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Call of Duty®: Black Ops

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Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Hurricane Sandy-related power outages are to blame for a variety of tech issues today. Gaming has not been spared the weather's wrath, and Activision has announced that online play for select Call of Duty and Guitar Hero titles will be problematic while data centers attempt to restore power.

Players will have "some trouble connecting" to all versions of Call of Duty: World at War and all online-enabled versions of Guitar Hero. In addition, the PS3 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the PS3, PC, and Wii versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops are also experiencing service outages.

Activision's One of Swords advises that the company is "working on restoring full functionality as soon as possible," but notes that they do not know precisely when that will be.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Mac gaming has come a long, long way over the past few years, but apparently not everyone has received the memo yet. While Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is mere months away for launching on PC and consoles, the original Cod Blops from 2010 is only just making its way to shiny white Apple things this week.

Cod Blops will launch for Mac OS X on September 27, porting specialist Aspyr announced last week, priced at $49.99 and including the originally $15 'First Strike' DLC pack. It'll be available on Steam but won't be a SteamPlay title, so you won't receive it if you already own Cod Blops for Windows on Steam, and vice versa.

Aspyr will release the other two Cod Blops DLC packs on Mac as a bundle "later this year."

Check the system requirements this-a-way.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

If you're an Android owner and a fan of capping the undead, you might have been a little disappointed by last month's news that Black Ops Zombies was only available exclusively on Sony Xperia devices. Unless you happened to own Sony's Xperia S or Xperia Ion, you were out of luck. Fortunately, that exclusivity window has closed and now any Android player can get their zombie fix.

The game is now available on Google Play, and will cost you $6.99. It features an upgradable perks system like the console title it's based on. It also includes a handful of maps for single- and multiplayer modes, and a gauntlet "Dead Ops Arcade" mode.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies, the mobile undead-centric spin-off from the console Black Ops title, has now hit Android. The bad news? If you happen to own any Android device but Sony's Xperia S or Xperia Ion, you'll have to wait another 30 days to get it on your device. Yes, even open platforms are getting hardware exclusivity deals now.

Like the iOS version, the Android version costs $6.99, and approximates the zombie-hunting action from the console game. It features a handful of maps, a gauntlet "Dead-Ops Arcade" mode, and solo and multiplayer complete with a perks system.

"We're delighted to bring the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise to Android smartphones and Xperia for the first time. And what better way to make this introduction than with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies," said Sony Mobile's Tim Harrison. "There's nothing else in this world or the underworld like Call of Duty. We can't wait to unleash Zombies to our fans."

That last line sounds vaguely threatening, but regardless you can grab the game now on Google Play.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

While Electronic Arts is celebrating the fourth with double XP in Battlefield 3, Activision is taking a different approach. Starting today, all previously released DLC for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops will be available for half-off. The deal is available on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, and will be ongoing for a week.

That means all four Black Ops packs--First Strike, Escalation, Annihilation, and Rezurrection--will be available for $7.50 each. The two Modern Warfare 3 "content collections" are also available at a discount.

In addition, a portion of sales from the DLC promotion will be donated to Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that provides job placement and training services for veterans.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Sure, the rest of the world is waiting for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but Mac gamers will finally be able to get their hands on the original Treyarch shooter later this year. It will be the first Mac Call of Duty since the original Modern Warfare. Neither Modern Warfare 2 and 3 were ever ported to OS X.

Mac specialist publisher Aspyr Media is handling the port, and is aiming to have it available at both retail and online later this fall.

The initial announcement doesn't reveal a price of minimum spec requirements. However, Aspyr's port of Call of Duty 4 retails for $40 (currently "on sale" for $20).

Curiously, it appears the numerous DLC packages released following Black Ops' launch may not be included with this years-late re-release. In a separate bullet point, Aspyr notes that "all four packs of Call of Duty: Black Ops DLC are scheduled to arrive on the Mac later this year. More details to be released soon."

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

While Activision's official reveal isn't set until May 1st, it appears the cat is finally out of the bag. This year's entry to the Call of Duty series will be Black Ops 2, a pre-order card spotted at Target reveals.

