Introducing Call of Duty XP 2011, BlizzCon for Call of Duty Fans

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Avatar image for patrickklepek
Posted by patrickklepek (6436 posts) -

How many Call of Duty fans would travel to Los Angeles and pay $150 for a two-day event featuring the first hands-on with Modern Warfare 3, the chance to play real-life paintball based on a Modern Warfare 2 map and other ridiculousness? Activision's betting 6,000 people will.

Activision's calling this Call of Duty XP 2011. It takes place on September 2 and 3, within a 12-acre compound in California that's going to "feel like you stepped into the game," according to Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, whom I recently spoke to on the phone about the event.

You might know Hirschberg's name because I've published parts of his internal memos to Activision on Giant Bomb before. That didn't exactly come up during our conversation yesterday.

There are a couple of things to note about the price tag associated with Call of Duty XP 2011. BlizzCon, which Hirshberg admitted to deeply examining while planning, is charging $175. In this case, Activision is not profiting from the tickets. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales are going into the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit that helps transition veterans into civilian life.

"The event itself will cost us considerably more than we would have recouped from ticket sales, anyway," said Hirshberg. "Part of it is about raising money for a great cause, part of it's about just giving a kick-ass experience for the fans."

Attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with Modern Warfare 3 for the first time.
Attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with Modern Warfare 3 for the first time.
== TEASER ==

Hirshberg noted the $150 tag fell about in line with the going rate for similar events.

"When we decided to make it 100% of the proceeds donation to Call of Duty Endowment, we wanted to make that a meaningful donation number," he said. "It felt about right, and I think that for $150, we're going to deliver a two-day experience that will be an unbelievable value to anyone who attends."

What're you getting for your money?

First crack at playing Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer and Spec-Ops modes, a chance to compete in a 32-team bracketed tournament for more than one million in cash and prizes, panels with Call of Duty developers, live shows from unnamed "AAA entertainment," an on-site museum, access to a paintball setup modeled after the "Scrapyard" map from Modern Warare 2, some mysterious exclusives available only to those who attend the event, a usable zip line, a full-scale, playable recreation of The Pit, a chance to eat in Burger Town and some other unannounced "attractions."

If you're not attending, much of the event will be recorded and released online.

"It's all about the experience," said Hirshberg. "It's all about the fact that the game is about mastery, the game is about investment of time and improving and constantly becoming better as you compete. Those are the pillars of this experience. It's all about bringing the experience of the game to life."

The full scope of Call of Duty: Elite, both free and paid, will be revealed at the event.
The full scope of Call of Duty: Elite, both free and paid, will be revealed at the event.

There are no plans to expand the event outside of Los Angeles at the moment, partially because most of the developers are already located in the area. During the event, many of them will be working on Modern Warfare 3, which is already locked into a release date of November 8.

"Obviously, they're going to be hard at work putting the finishing touches on Modern Warare 3 when this happens," he said, "and we wanted to make it easy for them to participate, since they're a huge part of the attraction of being there."

One of the big reveals at Call of Duty XP 2011 will be full clarity on Call of Duty: Elite, the service Activision recently introduced that's stacking on top of Call of Duty. Part of it will be free, part of it will cost money. The biggest cause for confusion when it was first announced was which parts would require players to use a wallet, which Hirshberg promised would be cleared up.

"Part of what we struggled with in the launch," he said, "was because it's so baked into Modern Warfare 3, some of the features weren't demonstrable. We wanted to do a beta, so we had to choose between a rock and a hard place. Launching without a full feature set or doing a beta, we chose the beta because we thought ultimately it's going to let us have a better product at launch. At Call of Duty XP, you'll see the feature set and everything that's free and everything that's paid for will be explained."

Tickets for Call of Duty XP 2011 go on sale on July 19. Are you in?

Avatar image for patrickklepek
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (6436 posts) -

How many Call of Duty fans would travel to Los Angeles and pay $150 for a two-day event featuring the first hands-on with Modern Warfare 3, the chance to play real-life paintball based on a Modern Warfare 2 map and other ridiculousness? Activision's betting 6,000 people will.

Activision's calling this Call of Duty XP 2011. It takes place on September 2 and 3, within a 12-acre compound in California that's going to "feel like you stepped into the game," according to Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, whom I recently spoke to on the phone about the event.

