Call of Duty: Black Ops

Spotlight

Digital FoundryCall of Duty: Black Ops 2 PS3 vs. PC Comparison Video V2

The PC version of the game is compared against the PS3 SKU running patch 1.03 which improves image quality a touch.

Digital FoundryCall of Duty: Black Ops 2 Console Comparison Video

Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3 in what is likely to be the biggest game of 2012.

Digital FoundryCall of Duty: Black Ops 2 Cut-Scene/Traversal Performance Video

Like-for-like scenes between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Black Ops 2 compared.

Key events

21st December 2010

Black Ops sales top $1 billion

9th November 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Minigames are interesting things. They're purpose built to distract the player - to give them something different to do for ten minutes in order to break up the flow of the main game. In a sense, they're tacit admissions of the fact that sometimes games - especially long ones - can get a bit monotonous.

FeatureAn audience with Syndicate

How a regular northern teen became a YouTube gaming sensation.

I'd finished my interview with Tom Cassell, and it had gone fairly well. Although, something did feel like it was missing. "Would you mind if I walked with you for a bit?" I asked. "So I can see it happen?" Tom was enthusiastic - he is about most things. So we took to the floor of the Eurogamer Expo.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 release date leaked - report

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 release date leaked - report

Pre-order card seemingly confirms direct BLOPS sequel.

This year's entry in the Call of Duty franchise is a direct sequel to Treyarch's 2010 Cold War-focused Black Ops and arrives in stores on 13th November, according to a retailer leak.

An image of PS3 and Xbox 360 pre-order cards for US chain Target posted by IGN is the source of the info.

This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anybody - every single Call of Duty game to date has launched during the month of November with the exception of the very first installment, which released on 29th October 2003.

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Tactics-based Call of Duty spin-off prototype unearthed

Clip from cancelled Vicarious Visions' project shows up online.

Activision subsidiary Vicarious Visions was at one point working on a tactics-based spin-off of the main Call of Duty series, judging by the online résumé of one of the studio's animators.

Call of Duty sales slow: Modern Warfare 3's tally dips below Black Ops'

Call of Duty sales are slowing: Modern Warfare 3 sales are behind where sales for predecessor Black Ops were a year ago.

That's according to analysts at Macquarie Equities, who believe Modern Warfare 3 sales to be 4.2 per cent lower, reported Gamasutra.

Apparently, Modern Warfare 3's March 2012 sales were half of Black Ops' March 2011 sales. But specific sales figures aren't publicly available to check.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies announced for iOS

Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies announced for iOS

Due out on App Store tomorrow.

Activision has announced a new iOS Call of Duty spin-off titled Black Ops Zombies.

Due out on the App Store tomorrow as a £4.99 universal app, it's a scaled down version of Treyarch's Zombie Mode featuring the Kino der Toten map from Black Ops and 50 levels of Dead-Ops Arcade.

According to Joystiq, there's four-way multiplayer with voice chat, and more maps, features and upgrades are planned post-launch.

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EU PlayStation Store update - 16th November

EU PlayStation Store update - 16th November

Call of Duty: Black Ops for £48.

Thank goodness the year-late Call of Duty: Black Ops only costs £47.99 or €59.99 on PlayStation Store - for a moment there I thought it would be more expensive than Modern Warfare 3!

As balance, the "ridiculously absorbing" Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD has halved in price to £6.29. Definitely buy it.

Also worth serious consideration: excellent games Beyond Good & Evil HD at a new price of £4, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light at a new price of £5.

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EU PlayStation Store update 9th November

EU PlayStation Store update 9th November

Premier Manager! COD Elite! Black Ops for £47.99!

Premier Manager 2012 and Call of Duty Elite headline this week's European PlayStation Store update.

Call of Duty Elite unlocks free access to 20 pieces of Modern Warfare 3 DLC, which will be released from early 2012. You also get access to premium video service Elite TV, plus a huge array of post-match statistics.

Sadly, you can't download the full Modern Warfare 3 PS3 game. You can, however, download Call of Duty: Black Ops, providing you have £47.99 and 14GB hard-drive space spare.

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COD Elite beta shutting down tonight

COD Elite beta shutting down tonight

Beta activity carries over.

The Call of Duty Elite beta shuts down at 8pm tonight as Activision prepares to launch Modern Warfare 3.

The Connect, Compete and Improve sections will remain closed, but access to the Career page will soon open to all.

When it does, Call of Duty gamers will have access to Black Ops stats.

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Activision: COD Elite to set a precedent

Social network add-ons to be a "necessity".

Ancillary services like Call of Duty: Elite and Battlefield 3's Battlelog will be "a necessity" for all mainstream games in the not-too-distant future, according to Activision's digital VP.

FeatureCOD XP: The Bug and the Windscreen

From the archive: A true story about guns, money, Kanye and the biggest game in the world.

Every Sunday we dig an interesting article out of our massive archive for you to enjoy again or perhaps read for the first time. With a new Call of Duty out on Tuesday, this week we thought we'd take you back to Call of Duty XP, the 2011 event Activision put on in Los Angeles to celebrate the series. This article was originally published on 14th September 2011.

Still unsure whether Call of Duty Elite's premium content warrants £34.99 of your hard-earned cash? Activision has just released a full feature list to try and sway you.

MS: Xbox exclusive games, DLC 

MS: Xbox exclusive games, DLC "critical"

Explains how it secures exclusive content.

Exclusive games and downloadable content are "critical" for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has said.

Exclusive content - even if it's only for a set period of time - is crucial for differentiating the Xbox 360 from the PlayStation 3 and Wii, Microsoft's European boss Chris Lewis told Eurogamer.

