Welcome to our series, Cheers and Jeers, where we rundown some of the good and bad moments in the gaming industry. With the amount of news stories that release every single week, we here at Game Rant like to reflect on some of the big headlines, and award kudos and demerits where warranted. These were some of the stories that stood out recently, which upon greater reflection, deserved another look. But don’t read too closely into our targets. We focus on actions not factions and one week’s hero may be next week’s villain. We are equal opportunity offenders. This week we discuss Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty: Black Ops, the console war, and fanboys.

Cheers!

Activision Blizzard Gives Back

Activision Blizzard stands to make millions of dollars off its next installment in the Call of Duty series, Call of Duty: Black Ops, which already appears to be a major success. In a move to show that it is not insensitive to the fact that it is making money off of famous wars where real people fought and died, Activision Blizzard created the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps soldiers transition to civilian careers after their military service. In support of the cause, Activision recently held a Black Ops celebrity event that raised $1 million dollars and Activision Blizzard committed to finding 1,000 jobs for veterans.

Today, Activision announced its 25-day “Service Ops” Campaign:

[F]ans and followers of the Call of Duty Endowment’s Facebook and Twitter pages will be asked to post a call to action or ‘Service Op’ as their status each day.  For those individuals that share the ‘Service Op’ with their friends and followers, they will be eligible to win a copy of Call of Duty®: Black Ops…

The ‘Service Ops’ campaign will run from November 12, 2010 until Pearl Harbor Day, which is celebrated on December 7, 2010.  Two winners will be selected at random from both the Facebook and Twitter platforms each day the campaign is active.  Participants must post the daily call to action through a special Facebook application or by using the hashtag, #serviceops, on Twitter.

Kudos to Activision Blizzard for bringing awareness to this issue and for contributing to the cause. If you’d also like to assist our returning soldiers and sailors on this Veterans Day, you can donate to the Call of Duty Endowment here.

Jeers!

Fanboyism

With the release of the Kinect this past week, fanboy rhetoric reached levels not seen for some time. The next-generation of consoles have been on the scene for several years now, and many gamers own both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 since both are now relatively inexpensive. Sure, there were still some dead-enders raving about sales or “teh exclusives,” but most of the well-adjusted gaming public have moved on. Both machines have performed well enough not to become the next Sega Dreamcast, and both have been bested mightily by the Nintendo Wii. The console war (pew pew) had mostly petered out.

Unfortunately, the release of the PlayStation Move and Kinect created new battle lines over which to fight. For the last few weeks, