Kotaku

Do Cheap Tactics Ruin Online Multiplayer? In the final daily Speak-Up on Kotaku of 2010, commenter RascalkingTK wonders if cheap bastards tarnish other people's online multiplayer experience as much as they do his.


One of my favorite things about this generation of consoles is the multiplayer experiences. I own both an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 and play them on a regular basis. I'm not one to brag, but I tend to do well in most games I play, ranking in the top 5 more often than not.


But I don't necessarily have to do well to have fun. Actually, I have a fun time as long as I have friends to laugh about it with. Then, there are the joy killers.


You've all met them. They employ tactics that cheapen the gaming experience for everyone that they are around. That world you were so immersed in just a moment ago? No longer, as you are now frustrated and slapping your leg at your now poor performance.


I never try to speak ill of my fellow players, but when someone uses a cheap tactic to come out on top I feel like I've been robbed of my fun time. Being repeatedly hit by grenade launchers in any Call of Duty can really make you feel like all the skill in the room just left the lobby. Same thing in Red Dead Redemption when - whoops - who needs another weapon when the high powered pistol can be spammed? And let's not forget the cheap hunting skills of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood when using a hidden gun, getting only 100 points for a kill instead of, say, 400 if you went up close for a stealthy kill.


Granted, this is a small minority of players but it still tends to make me want to leave the game session or go read a book or something else when it happens too often in a row. Anyone else have similar frustrations?


About Speak-Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have that little box on the front page of Kotaku. You know, the one with "Got something to say?" written in it? That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Just make sure to include #speakup in your comment so we can find it. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best #speakup posts we can find and highlight it here.


Kotaku

Call of Duty Players Log More Than 600 Million Hours In 45 DaysLending weight to CEO Bobby Kotick's claim that Call of Duty is as much a social networking phenomenon as it is a video gaming one, Activision released numbers boasting of online time that, per user, surpasses the Facebook average.


More than 20 million users on Call of Duty: Black Ops logged more than 600 million hours of playtime between the game's Nov. 9 release and Dec. 24, Activision said. That computes to an average of 87 minutes per day per player. Facebook's per-day/per-user average is around 55 minutes.


Gamasutra noted that the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo: Reach logged 50 million man-hours of play over its first week of availability - or a little over half of Black Ops' total if it was sustained over 45 days.


In an interview with CNN last week, Kotick boasted of Call of Duty's heft alongside Facebook, text messaging, and other social networking phenomena. "The audience of 'Call of Duty' is probably greater in terms of size than in any other interactive form of entertainment," Kotick said.


Activision: Over 20 Million Black Ops Players Log More Than 600 Million Hours [Gamasutra]


Kotaku

Letters From The Call Of Duty Front If you thought playing Call of Duty: Black Ops online was tough, imagine how hard it is for the wives and children of those constantly dying soldiers. Check out more letters from the Call of Duty front at Dorkly.


Kotaku

Call of Duty: Black Ops Nabs 'Most Pirated Game of 2010' DistinctionNot only is Call of Duty: Black Ops one of the fastest selling video games of all time, racking up more than a billion dollars in sales in 2010, it's also impressively enough one of the most illegally downloaded.


According to a report from BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak, the PC version of Black Ops has been pirated an impressive 4.2 million times. The newest Call of Duty bested Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (3.96 million downloads), Mafia II and Mass Effect 2 to take home the most-stolen crown.


Thieves who own an Xbox 360 did their share in Black Ops stealing, downloading that console version 930,000 times, according to TorrentFreak's numbers. Dante's Inferno wound up being the most downloaded Xbox 360 game, with Super Mario Galaxy 2 sitting atop the most pirated list on for Wii owners. Congratulations all around!


More impressive numbers at TorrentFreak.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Most Pirated Game of 2010 [TorrentFreak]


Kotaku

Activision CEO Sees Call of Duty as a Form of Social MediaSpeaking to CNN earlier this week, Activision's CEO noted that more people play Black Ops, daily, than watch the late night hosts Leno, Letterman and Fallon, combined. No offense, but that would seem to be an easy goal to beat.


No, network television isn't the yardstick Bobby Kotick uses to measure Call of Duty as a social phenomenon. He likens the shooter to Facebook and text messaging, in terms of cultural relevance.


"The audience of 'Call of Duty' is probably greater in terms of size than in any other interactive form of entertainment," Kotick told CNN. "If you look at the 500 million people who are on Facebook and the way that people text each other and instant message and use video chat, there is now an evolution of media. Those are the characteristics and attributes that a generation and audiences feel are very important to their media and entertainment experiences."


CNN said Kotick believes the Call of Duty franchise delivers on that trend through its online multiplayer, which currently drives a majority of the Xbox Live traffic.


Kotick couldn't do the interview without getting in a shot at Infinity Ward which, though its founders were fired and are now embroiled in a lawsuit against Activision, is a studio the publisher still owns. "Multiplayer has been largely developed by Treyarch," Kotick asserted. "I don't think Treyarch got their due for how much they contributed in the production and polish to the multiplayer."


Activision CEO: 'Call of Duty' is Like Facebook, Texting [CNN]


PC Gamer

Those lucky subscribers already know because they've heard the pleasing sound of an issue of PC Gamer UK sliding through their letterboxes, but the remainder of you will be delighted to discover that our latest issue hits shelves today. Read on to discover its secrets...


Yes, it might have released back in 2003, but the seminal MMORPG EVE Online has been evolving ever since. We sent Rich to Iceland so he could catch up on the latest from developers CCP. Turns out they’ve been busy and still have a five-year plan of concepts and mechanics that they’re yet to implement. That’s a half a decade of content folks, all deciphered by Rich’s brain, using words.

But don’t fret if you have no interest in space, or MMOs. We still love you. We've got our hands on the most exciting games coming to PC and written hands-on previews just for you: Crysis 2, Total War: Shogun, Guild Wars 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Batman: Arkham City all feature.

Then there's our Game Of The Year Awards. 2010 proved the PC's strength and diversity. We reward PC Gaming's new classics over 18 pages. You might be surprised at some of the choices too.

Onto the reviews; recently described by a reader as “simply astonishing”. This month you’ll get our verdicts on Call of Duty: Black Ops, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, Deathspank and more.

In our Extra Life section, Jaz searches for a wooden leg in Arcania: Gothic 4, Tom writes a letter to God after taking Supreme Commander to the next level, and Craig feels the true stress of a Football Manager. We take a look back at League Of Legends in Update and suck all the replay value out of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary.

You can buy the magazine and have it delivered with free postage right here, but if you're the kind of person who likes getting things early, for minimum of effort, why not subscribe?
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Considering that Call of Duty: Black Ops raked in $360 million on launch day and $650 million within five, publisher Activision's proud boast today that sales of the shooter have now passed $1 billion is perhaps no surprise but that still certainly is a big number.

That's $1,000,000,000 sold-through, according to Activision's internal estimates, for the Cold War-era shooter which launched on November 9. Fancy some more numbers? Over 600 million hours of Cod Blops playtime have been clocked up. On Xbox 360, Microsoft says that the average user logs on over once per day for over an hour, playing with friends over half the time. Numbers!

"In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and 'Avatar' have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly," commented Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in the announcement, going on to say:

This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise. Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage

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Kotaku

You've Purchased src= Activision makes with the corporate gloating today with news that Call of Duty: Black Ops has surpassed $1 billion in worldwide sales since its release in November. That's faster than Modern Warfare 2, but James Cameron still has it beat.


Selling $650 million in the first five days after its November 9 worldwide release, Call of Duty: Black Ops was already well on the way to topping the sales of Modern Warfare 2, breaking the previous installment's record of $550 million soundly. Now Activision says the latest installment in the Call of Duty series has reached the $1 billion worldwide sales milestone far ahead of Modern Warfare 2, which didn't hit the mark until mid-January of last year.


"In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and "Avatar" have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly," said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. "This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise. Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage records."


James Cameron's special effects-laden film Avatar reached the $1 billion sales mark 19 days after its worldwide release on December 18 of last year. The speed is even more impressive when factoring in the price difference between a video game and a movie ticket.


Black Ops players likely have Avatar fans beat in terms of entertainment hours at least, with more than 600 million hours logged playing the game, with Microsoft statistics showing the average player logging in more than once a day to play for longer than an hour at a time, with more than half that time spent playing online with friends.


Will a video game ever beat Avatar's $1 billion speed record?


Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
The inevitable first downloadable content pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops was announced over the weekend on Microsoft's Major Nelson Radio podcast.

Dubbed 'First Strike,' the pack of five maps will launch on February 1, 2011, priced at 1,200 Microsoft Points ($15). As per Microsoft's arrangement with publisher Activision, it'll be released first on Xbox 360. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map packs released under the same arrangement took around a month to make it PC and PlayStation 3.

"We learned a lot of lessons in the development and design of the maps on the shipped game," developer Treyarch's director of online Dan Bunting explained. "For DLC we really wanted to go bigger with some of the things we learned that people liked. We focused a lot more on providing variety of weaponry, variety of engagement types, variety of verticality--a lot more verticality, bringing some sniper opportunities into it."

"One of the popular things we've added in several of the maps in the shipped game were the scripted moments, scripted elements and interactivity" he added, "so that's something we've made sure we wanted to bring to every single one of the new maps.

The five maps are

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Kotaku

Alright, maggots, here is how you inspect, assemble and clean your Move-compatible Assault Rifle Controller, from CTA Digital. It's $59.99 and Amazon says it's due early next year.


MAG, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Killzone 3 are specifically mentioned as games perfect for this peripheral, which also combines the Move Navigation controller's functions.


Amazon's preorder page says it'll be released Jan. 1. A news release from CTA says they'll be demoing it at CES. I've followed up just to specify what the release date or window is, but it sounds like this will be here in time for Killzone 3 at least.


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