"They are important," he said. "DLC windows of exclusivity are critical for us for differentiation. We'll continue to bring those exclusives through our own studio work, Gears and Forza and other titles."

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Dev says fans will want COD Elite premium

"Missing the target" if it's not a "slam dunk".

Beachhead Studios has told Eurogamer that if "uber fans" of Modern Warfare 3 don't end up wanting premium accounts for Call of Duty: Elite then the developer will regard that as a failure.

Black Ops Rezurrection DLC announced

Black Ops Rezurrection DLC announced

Plus, rosy Acti earnings report comes in.

Another Call of Duty: Black Ops DLC pack is on its way, according to Activision's latest earnings report.

Its Q2 fiscal year financials released today noted that the publisher intends to ship the Rezurrection pack at some point in the next three months. No details were offered as to what will be included in the pack or how much it'll sell for.

The last add-on, the Annihilation map pack, arrived on Xbox 360 in late June, with a PC and PlayStation 3 launch following last week.

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EU PlayStation Store update 27th July

EU PlayStation Store update 27th July

Annihilation! NFS sale! LA Noire DLC!

New Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack Annihilation headlines this week's massive PlayStation Store update.

Xbox 360 owners have had it exclusively for the past month. Available from tomorrow on PS3, its five new maps will cost you £11.49.

Looking for something a bit cheaper? Sony's massive summer sale reaches Europe this week, with more than 30 downloadable titles discounted over the next seven days. Highlights include Popcap's Peggle, Hothead's Swarm and Telltale's Sam & Max and Back to the Future.

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BF3 pre-orders on a par with Black Ops

Analyst raises sales estimate.

Battlefield 3's pre-order numbers are "roughly comparable" with those of Call of Duty: Black Ops, according to industry analyst firm Cowen & Company.

Call of Duty Elite beta PC, PS3 details

Call of Duty Elite beta PC, PS3 details

Updated release windows.

PC and PlayStation 3 gamers will have to wait to jump into the Call of Duty: Elite beta, Activision has said.

The social network and stat tracking service is already live for Xbox 360 owners.

PS3 gamers get Elite "this summer". PC gamers have to wait until the autumn.

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Black Ops Annihilation PS3 release date

Black Ops Annihilation PS3 release date

UPDATE: PC release date revealed, too.

UPDATE: Activision has confirmed the Annihilation map pack launches on PC on Thursday, 28th July, too.

ORIGINAL STORY: The third Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack, Annihilation, launches for PlayStation 3 on Thursday, 28th July, Sony has announced.

The five map pack, which costs £10.99 on PS3, includes four new standard multiplayer arenas: Silo, Hangar 18, Drive-In and Hazard, and the deadly jungle Zombies experience, Shangri-La.

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COD: Elite beta kicks off today

COD: Elite beta kicks off today

2 million volunteers ready to serve.

The first wave of invitations for the Call of Duty: Elite beta go out today, Activision has confirmed.

As explained by community man Dan Amrich on his One of Swords blog, those who signed up should check their email inboxes to see if they've made it in.

Access is being granted, for the most part, in order of who signed up first. If you don't get a call-up today, fret not - further waves of invitations will go out "later".

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CODCon: Call of Duty XP event announced

CODCon: Call of Duty XP event announced

12-acres! Maps made real! MW3! COD Elite!

Call of Duty has a big enough fan following to warrant an expo, a fanfest, a CODCon. So that's what Activision is doing.

Say hello to Call of Duty XP, a two-day event at a 12-ace compound in Los Angeles, America. Call of Duty XP takes place on 2nd and 3rd September.

Tickets cost $150, and there are a modest 6000 of them. They go on sale from 19th July, and can be snapped up by people outside the US and Canada as well as from within.

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Black Ops DLC special edition incoming?

Retail listing points to value pack.

A new limited edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops is on its way, according to a new retail listing, apparently bundling in the game's DLC packs for no extra charge.

Black Ops Annihilation DLC release date

The third gaggle of Call of Duty: Black Ops maps will be known as the Annihilation pack.

It's arriving 28th June, VG247 reports.

Like all other Call of Duty map packs, Annihilation will cost 1200 Microsoft Points or the equivalent (£10.99) on PS3.

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Call of Duty Elite public beta date

A private-public beta test for Call of Duty Elite will begin on 14th July, Activision has announced.

Participation will be by invite only.

Invites will be given to gamers playing Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer. No platforms were specified, which suggests a mutli-platform beta test.

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Black Ops: Escalation PS3 release date

Black Ops: Escalation PS3 release date

Another double XP weekend to celebrate.

Call of Duty: Black Ops' Escalation DLC finally arrives on PlayStation 3 from 10th June.

The pack, which launched on Xbox 360 back in early May and on PC today, adds four new multiplayer maps and a star-studded zombie expansion dubbed Call of the Dead.

To mark the occasion, developer Treyarch has announced another double XP weekend for PlayStation 3 users, running from Friday the 10th through Sunday 12th June.

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How much will Call of Duty: Elite cost?

Analysts put price at around £3 a month.

Call of Duty: Elite's subscription services will set gamers back around $5 (£3) a month, so say a selection of industry analysts canvassed by Eurogamer.

FeatureCall of Duty: Elite

Shot-in-the-facebook.

Do you need a new social network in your life? Activision thinks you do. It's betting so hard on it, in fact, that it's set up an entire developer, Beachhead Studios, just to create and maintain one – or something that certainly looks like one, anyway. It's aimed at the millions of people out there who play Call of Duty multiplayer.

