Blizzard has inked a deal with Chinese online games giant Tencent Holdings Limited to bring Call of Duty Online to Chinese players. In its announcement this morning Activision said that Call of Duty Online has been in development by Activision Publishing for approximately two years. Under the multi-year agreement with Activision Publishing, Tencent gains the exclusive licensing rights to operate Call of Duty Online in mainland China. The game is described as free-to-play and uses a monetized in-game store to sell virtual items.
Update: Polygon is reporting that, after a few days of closed door negotiations, Activision has settled its lawsuit with former Infinity Ward creative leads Jason West and Vincent Zampella, and 40 former Infinity Ward developers. Attorneys involved in the case told Polygon that the case won't be going to trial. A jury trial was scheduled for tomorrow.
Documents from the legal battle between Activision and former Infinity Ward studio leads Jason West and Vincent Zampella have been unsealed revealing a bunch of details on the contract between Bungie and Activision. According to the LA Times, the documents are part of the case because the duo's lawyer Robert M. Schwartz is using the details of that deal to demand compensation for his clients.
LA Times reporter Ben Fritz, who is in close proximity of the Activision v. West and Zampella court case happening in Los Angeles today has been furiously tweeting various scoops via his Twitter account. Among the revelations are that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle has denied Activision's motion to postpone the case for an additional thirty days. The trail will begin as scheduled on May 29.
According to a report from Polygon citing a source "familiar with the case," Activision has delivered a check for $47 million to lawyers representing the so-called "Infinity Ward Employee Group." This group made up of ex-employees of the studio that created the popular Call of Duty series claimed that Activision failed to pay to pay them royalties owed on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Analyst Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated sent out a note this morning to investors of Activision stock saying that they are maintaining a rating of outperform. This rating is based on Activision's latest financial results which were fairly solid thanks to sales of its Skylanders line of toy-game hybrid products for various platforms and continued sales growth in its Call of Duty Elite membership program.
A new petition is online to protest the release of DLC for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. More specifically protest organizers are urging the CoD community not to download and buy any DLC for the game until Infinity Ward and Activsion fix a number of problems with the core game. So far the petition has 240 signatures, the Twitter feed dedicated to it has 1183 followers and a YouTube video explaining what the protest is all about has been viewed 2400 times.
Fox News commentator Oliver North has been signed to help Activision sell its next big Call of Duty game, Call of Duty Black Ops 2. North appears on-screen in an infomercial for the game talking about war. We'll leave the characterizations to Fox News (from his bio there as a contributor to the network) and this Wikipedia entry on him, but the short story is that North's past is marked with scandal.
PiperJaffray analyst Michael Olson says that Call of Duty's "shortened tail" and a general lack of hits are the reasons for lower retail games sales recently. Olson says that the latest game in the series - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 - isn't maintaining the same long tail sales that 2010's Call of Duty: Black Ops enjoyed. He projects that the game will be the eighth largest selling game in March 2012, comparing it to Blacks Ops - which was the fifth best selling game in the same period a year ago.
A company called Worlds Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for infringing a patent the company holds related to virtual worlds. Let the trolling begin anew. Worlds Inc. claims that the company is violating a patent it holds related to "systems and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space." The company alleges in its claim that Activision's World of Warcraft and Call of Duty games violate its patents and that it is due compensation for it.
Activision Blizzard had some luck this week in court when one of the claims of fraud brought against it in the ongoing legal battle against former Infinity Ward heads (Jason West and Vincent Zampella) and Electronic Arts was dismissed by the presiding judge. California State Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle (Los Angeles) today sided with Activision in their assertion that a fraudulent-inducement claim made by West and Zampella was without merit and shouldn't be allowed to move forward. Judge Berle let the duo's claim of promissory fraud move forward.
Common sense dictates that you can't scream "fire!" in a crowded movie theater and that doing so isn't considered protected speech. In the wake of the recent Ohio school shootings, making public jokes about shooting up your local high school also falls under the purview of widely held common sense doctrine.
Yesterday, we reported that French gaming site Gameblog had apparently been blacklisted by Activision for reporting that Amazon’s French portal had briefly posted a listing for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Gameblog editor Grégory Szriftgiser spoke to Kotaku about what happened:
Activision is not a happy camper today as the name of its next Call of Duty title is leaked by Amazon's French portal, then quickly taken offline. According to the Amazon France page, the name of the next game is "Call of Duty Black Ops 2." The news was first reported by Gameblog.