Launch of Black Ops

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To finish off this Case Study on Call of Duty: Black Ops, I am going to write a little bit about the launch of the game.

The game was launched on the 9th of November 2010 and once again Activision have not failed to impress. Before the launch of Black Ops their previous 2009 release Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 held the record for the biggest entertainment launch in the world, standing at a whopping 4.7 million copies of the game worldwide, amounting to a $310 million revenue in the first 24 hours of launch which is impressive to say the least!

Black Ops however, blew this out of the water by selling an impressive 5.6 million copies of the game in the first 24 hours, consisting of the Normal Edition of the game, the Hardened Edition of the game and the Prestige Edition of the game, all of which come with different bonus items for the player to have extra fun with. This has amounted to a massive $360 million in revenue for Activision. Despite being created by a different developer than Modern Warfare 2 the game seems to have sold better. It will remain to be seen as to if Infinity Ward will beat this once again with rumours of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 currently being in production.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition



An Overview of Call of Duty: Black Ops

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Before I start on the hardcore facts and figures and the marketing schemes that worked well for the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops im going to write my thoughts on the game itself and how I thought the game compared to its predecessors.

The first time I heard they were bringing a new Call of Duty game out, I was excited to see what would come out and how it would live up to my expectations. It wasn’t long after that when I saw the trailer for the game,

After seeing that trailer It got me quite excited to play the game because it showed the characters wearing Vietnam war era clothing and webbing and I like the whole Vietnam war era webbing and arms such as the M1956 webbing and the M14 rifle. It wasn’t long after seeing the standard trailer that I saw the other official trailer for the game that featured the song “Wont Back Down” by Eminem and P!nk which fitted extremely well with the trailer.

Both of these trailers can be found on the official Treyarch Channel

Treyarch Youtube Channel:

When it came to the launch of the game, I was eager to play the game however I didn’t get caught up in the hype and stand in the launch day queues as I don’t actually own a console to play the game on as my Xbox 360 overheated and broke due to over playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for a very long time. A few days after release I went to a friends house to play the game.

We started off by playing on the “Zombies” mode which it would appear that Treyarch have just taken the same feature that was on Call of Duty: World at War, changed the guns and the maps to make it fit with the rest of the theme of the game and left it at that, its basically just painting an old room with a new colour which didn’t impress me much if im honest.

The cover of the Black Ops game case

After playing the Zombies mode of the game, we then went onto playing the Multiplayer mode against each other, just four of us playing on split screen. We were hoping that it would live up to our expectations of the fantastic Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer mode, but alas, it didn’t. I loved the fact you could customise your own character and dress him in a multitude of combinations of clothing and weaponry which was great from an aesthetic point but its the gameplay that really matters. When it came down to the game play there is massive room for improvement. Sure there is a variety of maps to choose from however the gameplay is a straight set and non customizable. In Modern Warfare 2 you could change how much health that the players had and the regeneration time of that health therefore meaning you could set it to a more realistic difficulty. Just as you can turn the radar off so that it makes it more realistic too. You could turn off the kill cam so that it doesn’t show you how you died and you can just carry on with the game. The Multiplayer mode in BlackOps doesn’t let you change any of that which means that you could be stood there unloading silly amounts of ammo into someone and they would just carry on shooting back instead of falling to the floor. That however is just my personal opinion, liking whatever I shoot to stay down and liking my games to be as realistic as possible.

Anyway thats enough about the bad parts of the game, its time to give this long awaited instalment of the well know series its due. The Story mode is fantastic! I loved it, even if you havent played any of the other games in the series then it is easy to follow and easy to get into. The control system is easy to get the hang of as it is the same as the last three games in the series which means existing players won’t have to learn a new set of controls allowing to swap and change and play most of the games in the series without having to adapt their gaming style for each one they play. The way all the surroundings are designed, all the sounds all the little things that might seem insignificant are all equally important in this game. There are so many combinations of guns and accessories to use on the guns that there is always a different gun to use in a different situation. The bottom line of it it that the Story line, the Character design and the Scenery design are all amazing. Its a game that keeps you engaged all the way through the story mode and leaves you wanting more of the story. So I would recommend playing Call of Duty: Black Ops if you are a player that plays for fun and enjoys playing the single player story modes but if you are a player that enjoys playing the multiplayer split screen with a few friends while having a giggle then I would recommend playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Activision, Infinity Ward and Treyarch

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In this post I am going to investigate a little into the history and the background of Video Games Publisher Activision and Games Developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch, the two main contributors to the Call of Duty franchise!

First of all I will start off with Publisher Activision as they have published all of the games in the Call of Duty series and also such well known video games series’ such as Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawks and Spyro the Dragon. On the 9th of July 2008 the deal was closed that Activision would merge with Vivendi Games who already owned Blizzard Entertainment who created such games as World of Warcraft and therefore meaning that the company, after the merger would be known as Activision Blizzard Inc. despite Vivendi SA owning a majority share in the company, Robert Kotick, former Activision CEO sits at the top of the company as CEO for the newly merged company.

Activision was first founded on the 1st of October 1979 and became the worlds first ever company to become both an independent developer and distributer and also became the first third party video games publisher in the world. After merging in 1986 with a text based games developer called Infocom there was a change in leadership and direction for the company as in 1988 they decided to stick their fingers into other areas of software and began to market Application Software. Thus the company changed their name to Mediagenic despite still releasing games under the Activision label.

Robert Kotick CEO of Activision Blizard Inc.