New Black Ops PC patch available now

New Black Ops PC patch available now

Plus, mod tools due next week.

A new title update has just hit Steam for the PC version of Call of Duty: Black Ops, developer Treyarch has announced.

The patch - fully detailed below - re-balances weapons, fixes exploits, smooths over a few bugs and makes preparations for the impending arrival of modding tools.

A post today on Treyarch community manager Josh Olin's Twitter feed confirmed that those modding tools are still on schedule to arrive before the end of the month.

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Black Ops PS3 U.S. bundle announced

Not yet bought six month-old shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops? Want the game with a new PS3 to play it on? Then you're in luck.

The limited edition pack contains a PS3, a copy of Black Ops and the game's initial DLC First Strike.

Sony's new bundle releases in the U.S. on 31st May.

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Double XP weekend for PS3 Black Ops

Treyarch welcomes Sony gamers back.

Treyarch is welcoming PlayStation 3 users back to its servers with a double XP weekend for Call of Duty: Black Ops, starting tomorrow.

More COD Modern Warfare 3 details

More COD Modern Warfare 3 details

More "epic" story, more destructible.

A new report suggests the story of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - thought to be codenamed Project Collossus [sic] and due out 8th November - will be of a much grander scale than previous Modern Warfare games.

As the story unfolds, multiple countries will be drawn in to the conflict, Kotaku heard from a source - creating a potential World War III scenario.

As for a time-line, Modern Warfare 3 apparently starts where MW2 stopped. Urban warfare, where tanks rumble through streets used by cars, will be the game's bread and butter.

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How COD will avoid Guitar Hero's fate

Acti: "It's the 'stickiest' game of all time."

A leaked internal memo has revealed why Activision believes the Call of Duty series is in no danger of suffering a Guitar Hero-esque demise.

'No kids' COD multiplayer dismissed

Young 'uns "want to have their fun too".

Sick of potty-mouthed pre-teens fouling up your Black Ops multiplayer sessions? Get used to it, because an 'adults-only' mode isn't going to happen, so says developer Treyarch.

March US Xbox 360 sales detailed

March US Xbox 360 sales detailed

No home console stronger in 2011.

For a third consecutive month, Xbox 360 has been crowned North America's best-selling home console.

Microsoft revealed a March tally of 430,000 Xbox 360 sales: a significant amount more - 28 per cent more - than in March 2010.

In only one of the last 10 months has Xbox 360 not been top of the home console pile.

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Black Ops bigger than Avatar, Take That

COD was top entertainment product of 2010.

Call of Duty: Black Ops was the biggest entertainment property of 2010 in the UK, beating out 3D sci-fi blockbuster Avatar and the latest album from Take That.

Activision: You've got us all wrong

"We're not a big monolithic empire."

Publishing behemoth Activision is public enemy number one in many gamers' eyes, but according to one executive at the company, it has an undeserved reputation.

Black Ops: Escalation DLC confirmed

Black Ops: Escalation DLC confirmed

Five new maps incoming.

The rumoured Escalation DLC pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops has been confirmed.

As detailed on Major Nelson's blog, Escalation will feature four new multiplayer maps and "an epic Zombies experience with all-new playable characters."

The Hotel map is set on the roof of a luxury Cuban hotel and casino; Convoy offers close-quarters combat at the scene of an ambushed US military convoy; Zoo takes place in an abandoned Soviet Zoo and Stockpile drops players into a remote Russian farm town housing secret WMD facilities.

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COD vs. BF3 marketing war to cost $200m

EA talks up FPS battle royale.

The impending Battlefield 3 vs. Call of Duty marketing battle will cost the games' respective publishers around $200 million, EA boss John Riccitiello has claimed.

Black Ops DLC, update 1.07 hits PC

Black Ops DLC, update 1.07 hits PC

Plus, double XP all weekend.

Black Ops developer Treyarch shows PC gamers a little love today with the belated arrival of the First Strike DLC and a new patch.

As previously announced, First Strike is available now from all your standard digital vendors for £11.49, adding in four new multiplayer maps and one additional zombie co-op map. It launched on Xbox 360 in February and PlayStation 3 earlier this month, winning a 7/10 from Eurogamer.

There's also a new patch available, addressing various bugs and exploits. For those keeping score, this is update 1.07. There's a full list of all the tweaks, fixes and new additions below.

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Black Ops: First Strike dated for PC

DLC sees belated release this week.

PC users can finally get their mitts on the First Strike expansion for shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops this Friday, developer Treyarch has announced.

Can COD help soldiers deal with trauma?

Study claims gaming stops violent dreams.

Playing war-themed videogames like Call of Duty can help soldiers deal with the mental trauma of front line combat by blocking violent nightmares, according to a new study.

Treyarch issues Black Ops PS3 patch 1.07

Treyarch issues Black Ops PS3 patch 1.07

UPDATE: First Strike DLC out now.

UPDATE: The First Strike DLC is available to download from PSN now.

ORIGINAL STORY: Treyarch has issued an update to the PlayStation 3 version of first-person shooter phenomenon Call of Duty: Black Ops ahead of the launch of the First Strike downloadable content later today.

The patch 1.07 notes are below.

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New COD engine "counter-productive"

Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling is back.

Whereas Battlefield 3 boasts a new engine that gamers are raving about, Call of Duty has made do with a modified, ageing IW engine - version 4.0 was used for Modern Warfare 2.

EU PlayStation Store update 2nd March

EU PlayStation Store update 2nd March

Black Ops demo, maps; PixelJunk Shooter 2.