According to the promotional materials, the Treyarch-developed sequel will be available on November 13th, giving it an almost-clever release date of 11/13/12.

IGN reader "Richard" sent in the following photographic evidence:

Target reveals the next Call of Duty

Rumors have long-pegged this year's Call of Duty as a sequel to Black Ops. Could other rumors--like a possible future setting--be true as well?

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Call of Duty: Black Ops may be getting a sequel this year, if online retailer Amazon is to be believed. The site's French arm put up a product page for "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2," before pulling the page down. That's when things reportedly started to heat up between Activision and the French media.

French site GameBlog (via GameSpot) reports that the after publishing news of the leaked site, Activision contacted the blog requesting the story be pulled. When GameBlog refused, Activision disinvited the site from a preview event for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and supposedly canceled advertising. This doesn't confirm the news, of course.

Still, a sequel to Black Ops certainly makes sense. Before the juggernaut that is Modern Warfare 3 trumped its early records, Black Ops was Activision's most successful Call of Duty title. In fact, it called the game the best-selling game of all time in terms of dollars generated. Activision also recently reacquired the Black Ops 2 domain.

Joystiq also discovered a LinkedIn profile referencing development on Black Ops 2.

A sequel to Black Ops seems very likely, but it would be at odds with Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg's claim that this year's Call of Duty would bring "meaningful innovation to the franchise." Call of Duty Elite 2.0 will be built into this whatever Call of Duty 2012 turns out to be.

Shacknews has contacted Activision regarding the report, and will update as more information becomes available.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

It's likely that there will be another Call of Duty game this year, and it's a safe bet to assume it won't be Modern Warfare 4. (Not yet, anyway!) So what could Activision be working on? Well, history has taught us that it should be developer Treyarch's turn to churn out this year's iteration of Call of Duty--and what exactly could they be working on?

They could be working on a sequel to Black Ops, 2010's entry which took the franchise to the Vietnam War. A new report reveals that Activision has managed to acquire the blackops2.com domain, and has transferred it to a brand protection company.

Fusible (via Joystiq) notes that Activision had previously purchased a number of Black Ops-related domains last year, including blackops6.com. However, blackops2.com was only recently acquired.

While the domain registrations could be protective (Activision had a very public fight to reacquire a Modern Warfare 3 URL which was used to promote EA's competing Battlefield 3), Activision decided to shell out money for the domain now, instead of months earlier. The transfer of the domain to MarkMonitor, an internet brand protection company, may also suggest Activision is eager to use the domain for marketing purposes.

Black Ops is one of the most popular games of all time. It was the top-played game on Xbox Live throughout 2011, and its Zombies mode has proven to be quite popular.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The Call of Duty franchise occupies the three top spots in Microsoft's chart of the most-played games on Xbox Live in 2011, with Call of Duty: Black Ops claiming the throne. Microsoft has also shared the top-twenty charts for Xbox Live Arcade, Games for Windows Live, Xbox Live Indie Games, and Windows Phone.

This year's CoD installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, took second place, which is to be expected given that it was only released in November. Surprisingly, 2009's Modern Warfare 2 still managed to claim third. It was followed by Halo: Reach, Battlefield 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Gears of War 3, then FIFA Soccer 12.

2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare still came in at number 14, after all this time, while 2008's CoD: World at War clung to the twentieth spot.

The XBLA chart, which tracks full versions "purchased," is in fact led by a free game, Pinball FX 2, which costs nothing to download but charges for tables to play on. Microsoft's Full House Poker comes in second, followed by Castle Crashers, Fruit Ninja Kinect--though XBLA codes for it were also packed in with retail release The Gunstringer--then From Dust.

Over on Xbox Live Indie Games, Minecraft clone FortressCraft Chapter 1 sold the most.

While the main Xbox 360 charts can't track those who haven't gone online with Xbox Live, they do at least track all games and paint a solid portrait. Less useful is the Games for Windows Live chart, which only tracks the PC games that use Microsoft's maligned platform. Of those few, the free-to-play Age of Empires Online came top, followed by Grand Theft Auto IV and Batman: Arkham City.

And, of course, it's no surprise that Angry Birds was the most-played on Windows Phone.

Microsoft mouthpiece Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb has the full charts.

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