You might know Hirschberg's name because I've published parts of his internal memos to Activision on Giant Bomb before. That didn't exactly come up during our conversation yesterday.

There are a couple of things to note about the price tag associated with Call of Duty XP 2011. BlizzCon, which Hirshberg admitted to deeply examining while planning, is charging $175. In this case, Activision is not profiting from the tickets. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales are going into the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit that helps transition veterans into civilian life.

"The event itself will cost us considerably more than we would have recouped from ticket sales, anyway," said Hirshberg. "Part of it is about raising money for a great cause, part of it's about just giving a kick-ass experience for the fans."

Attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with Modern Warfare 3 for the first time.
Attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with Modern Warfare 3 for the first time.
== TEASER ==

Hirshberg noted the $150 tag fell about in line with the going rate for similar events.

"When we decided to make it 100% of the proceeds donation to Call of Duty Endowment, we wanted to make that a meaningful donation number," he said. "It felt about right, and I think that for $150, we're going to deliver a two-day experience that will be an unbelievable value to anyone who attends."

What're you getting for your money?

First crack at playing Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer and Spec-Ops modes, a chance to compete in a 32-team bracketed tournament for more than one million in cash and prizes, panels with Call of Duty developers, live shows from unnamed "AAA entertainment," an on-site museum, access to a paintball setup modeled after the "Scrapyard" map from Modern Warare 2, some mysterious exclusives available only to those who attend the event, a usable zip line, a full-scale, playable recreation of The Pit, a chance to eat in Burger Town and some other unannounced "attractions."

If you're not attending, much of the event will be recorded and released online.

"It's all about the experience," said Hirshberg. "It's all about the fact that the game is about mastery, the game is about investment of time and improving and constantly becoming better as you compete. Those are the pillars of this experience. It's all about bringing the experience of the game to life."

The full scope of Call of Duty: Elite, both free and paid, will be revealed at the event.
The full scope of Call of Duty: Elite, both free and paid, will be revealed at the event.

There are no plans to expand the event outside of Los Angeles at the moment, partially because most of the developers are already located in the area. During the event, many of them will be working on Modern Warfare 3, which is already locked into a release date of November 8.

"Obviously, they're going to be hard at work putting the finishing touches on Modern Warare 3 when this happens," he said, "and we wanted to make it easy for them to participate, since they're a huge part of the attraction of being there."

One of the big reveals at Call of Duty XP 2011 will be full clarity on Call of Duty: Elite, the service Activision recently introduced that's stacking on top of Call of Duty. Part of it will be free, part of it will cost money. The biggest cause for confusion when it was first announced was which parts would require players to use a wallet, which Hirshberg promised would be cleared up.

"Part of what we struggled with in the launch," he said, "was because it's so baked into Modern Warfare 3, some of the features weren't demonstrable. We wanted to do a beta, so we had to choose between a rock and a hard place. Launching without a full feature set or doing a beta, we chose the beta because we thought ultimately it's going to let us have a better product at launch. At Call of Duty XP, you'll see the feature set and everything that's free and everything that's paid for will be explained."

Tickets for Call of Duty XP 2011 go on sale on July 19. Are you in?

Avatar image for thamilkman
#2 Posted by ThaMilkMan (388 posts) -

hhmmm interesting

Avatar image for deathbyyeti
#3 Posted by DeathbyYeti (790 posts) -

wow really

Avatar image for zameer
#4 Edited by zameer (636 posts) -

Alright I guess? I'd rather they do conventions and make consumers pay for an over-the-top spectacle, rather than nickel and dime them for map packs.

Avatar image for hibikirush
#5 Posted by HibikiRush (221 posts) -

No, I am not in. Thanks for the offer though.

Avatar image for mistersamman
#6 Edited by mistersamman (377 posts) -

Awesome, I am so pumped for this..

/sarcasm

Avatar image for sogeman
#7 Posted by Sogeman (982 posts) -

lol
 
  

Avatar image for liquidpenguins
#8 Posted by LiquidPenguins (194 posts) -

Hello, my name is generic Giant Bomb user and I want that first post quest. I plan on writing a horribly generic post to gain that quest, because it is a good idea.