A 1.3GB single-player demo for Call of Duty: Black Ops can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store today. It coincides with arrival of the Black Ops First Strike Map Pack (locked until tomorrow), which costs £11.49 and measures 1.4GB.

PixelJunk Shooter 2 also arrives today (7/10 Eurogamer), as does old PSone game Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

There's a lorry-load of DLC to bolster your games with, as revealed by the EU PlayStation Blog, even some for Dragon Age II, which isn't out until next Friday.

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COD Black Ops Title Update 7 out

COD Black Ops Title Update 7 out

PS3 patch arrives on Thursday.

Title update 7 for the Xbox 360 edition of gargantuan first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops has been released.

The fix-list ranges from improving matchmaking to fine-tuning Chopper Gunner runs. The Zombie lobby errors have been looked at, as have the exploits within the zombie game itself.

A patch for the much maligned PS3 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops will arrive on Thursday, 3rd March, alongside the First Strike DLC.

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Modern Warfare 3 reveal for GDC

UPDATE: Activision says timer website is a hoax.

UPDATE: Activision claims the countdown timer website is a hoax. "There seems to be a great deal of speculation about the next Call of Duty project," said the publisher in a statement issued this evening. "Let me be clear that we are not revealing yet. Anything indicating otherwise is a hoax."

Geohot: Call of Duty hacks not my fault

"I have never played PS3 online ever."

George "Geohot" Hotz, currently being sued by Sony for cracking the PlayStation 3's security wide open, has denied his actions have led to hacks ruining first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Gamers who haven't yet unlocked all of Black Ops' zombie-based multiplayer modes are to get free access to the hidden content this weekend, developer Treyarch has announced.

BAFTA Game nominations announced

BAFTA Game nominations announced

AC: Brotherhood, Mario, COD slug it out.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops dominate this year's BAFTA Game nominations, released today.

Assassin's Creed has the most nods with six, followed by Black Ops and Galaxy 2 with five each. Kudos to indie underdog LIMBO for picking up four.

Wondering why GOTY contender Red Dead Redemption doesn't feature more prominently? Developer Rockstar Games decided not to enter it into competition.

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Will COD share Guitar Hero's fate?

Analysts assess FPS behemoth's future.

With over-exposure cited as one of the key factors behind the demise last week of Activision's once mighty Guitar Hero franchise, industry talking heads have now turned their attentions to the publisher's other cash cow – Call of Duty – and asked if it's hurtling towards a similar fate.

Kotick: online COD fees not a priority

Making "spectacular" games is.

Activision boss Bobby Kotick has played down speculation that the publisher is looking to introduce online subscription fees for its Call of Duty franchise.

Bleszinski: No "COD shooter pie" left

"It's not enough just to make a shooter."

Epic design chief Cliff Bleszinski reckons developers that attempt to emulate Activision's shooter behemoth Call of Duty are barking up the wrong tree.

Duty Calls has 1.25 million downloads

Bulletstorm's Call of Duty spoof is popular.

Lampooning Call of Duty works - more than 1.25 million people have downloaded Duty Calls, a free parody game created by Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly.

Treyarch up for near-future Call of Duty

"It would be a unique opportunity."

In the land of Call of Duty, the battlelines are clearly drawn: Modern Warfare maker Infinity Ward creates the near future shooters and Black Ops maker Treyarch creates the shooters set in the past.

Treyarch beefs up PS3 security post-hack

Black Ops studio not taking any chances.

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has brought in increased security measure following the much-publicised PlayStation 3 security breach last month.

Most popular Black Ops perks, guns

Clue: it's not Ninja, it's not Scout.

Out of 15 available Call of Duty: Black Ops perks, Treyarch has revealed the three that are picked most: Marathon, Sleight of Hand and Lightweight.

Treyarch: angry gamers stifle creativity

Cheer up if you want devs to innovate.

The increasingly negative, argumentative attitudes of many gamers and critics is stifling creativity and discouraging developers from taking risks with their games, so says Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch.

Hefty Black Ops update for Xbox 360

Hefty Black Ops update for Xbox 360

New features detailed, bugs fixed.

Following the extensive PlayStation 3 update earlier this week, it's now the turn of the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops to get patched up.

Title update 6, as detailed on the game's official forum, adds in a few minor new features, support for the impending First Strike DLC pack and fixes a number of glitches and exploits.

Here's the full-list of changes:

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Black Ops PS3 patch has Xbox Live error

What Treyarch and Activision definitely didn't want yesterday's Call of Duty: Black Ops patch to do was, embarrassingly, tell a disgruntled PS3 community they have "no Xbox Live party chat".

Blink, however, and you will have missed it - a hotfix has since been released to erase the error.

But luckily CVG dug through the game's forums and found a supporting picture.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3 updated

Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3 updated

UPDATE: v1.06 fixes detailed.

Treyarch has released an update for the PS3 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops - the day consumer rights group Gamers' Voice reported Activision UK to the Office of Fair Trading over the "never-ending list of problems" associated with the game.

In a tweet game design director David Vonderhaar simply stated: "Update v1.06 for PlayStation 3 is now live. Official sticky post on #CODBlackOps forums will be updated shortly.

"Have a nice day."

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Gamers' Voice reports Activision to OFT

Black Ops "in breach of Sale of Goods Act".

Consumer rights group Gamers' Voice has made good on its promise to report Activision UK to the Office of Fair Trading over the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of Treyarch's shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Gamers' Voice to report Black Ops to OFT

"It should not be released unfinished."

