Modern Warfare 3: Armed and dangerous

EA has waged a war of words with Activision – but is it really winning? Call of Duty showed no signs of weakness at its first franchise expo last week.

Thousands of fans travelled to LA for Call of Duty XP, getting hands-on time with Modern Warfare 3 and taking part in activities such as paintball and zip lines, proving the strength of the FPS mega franchise. And Activision’s keynote at XP mapped out the publisher’s aggressive plans to dominate Christmas once again, as well as lay the groundwork for COD’s future.

The double launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and new social networking service COD Elite highlights Activision’s determination to capture the hearts of consumers both on and off the High Street.

Finally detailed during COD XP’s keynote, the annual premium subscription for social service Elite will cost 34.99 and grant users access to all DLC, Hollywood-produced videos and competitions, as well as all of the community features in the free version.

Elite will be integrated into every future Call of Duty title, starting with Modern Warfare 3 on November 8th.

Activision’s digital VP Jamie Berger told MCV that the High Street will be central to Elite’s rollout. He said: The vast majority of consumers don’t live in the world of DLC, clans and all these other ideas. They aren’t coming to our sites and learning about these things. They need help and retailers are going to be a tremendous part of that.”

Activision also confirmed Facebook integration and smartphone apps, fortifying COD’s long-term strategy to encompass every aspect of gaming: boxed product, DLC, social media, mobile and live events.

The thousands of avid fans that attended COD XP proves how much of a colossus Call of Duty has become, as well as the length Activision will go in securing its hard-earned audience of 30m online gamers worldwide. Battlefield, take note.

CoD XP speaks to the size and scope of our community,” Infinity Ward’s creative strategist Robert Bowling told MCV.It’s one thing to just say that you have 30m people who play your game online, but it’s totally different to have an event of this size.”

Berger added: Call of Duty has reached a level of cultural currency that is beyond ‘just a game’.”

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