For much of the population, outside of gaming, the name Call of Duty instantly conjures images of shooting and generally addictive behaviour. After Activision recently held a star-studded event in Santa Monica honouring the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops, perhaps people will think charity instead.
For one night at least a group of celebrities, athletes, and musicians getting together in celebration of the latest CoD title resulted in over $1 million being raised for Activision's own Call of Duty Endowment.
A mixture of California's most famous faces were present, from Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel (who we now know are die-hard fans) to Jack Osbourne and Nikki Sixx. Besides trumpeting the impending release of Black Ops, Activision took the opportunity to promise to find 1,000 jobs for veterans, and made a donation of $1 million to The Call of Duty Endowment. While their company may be in the habit of making controversial headlines, it will be hard for their detractors to argue that the company has put its money where their mouth is.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made it exceedingly clear that the CoD franchise is not just a cash cow, but a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by our men and women in service.
“Call of Duty is one of the biggest of all entertainment franchises that uniquely pays tribute to the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of those who defend our nation and our freedom around the world,”
“It is especially popular among service members at home and abroad, which is why we are honored to have this event highlight the critical issue of veterans unemployment and make our own contributions to the cause. A few years ago, after hearing about the magnitude of this problem, I established The Call of Duty Endowment with the goal of securing thousands of jobs for the men and women who have so ably served our country and protected our freedom.”
Aside from bumping elbows with some of Hollywood's biggest names, attendees got the chance to enjoy a private Metallica show, and get their hands on Black Ops before the general public.
As a thank you to the men and women serving around the world, members of the armed forces were given the opportunity to take part in a Black Ops tournament in front of the crowd. Master Chief Petty Officer Maurice Wilson (USN-Ret.), a board member for the Endowment voiced how much good can be done by companies who wish to acknowledge servicemen and women as Activision has:
“It’s clear from the faces on these service members here tonight that there are quite a few people serving in the military who are huge fans of Call of Duty. To see Activision looking out for them and our veterans, who are struggling to find work, is an extraordinary example of how the private sector can give back to these men and women for their service to our country.”
The endowment was established a year ago to aid American military personnel in transitioning back into civilian careers once their terms had been completed. Aside from providing a high level of exposure for the movement, the fund also provides support to organizations providing job assistance. To date, the fund has already resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships nationwide.
So while many may simply be looking forward to the launch of Black Ops, or the next Modern Warfare, Activision would like to remind you of the real people on which their games are based. There's no question that the franchise is standing on the edge of a massive launch, and possibly an amazing year for its fans. It's nice to see Activision putting at least some of that money to a cause that their fans and critics would both be able to get behind.
Perhaps this may change the way some of you out there have characterized the powerhouse publisher, or its CEO Bobby Kotick. Kotick is clearly a man who isn't afraid to make enemies, but making sizable donations is surely a way to improve his company's persona.
Regardless of your personal feelings, Black Ops is still a must-have game this holiday season. Call of Duty: Black Ops hits stores on November 9th, 2010 for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii.
Source: The Call of Duty Endowment