Consumer rights group Gamers' Voice plans to report Activision UK to the Office for Fair Trading for the "never-ending list of problems" gamers have found within the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Black Ops tops UK 2010 chart

Brits love shooting things, dancing.

Call of Duty: Black Ops was the biggest-selling game of the year in the UK last year, according to the UK Interactive Entertainment Association and Chart-Track.

Raven perched on Call of Duty as well?

Singularity dev hiring for "realistic" FPS.

Maybe Activision isn't content with three studios working on Call of Duty - perhaps Raven Software is being deployed on the record-shattering brand as well.

Paid-for "second tier" COD online soon?

Analyst expects it in the next few months.

Analyst Wedbush Securities reckons Activision will launch a "second tier" of online Call of Duty multiplayer in the next few months – and charge gamers for it.

Will Activision block Respawn's EA game?

Sledgehammer tipped for Nov 2011 COD.

The increasingly bitter war between mega videogame companies Activision and Electronic Arts levelled up this week when the Call of Duty publisher attempted to drag its chief rival into its countersuit against ex-Infinity Ward stars Vince Zampella and Jason West.

PS3 COD: Black Ops patch released

Treyarch has released a new patch for the PlayStation 3 version of billion-dollar shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Patch 1.05, as detailed on CallofDuty.com, improves party reliability and expands the game's capability to open NATs on routers, among other things.

The full list of changes is as follows:

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FeatureFingers on the pulse

Which games get your heart racing the most?

Like many people, I've been been playing a lot of Black Ops lately. A little too much, perhaps. When you smear yourself in camo paint and start looking for decent camping spots on your way to the bus stop, you know you're overdoing it.

Black Ops sales top $1 billion

Black Ops sales top $1 billion

COD rewrites "the rules of entertainment".

Call of Duty: Black Ops has now netted more than $1 billion in sales since its November launch, publisher Activision has confirmed.

That makes it the fastest grossing videogame of all time, according to CEO Bobby Kotick.

"In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and Avatar have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly," he claimed.

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First COD: Black Ops map pack announced

First COD: Black Ops map pack announced

The First Strike on Xbox 360 first.

Microsoft mouthpiece Major Nelson has announced the first map pack for mammoth FPS Call of Duty: Black Ops.

As expected, the map pack will appear on Xbox 360 first. The First Strike will hit Xbox Live on 1st February and set you back 1200 MS Points (£10).

Four competitive maps are included. Discovery is set in the Antarctic research station from the campaign. Kowloon is set on the rooftops of Hong Kong, again, from the campaign. Berlin Wall has you fragging at Checkpoint Charlie. And Stadium is set in an American hockey rink. There's a zombie map, too, called Ascension.

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EA, not Treyarch, heir to Infinity Ward?

Riccitiello takes a pop at Black Ops team.

John Riccitiello believes that EA, not Black Ops studio Treyarch, could be the developer to pick up where Infinity Ward left off and deliver "the next great FPS".

Treyarch answers Black Ops PS3 mob

"We're doing everything we can."

Yesterday, PS3 owners complained vociferously of a second-rate online Call of Duty: Black Ops experience. Today, Treyarch admits there's a problem and pledges to do something about it.

Black Ops 360/PS3 updates go live

Black Ops 360/PS3 updates go live

New PC patch later this week too.

A comprehensive update for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops has gone live today, developer Treyarch has announced.

Community manager Josh Olin gave users the go-ahead to download the patch on his Twitter feed, before adding "the next #CODBlackOps PC patch is targeting for release this week.

The full list of tweaks that the new console update makes was detailed last week but the update mainly focuses on tying up multiplayer exploits.

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Activision's money-maker has beaten its other money-maker: Call of Duty: Black Ops remains top of the UK charts while World of Warcraft: Cataclysm spends a first week in third.

New console Black Ops patch detailed

New console Black Ops patch detailed

Aims to shut down glitchers, fix controls.

The next patch for the console version of Call of Duty: Black Ops patch takes aim at glitchers ruining everyone's fun in multiplayer.

Developer Treyarch detailed what to expect from the patch, due in a few weeks time, on the game's official forum.

Alongside a number of minor gameplay tweaks, the update will fix a number of multiplayer exploits and make it easier for developers to detect and ban anyone up to no good. Consider yourself warned.

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UK chart: Black Ops back on top

Turismo elbowed, Jackson leaps.

The world's fastest ever selling videogame, Call of Duty: Black Ops, has risen once more to the top of the UK all-formats top 40 chart.

EA reveals strategy to beat COD

Riccitiello: "We can take the lead."

EA has revealed its out-there strategy to take the FPS crown away from Activision and its Call of Duty series: make a superior game.

Treyarch explains COD patch procedure

Treyarch explains COD patch procedure

Find out why you have to wait.

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has explained why it can take as long as five weeks for reported bugs and glitches to get patched up.

In a lengthy post on the game's official site, Treyarch community manager Josh Olin painstakingly described each stage of the patching process.

First up, "As soon as the game is released, we scour the forums and play online with fans to gather feedback."

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Users demand PS3 Black Ops refund

Petition insists it's an "inferior product."

A group of PlayStation 3 users are demanding a refund from Activision for Call of Duty: Black Ops, claiming their version is "inferior" to the Xbox 360 game.

(I COD get no) Satisfaction

Black Ops spikes Rolling Stones song sales.

If you were to suggest to The Rolling Stones circa 1975 that one day sales of their songs would spike because of a videogame, they would no doubt have laughed you out of the recording studio.

Black Ops Wii patch in a

Black Ops Wii patch in a "week or so"

Treyarch targeting connectivity issues.