Avatar image for kryptikjoker
#9 Posted by kryptikjoker (5 posts) -

Turrible.

Avatar image for stealthmaster86
#10 Posted by Stealthmaster86 (739 posts) -

"access to a paintball setup modeled after the "Scrapyard" map from Modern Warare 2" 
 
If that means I can get geared up and do a paintball match with real people that would be cool. Just not 150 dollar one time only cool.

Avatar image for yothatlimp
#11 Posted by YoThatLimp (2317 posts) -

This seems sort of crazy in a way I can Kind of get behind. If i was in Cali I would def be down for this

Avatar image for wumbo3000
#12 Posted by wumbo3000 (1246 posts) -

Is this actually happening?

Avatar image for alwaysbeclothing
#13 Edited by AlwaysBeClothing (1781 posts) -

ALARM WAS SET, WELL WORTH IT

Avatar image for andyman067
#14 Posted by Andyman067 (28 posts) -

Oh man, who's going to go to this? I'm making huge generalizations here, but isn't the biggest CoD demographic around 15? And do that many adults enjoy CoD so much that they'd attend an event for it and pay over $100? I'm not so sure. It seems largely like a "dudebro" game.
 
Either way, I'm interested to see how this turns out.

Avatar image for rargy
#15 Posted by rargy (465 posts) -

Can't wait to see all the Captain Price cosplayers.

Avatar image for hermberger
#16 Posted by hermberger (123 posts) -

That's cool. I want nothing to do with it though.

Avatar image for derangel
#17 Posted by Derangel (39 posts) -

Well it is an interesting idea. I'm not the type that would want to go to, but it seems like a really neat idea for big fans of the series. It's nice to hear that all the ticket proceeds will go to a charity.

Avatar image for bhhawks78
#18 Posted by bhhawks78 (1328 posts) -

To everyone making fun of this, you realize you are posting comments on a video game news story....just saying.

wait nevermind this is comedy gold

Avatar image for man_flannel
#19 Posted by MAN_FLANNEL (2472 posts) -

nice that it's for charity.

Avatar image for spudbug
#20 Posted by SpudBug (708 posts) -

NEVER

Avatar image for theanticitizen
#21 Posted by theanticitizen (396 posts) -

It's not for me but I don't want to criticize either because if I could go to HaloFest I would and I don't see the difference really

Avatar image for machofantastico
#22 Posted by MachoFantastico (6283 posts) -

I know that Call of Duty players are absolutely obsessed with Call of Duty so it'll have a solid crowd and when compared to Blizzcon (which I never realised cost that much) it's probably a rather smart venture.

For a good cause as well. Shocked to be saying something positive about Activision.

Avatar image for vexed
#23 Posted by Vexed (327 posts) -

The whole charity part kinda ruins the joke and makes it seem like a pretty cool thing.  Certainly seems like you get your money's worth too minus travel expenses.

Avatar image for n7
#24 Posted by N7 (4159 posts) -

This actually sounds pretty cool. It would be pretty awesome to go if I could.

Avatar image for reygitano
#25 Posted by ReyGitano (2491 posts) -

Hell no I do not want to be surrounded by the kinds of people I would imagine who would go to a Call of Duty Expo.

Avatar image for onimonkii
#26 Posted by onimonkii (2566 posts) -

blizzcon with 300% fewer games people care about going to see.

Avatar image for branthog
#27 Posted by Branthog (5777 posts) -

Good for the charity it goes to, but I don't see why I can't just wait until the game comes out. It's only a few months away. *shrug*

Avatar image for toma
#28 Posted by TomA (2787 posts) -
@bhhawks78 said:

To everyone making fun of this, you realize you are posting comments on a video game news story....just saying.

wait nevermind this is comedy gold

Ya, cause everyone who is into video games loves Call of Duty right?
Avatar image for tj311
#29 Posted by TJ311 (438 posts) -

Il ive in the LA area but $150 is a little too much for my nonworking college boys budget.

Avatar image for jackel2072
#30 Posted by Jackel2072 (2510 posts) -

would this be fun? yes. but not a 150 dollars worth of fun.

Avatar image for killerfly
#31 Posted by KillerFly (455 posts) -

Easy to laugh at them when it seems like the Call of Duty craze seems so close to it's end. Hard to laugh at them doing it for charity.