Soon after that, there was yet another change in leadership as the company was taken over in 1991 by current CEO Robert Kotick. Kotick restructured the company and merged Mediagenic with a company called The Disk Company in and changed the companies name back to Activision in 1992. One of the reasons for this is that in 1991 Mediagenic lost $26.8 million in revenues and almost went bankrupt.

Lets skip ahead a bit because there is so much more I could talk about in the history of the company but it is not really relevant as it doesn’t link directly to the Call of Duty series. Before I move onto talking about Infinity Ward and Treyarch I shall give you a brief time line of Activision‘s activities that link to the Call of Duty games.

2000: Activision made an equity investment into Grey Matter Interactive
2001: Activision
acquired Treyarch
2002: Activision
made an equity investment into Infinity Ward
2003: Activision
acquired Infinity Ward

Now you’ve seen a little insight into the history of Activision and when they acquired the two major developers that worked on the Call of Duty series.

Lets look at Infinity Ward first because even though Activision acquired Infinity Ward before they acquired Treyarch, Infinity Ward entered into the Call of Duty franchise first with the development and release of the first game in the series.

Infinity Ward was originally founded in 2002 in California. The company was founded by Grant Collier, Jason West and Vince Zampella who along with the other 19 founding employees of the company all worked on the Medal of Honor: Allied Assault project for TwentyFifteen Inc. As of November 2010, Infinity Ward has about 70 employees working for them.

Treyarch however had a few more years experience under their belt and a few more hit titles, such as Tony Hawks Pro Skater and Spiderman, before they were acquired by Activision. Treyarch was founded in 1996 and was acquired by Activision in 2001. Four years later in 2005 after Activision had made an equity investment into Grey Matter Interactive and acquired Treyarch, the two merged into one and games are no longer recognised by the name Grey Matter Interactive.


History of the Call of Duty Series

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For this Challenge, we have been asked to produce a Case Study on a product from a list of products. I have chosen to research into the new Call of Duty game, Black Ops. For those that dont know what the Call of Duty game series is of where it started, here is a brief history.

This is the Logo for the Call of Duty Franchise

It all started with the release of the original Call of Duty game that was developed by a newly founded company called Infinity Ward. The game was release for PC and Mac on October the 29th 2003. On the 24th of September 2004 an expansion pack called Call of Duty: United Offensive was released. This was an expansion for the original game, also for PC and Mac, however this was created by a developer called Grey Matter Interactive. This expansion saw the entrance of lots of new features to the game such as the ability to Sprint. The first of the Call of Duty games to hit the Consoles was Call of Duty: Finest Hour which was released on Sony’s Playstation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Gamecube. It was developed by a company called Spark Unlimited.

This is the artwork for the Call of Duty 2 Game Case

This is the artwork for the Call of Duty 2 Game Case

On the 25th of October 2005, Infinity Ward once again emerged as the developer of Call of Duty 2 which quickly became one of the must have games for Microsoft’s new Xbox 360, selling over 250,000 copies for the Xbox 360 alone in its first week. The game was also released on PC and Mac. By November 2005, Treyarch made their first appearance into the Call of Duty franchise by releasing a spinoff expansion of Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube called Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Call of Duty 3 was the first of the main games in the series that wasn’t developed by Infinity Ward, It was instead developed by Treyarch and was released on the 7th of November 2006. Across platform generations, this instalment of the series was released on Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Nintendo‘s new Wii console.

After missing out on the development of Call of Duty 3, Infinity Ward returned to the Call of Duty scene and by all accounts, shook the world and brought forth a new creation that steered away from the standard World War 2 gaming experience brought from the other Call of Duty games and released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare! This saw the advancements of the modern age weaponry come into video games. A massive range of different guns to use and also the “Perk” system for the multiplayer mode which made multiplayer so much more interesting to play as there was such a wide variety of combinations of classes people could make up. Also one of the other features that worked well in the Modern Warfare multiplayer mode was the challenges and ranks system. The more challenges you completed, the faster you climbed the ranks until you got to the top Rank and then you could play “Prestige” mode and start over again.

This is the game artwork on the case of Modern Warfare 2

This is the game artwork on the case of Modern Warfare 2

In 2008 Treyarch, once again bounced back with the fifth game in the series, Call of Duty: World at War. This once again saw the series move back into World War II. As well as having the story mode and the multiplayer mode. World at War also introduced a new gameplay mode called “Nazi Zombies” which saw players fighting off multiple waves of Zombies, with the difficulty increasing with every wave that comes. The alternative gameplay mode was certainly well received as Treyarch released bonus maps and extra content that was available for purchase and download.

After the success of their Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, had built up massive hype about their next release, on the 10th of November 2009 was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and they didn’t fail to impress. The story mode followed on seamlessly, multiplayer drastically improved, more perks, more guns, more maps and also the new “Emblems” system that they brought out which meant that players could unlock different logos to put up on their rank tag if they met certain unknown criteria making it even more entertaining as some players racked up massive amounts of play time as they tried to unlock all of the different emblems and ranks. As well as the improved multiplayer mode, Infinity Ward also added another alternate mode to play, SpecOps mode. This allowed players to play through a series of smaller challenges on 3 different difficulty levels either on their own or with a friend.

The last seven years has seen a drastic change in technologies and a rise in the quality of the games and this can be seen by comparing the first Call of Duty game with the newest release, Call of Duty: Black Ops. This is another Treyarch production. It seems there is a growing trend in the alternating of development companies. Infinity Ward producing one game and then Treyarch producing the next.