Treyarch has told Wii players of Call of Duty: Black Ops to expect a patch "within the next week or so" to solve a number of outstanding online issues.

"Wii community," Treyarch's Josh Olin began in a post on the official forum (thanks VG247). "Thank you for helping us to identify the various connectivity issues you have been experiencing.

"We have fixed many of the problems you have reported and are currently testing those fixes in anticipation of releasing an update."

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UK chart: COD batters competition

UPDATE: Why Kinect Adventures is absent.

Update: Number cruncher GfK Chart-Track has explained to Eurogamer why sales of Kinect Adventures - the game the Kinect camera is bundled with - haven't been included.

Digital FoundryTech Comparison: Call of Duty: Black Ops PC

Does it outgun the console versions?

Call of Duty: Black Ops on console is a great game and in many ways the PC release is significantly better. Having played through both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, we approached our third playthrough somewhat wearily, a touch burned out after all the effort put into last week's PS3 vs. 360 Face-Off. Happily, this third playthrough was in no way a chore. Indeed it's safe to say that we'd managed to save the best until last. Assuming you have a suitably meaty machine, Black Ops PC delivers an unbeatable experience.

Black Ops obliterates UK sales record

Black Ops obliterates UK sales record

There can be no escape.

Call of Duty: Black Ops sold a whopping 1.4 million copies in its first day on sale in the UK.

That's the biggest UK day one performance ever – it sold 14 per cent more units than Modern Warfare 2 did during its first day on sale.

Let's put that day one sales figure into perspective. Namco Bandai's Enslaved has sold 800,000 units worldwide. MTV Games' Rock Band 3 sold 7386 units for the week ending 30th October in the UK. Microsoft's Xbox 360 exclusive Fable III sold 129,000 units in the UK during its first week on sale.

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FeatureBack to Black

The media cares more for COD's sales figures than its violence, which marks the end of a very different war.

Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz's widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial, is a weekly dissection of an issue weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops updates released

Treyarch's improving gargantuan phenom Call of Duty: Black Ops with a string of updates.

An update for the PC version promises a "performance improvement" for dual and quad core systems.

Lag seems to be the biggest bugbear among fans. Has the update helped?

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Black Ops sets new sales records

Black Ops sets new sales records

Beats Modern Warfare 2.

Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 million copies in the US and UK combined - in one day. That's more than Modern Warfare 2's opening record of 4.7 million copies.

Those sales generated $360 million for Activision. Modern Warfare 2 only made $310 million, scoff.

"There has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records for two consecutive years and we are on track to outperform last year's five-day global sales record of $550 million," commented Activision's Bobby Kotick.

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Cuba attacks "sociopathic" Black Ops

Furious at Castro assassination sequence.

Call of Duty: Black Ops has no doubt found millions of fans this week, but the Cuban government is not among them. On the contrary – it's seething about a sequence detailing a failed assassination attempt on leader Fidel Castro.

Treyarch gets tough on Black Ops cheats

Won't make "douche bags" celebrities.

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has warned anyone thinking of exploiting glitches in the game that they will be taking a zero tolerance approach to cheating.

Crytek: Crysis can be as big as COD

"There's no reason it can't be."

Activision's Call of Duty is the biggest first-person shooter franchise of all time, and Treyarch's recently released Black Ops is expected to be the biggest game of 2010 – but one developer reckons it can match COD's phenomenal popularity with a FPS series of its own.

Black Ops hits a million XBL users

New COD enjoys unexpected popularity.

Call of Duty: Black Ops' servers have had a busy day, with nearly one million Xbox 360 users logging on to check out Treyarch's highly anticipated shooter during its first 24 hours in the wild.

Next COD to be set in space?

Sources: Sledgehammer looking to the stars.

The next game in the Call of Duty series will be set in space, industry sources have claimed.

COD's twin-stick shooter mode revealed

Welcome to Dead Ops Arcade.

Call of Duty is for so many all about precision first-person shooting, but in Black Ops, out now, there's another perspective from which you can get your gun on: top-down.

No COD on Battle.net any time soon

We're "two separate entities" - Blizz.

One day Activision and Blizzard may share; one day Call of Duty may work inherently with Battle.net - but for now the companies remain, in the words of Battle.net overseer Greg Canessa, "two separate entities".

HMV details tonight's Black Ops launch

HMV details tonight's Black Ops launch

Opening 70 shops, giving out prezzies.

HMV will also be opening shops up and down the country tonight to sell the new Call of Duty game, Black Ops.

GAME - the UK's biggest videogame shop-chain - has already outed its plans.

HMV is flaunting the bargain £7.99 tag for Black Ops when you trade-in none other than rival shooter Medal of Honor.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Redaction stations.

"Remember, no Russian." When the dust settled, Modern Warfare 2 took as much of a shoeing from critics as it did from politicians for its controversial terrorist smashup in an airport terminal, but while Call of Duty: Black Ops has the potential to cause even more offence – blending real and fictional events during the Cold War, even impersonating JFK and Robert McNamara to add gravitas – the closest it comes is during a pre-credits cut-scene revelation that is more "gotcha!" than grisly.

Instead, finally freed from the shadow of Infinity Ward (albeit by something of a PR mushroom cloud), Treyarch takes us back to the sixties for the birth of the US Special Forces. The action jumps between a few characters, but the story is about Alex Mason, a CIA operative who ended up in a Russian labour camp following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which saw him captured and handed over to villainous bad guy Nikita Dragovich by Fidel Castro.

