The phenomenon of life imitating art sadly continues, although this example is more upsetting than ironic.The gaming world is well aware that the anticipation has reached a breaking point surrounding the impending launch of Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops. Apparently some fans out there didn't think the savings being offered on launch day were worth the wait, and decided to get their hands on over 100 copies of the game by holding GameStop employees at gunpoint.
With the game's launch less than 3 days away, at least two men in the Baltimore area decided to jump the line by entering a GameStop location shortly before closing Saturday night and get their hands on a few copies. The employees were no doubt preparing for one of the biggest launches Monday night, but it's safe to assume that they weren't prepared for what happened.
The story was first reported by the Baltimore Sun:
"At least two men were involved in the robbery, timing it for when the GameStop in the Festival at Bel Air shopping center on Bel Air South Parkway was about to close on Saturday night, the Harford County Sheriff's Office said Sunday. The men, armed with semi-automatic guns, stole four cases full of Black Ops...as well as cash and game systems.
"It was the second armed robbery of a Harford County GameStop store in less than three weeks. The sheriff's office said the men might also be responsible for the other incident, at the GameStop's Aberdeen location on Oct. 21.
"While the robbery at the Bel Air store was under way on Saturday, two customers stopped by and were forced into a storage area at gunpoint. Neither they nor store employees were hurt, the sheriff's office said."
Needless to say, fans who had pre-ordered their copies at the GameStop location in question may have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on Black Ops. It's not out of the ordinary for gamers to show up online playing a game a few days before its official launch, but police are directing people in the area to contact authorities if they are offered discs.
It came as somewhat of a shock when someone actually broke into an Alabama pressing plant and made off with early copies of the game a few weeks ago, but this recent crime takes it to a new level. While the theft of discs may have been relatively victimless, stealing copies of a game by holding game store employees at gunpoint has to be seen as the crime that it is. Perhaps these are some of the reasons for GameStop's recent business moves.
Call of Duty has reached what might be its highest level of public exposure and desire, but we hope this isn't a sign of what's to come along with the star power the series has gained in recent years. Hopefully the suspects will be found, and we can return to focusing on the good the franchise's publisher Activision has done.
The internet community tends to side against powerful corporations and private companies in issues like these, but hopefully the majority will be able to argue that violence is violence, in any form. Some might even argue that if there weren't people willing to purchase stolen games, then there would be much less motivation for crimes like these.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief that this story didn't have a far more tragic ending, and look forward to Tuesday (assuming you didn't pre-order Black Ops at Bel Air shopping enter). Even those who stand against the used game market have another reason to not shop at GameStop.
Law-abiding citizens will have to wait and attend a midnight-launch event of their choosing when Call of Duty: Black Ops launches on November 9, 2010 for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii.
Source: Baltimore Sun