Avatar image for subatomicpizza
#32 Posted by subatomicpizza (24 posts) -

"feel like you stepped into the game,"

Pushed around from set-piece to set-piece and not lasting very long?

Avatar image for levio
#33 Posted by Levio (1953 posts) -

People pay that much at amusement parks, so the price is pretty on-par.

Avatar image for jaketaylor
#34 Posted by jaketaylor (363 posts) -

No thanks. Somebody get some video though.

Avatar image for projektgill
#36 Edited by ProjektGill (774 posts) -

Sounds kind of like a mini-theme park for COD fans. I would never want to go though. The people who would go to this are probably the worst kind of online trash but  sprinkled in there will probably be some normal, well-adjusted people.  
 
I really want to believe that doing this for charity was a driving reason to hold this event, but I feel like it was something they decided to shoe-horn in for good press.

Avatar image for the_unabomber
#37 Posted by the_unabomber (38 posts) -

So since this is CoD-con, are they gonna serve nothing but fish & chips?

Avatar image for xeiphyer
#38 Posted by Xeiphyer (5837 posts) -
@subatomicpizza said:

"feel like you stepped into the game,"

Pushed around from set-piece to set-piece and not lasting very long?

And at the end you get stabbed in the chest. Buhdumtish LA.
Avatar image for khann
#39 Posted by khann (3232 posts) -

"GAMES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE TO MAKE, THAT'S WHY WE CHARGE $60 AND $15 FOR MAP PACKS"

*spends millions of dollars on expo*

Oh, and to those saying that it's cool they're doing it for charity... yeah, no. If they gave a shit, they'd just give millions to charity. The only reason they give to charity is to make themselves look good.

Avatar image for chickdigger802
#40 Posted by chickdigger802 (575 posts) -

I remember seeing one of these setups in china except it was air soft and was some map of cs 1.6

Was fun and a lot cheaper than this (around $20 USD). But this seems more like an 'event' not a round, unless it's 3000vs 3000 ;P

Avatar image for coakroach
#41 Posted by coakroach (2497 posts) -
No Caption Provided
Avatar image for mewarmo990
#42 Posted by mewarmo990 (854 posts) -

@the_unabomber said:

So since this is CoD-con, are they gonna serve nothing but fish & chips?

Bah-dum-tish!

Avatar image for warmonked
#43 Posted by warmonked (523 posts) -

@Khann: yea it's self-serving. Would you rather they give nothing to charity? It is a business after all.

Avatar image for khann
#44 Edited by khann (3232 posts) -

@warmonked said:

@Khann: yea it's self-serving. Would you rather they give nothing to charity? It is a business after all.

No, but I'd rather they weren't martyrs about it.

(Yes I realise my use of martyr isn't dictionary perfect)

Avatar image for mewarmo990
#45 Posted by mewarmo990 (854 posts) -

I know that Call of Duty post-MW is wildly popular and all, I can't help but feel that Activision is jumping the shark with this thing. I mean, they can sure as hell afford it after those record profits, but can the staying power of CoD be compared to the likes of WoW and Starcraft?

ehhh.

Avatar image for avidwriter
#46 Posted by avidwriter (704 posts) -

"Activision is not profiting from the tickets" I laughed at this. If they aren't making a profit they wouldn't do it.

Avatar image for somejerk
#47 Posted by SomeJerk (4077 posts) -

If they intend to have a minimum age of 18 to enter, good luck getting 6000 visitors.

Avatar image for chris2klee
#48 Posted by Chris2KLee (2402 posts) -

Money is going to a good cause, so that's fine. Be interesting to see who the unnamed AAA artist is.

Avatar image for mister_snig
#49 Edited by Mister_Snig (758 posts) -

I imagine this being filled with nothing but weed and Tapout shirts.

EDIT: And now after actually reading the article and not just making a dumbass joke, a lot of those attractions sound awesome, especially the Scrapyard recreation.

Avatar image for radioactivez0r
#50 Posted by radioactivez0r (907 posts) -
@Khann: Dude, you've got to be pretty cynical to actually dump on a charitable contribution, regardless of the reasons behind it.  I'm sorry they aren't making a worthy enough donation in your eyes.

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