At the start of the game, Mason wakes up strapped to a chair being tortured by unknown silhouettes hiding behind frosted glass windows, and through this interrogation you relive various chapters of his adventures and those of his handler, sunglasses-loving iceman Jason Hudson, who is voiced well by a throaty Ed Harris. Mason's recollections take you through Cuba and his pivotal spell in prison, to a Russian space centre and all over East Asia as you hunt Dragovich while the game reveals his ghastly plan.

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MS: Exclusives justify XBL price hike

MS: Exclusives justify XBL price hike

"We get COD map packs before anybody else."

Microsoft has explained the recent hike in Xbox Live subscription costs and pointed towards Xbox 360 exclusives as justification that gamers are getting their money's worth.

In August Microsoft announced that the price of an Xbox Live Gold membership would increase for selected packages in the US, Canada, UK and Mexico.

The price increases, which triggered yesterday with the Xbox 360 dashboard update, saw an increase in one month ($7.99 to $9.99), three month ($19.99 to $24.99) and 12 month ($49.99 to $59.99) gold subs in the US.

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Black Ops gets online split-screen MP

Plus Custom Games Editor and other tweaks.

Call of Duty: Black Ops will include split-screen options for online multiplayer, a custom game mode editor and sharing facility, and a range of other interface tweaks to make your time being shot in the face by teenagers in Utah more agreeable, Treyarch has revealed.

COD: Black Ops ditches drop-shots

Treyarch details MP alterations.

Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer will be different to Modern Warfare 2. How? There won't be any drop-shotting. Instead, you'll be diving to prone.

Most expensive game merch ever detailed

Chrysler demand $33k for Call of Duty Jeep.

US car manufacturer Chrysler Group has revealed further details of the special edition Call of Duty: Black Ops Jeep that it announced last month.

Black Ops PC specs released

Has your machine got what it takes?

The minimum specs required to run Call of Duty: Black Ops on a PC have blown their cover and are out in the open.

Hacker denies COD: Black Ops leak reports

Claims reports are false, he was "scammed".

Reports overnight that retail copies Call of Duty: Black Ops have been stolen from a factory in Alabama appear to have been a load of rubbish, judging by conflicting posts by semi-literate gentlemen on various Xbox 360 hacking forums.

Black Ops may be "biggest game ever"

UK shops see record pre-orders.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the UK's best selling game ever, but retailer HMV has reason to believe new instalment Call of Duty: Black Ops will beat it.

Call of Duty DS dev "down but not out"

Studio boss blames "mess" of an industry.

Call of Duty: Black Ops DS developer n-Space "is down, but definitely not out" after the rug was pulled from under it by a "licensor" that had a change of heart.

FeatureCall of 3D

Treyarch's senior manager speaks out.

So, boom! Activision opens its secret payload to deliver a special Christmas tech megaton - Call Of Duty: Black Ops will hit in proper, stereoscopic 3D. That was the news being blasted out as I sat in a swish New York hotel last week, expensive electrical glasses perched on nose. Expectations were high and for the most part, Activision didn't disappoint.

Black Ops more lenient with XBL chat

Not all MW2 blocks "make sense" - Treyarch.

Treyarch has eased the Xbox Live party chat restrictions for Call of Duty: Black Ops because not all of the blocks instated by Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2 were really necessary.

COD: Black Ops zombies spotted again

VC them clear as day.

A spooky viral Call of Duty: Black Ops website has been spotted. It confirms that zombies are in the game. But are they Nazi zombies, Vietcong zombies or Russian communist zombies?

Treyarch supports Medal of Honor team

Taliban ruckus was “unfair”.

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has declared its support for EA's Medal of Honor team following controversy over its decision to let gamers play as the Taliban.

Chrysler issues Call of Duty Jeep

The ultimate videogame collectible?

Figurines and art books are all very well but nothing demonstrates devotion to your favourite franchise quite like a custom-made automobile. With that in mind, Chrysler will roll out a limited edition Call of Duty Jeep for the launch of Black Ops.

Analysts doubt Reach can beat Black Ops

Either across all platforms or just on 360.

A handful of the world's leading videogame analysts have questioned Microsoft's confident claim that Halo: Reach can and will outsell Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer

Mission accomplished?

The developers at Treyarch must be feeling immense pressure right now. They have to be, when one considers the environment Call of Duty: Black Ops is about to land in. To start with it's the latest instalment in what has now become a world-conquering franchise. Its predecessor broke international sales records and also placed itself firmly on the mainstream's radar with the "No Russian" level. Talk to 10 people who have no interest in videogames and it's likely that, along with GTA, Pac-Man, Mario and Sonic, they'll have heard of Call of Duty.

Treyarch unveils Black Ops multiplayer

Treyarch unveils Black Ops multiplayer

Wagers, COD Points, bots. Vid inside.

Update: For full details on Black Ops' multiplayer modes and new features, check out our huge Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer hands-on preview, which has just gone live.

Original story: Treyarch has unveiled Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer including Wager Matches, which utilise a new COD Points system, Combat Training mode and gun customisation.

The new COD Points currency is earned as you play, and can be spent in various ways, one of which is to gamble it on the new Wager Matches.

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Zombies confirmed for COD: Black Ops

Zombies confirmed for COD: Black Ops

Retailer outs map pack.

Zombies will turn up in Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops via map packs, a retailer has confirmed.

The popular zombie mode from Treyarch's last COD, World at War, will return according to a listing on US shop Best Buy's website.

The Hardened Edition, announced yesterday alongside the Prestige Edition, will feature "four Zombie Maps Pack made famous from COD: World at War".

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Treyarch warns of Xbox Live COD scam

Gamertags lifted from multiplayer trailer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has warned gamers of a scam that involves impostors posing as members of the development team over Xbox Live.

5000 applied to work on COD

Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer ranks swell.

Activision has so far received 5000 applications to work at Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer following the sacking of Vince Zampella and Jason West.

EA admits COD and Halo will rule 2010

But has FPS crown in its sights.

EA COO John Schappert has admitted Activision Blizzard's behemoth Call of Duty and Microsoft's all-conquering Halo will remain top FPS dogs this year - but insisted they won't be so for long.

Black Ops playable through a browser?

InstantAction wants a deal with Activision.

Westwood Studios co-founder Louis Castle, now CEO of InstantAction, reckons we could be playing blockbuster console titles like Call of Duty through web browsers for free within a year.

Treyarch: Black Ops will be "best COD"

Separate teams working on "core pillars".

With the future of Modern Warfare unclear, Infinity Ward respawning and Medal of Honor back in the game, Treyarch has thrown down the gauntlet to rivals, stating that Call of Duty: Black Ops "will be the best Call of Duty in the franchise".

COD DLC first on 360 for three years

Any add-on or map pack, apparently.

Microsoft has announced an "exclusive multi-year agreement between Xbox and Activision" that will see Call of Duty add-ons and map packs appearing first on Xbox 360 for the next three years.

Microsoft E3 Conference

Full news breakdown inside. New Xbox 360! Forza Kinect! Reach! Kinect date! Fable III date! Loads more.

We're on our way to the conference... Not long now!

Multiple co-op modes in COD: Black Ops

Separate from the single-player story.

Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia has said that Call of Duty: Black Ops will include multiple co-operative modes separate from the single-player story.

COD: Black Ops MP preceded campaign

Single-player team could reuse MP assets.

Treyarch's Josh Olin has said that multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops was underway so early that the single-player guys have been using multiplayer assets to speed up production.

First come the historians and then, increasingly, come the game designers: the second waves to break on the shorelines of our recent history. Just so long as that history's violent, obviously. Just so long as it has options for cover systems and alternate fire modes.

Treyarch reveals COD: Black Ops details

Treyarch reveals COD: Black Ops details

"It's time," says developer.

Developer Treyarch believes Call of Duty: Black Ops will finally put the studio on level pegging with IP pace-setter Infinity Ward.

"We've taken some creative risks," studio boss Mark Lamia told Official Xbox Magazine (scanned by WePlayCOD and picked up by VG247). "We want to do something different than we've done before.

"It's time," Lamia added. "We want the game to speak for itself."

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COD: Black Ops for Wii confirmed

COD: Black Ops for Wii confirmed

Simultaneous launch in November.

Activision has confirmed to Eurogamer that Call of Duty: Black Ops will launch on Wii, as well as Xbox 360, PC and PS3, on 9th November.

Although platforms weren't discussed when Black Ops was originally announced, we noticed that a Wii version was mentioned in the USA Today preview we reported on this morning.

We contacted Activision for comment and the publisher said that "Black Ops will be available on all four platforms, PS3, X360, PC and Wii, on 9th November."

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COD: Black Ops detailed in USA Today

4-player co-op, switchable ammo, spy plane.

American newspaper USA Today has gained an exclusive look at a level of this year's Call of Duty: Black Ops, and has confirmed that the game's co-op mode will support four players.

Co-op confirmed for COD: Black Ops

Co-op confirmed for COD: Black Ops

Treyarch "can't wait" for you to have a go.

The next instalment in the Call of Duty series will feature a co-op mode, according to a statement from developer Treyarch.

"We can't wait for our community to experience Call of Duty: Black Ops," said studio boss Mark Lamia "We have focused our entire studio on this game, with dedicated multiplayer, single-player

and co-op teams creating the most intense, gripping and riveting experience possible for our fans on all fronts."

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New Call of Duty trailer this week

New Call of Duty trailer this week

Will premiere on GameTrailers this Saturday.

The official announcement of the next game in the Call of Duty series is coming later this week.

A promotional video for the next episode of Spike's GameTrailers TV promises a teaser trailer for the game that "will be talk of the Internet this weekend" and "put all the rumors to rest".

The new episode will air in parts of the US starting at 5:40 am GMT this Saturday, 1st May.

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Activision unveils Call of Duty reshuffle

Activision unveils Call of Duty reshuffle

Three more CODs? Plus IW shake-up.

Activision has announced plans to expand the Call of Duty series into new genres, regions and digital formats and confirmed the departure of Jason West and Vince Zampella from Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward.

In addition to a new Call of Duty game from Treyarch this autumn, Activision has said to expect a new game in the COD series in 2011, and said that Sledgehammer Games - the studio set up by EA veterans Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey - is working on a COD game "that will extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre".

(The wording in the release is ambiguous here, however, suggesting that the 2011 title and action-adventure may or may not be the same entity. Judge for yourself: "The company is also for the first time announcing that a new game in the Call of Duty series is expected to be released in 2011 and that Sledgehammer Games, a newly formed, wholly owned studio, is in development on a Call of Duty game that will extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre.")

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COD7 Vietnam rumours resurface

Casting call hints at characters.

Speculation that the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty 7 is set during the Vietnam War has resurfaced following an Activision call for motion capture and voice-over actors

More COD, GH, Spidey, Shrek for 2010

"Strong, innovative new titles," says Acti.

Activision boss Mike Griffith has told analysts that in 2010 there will be more Call of Duty, more Guitar Hero, more Spider-Man and more Shrek thank goodness.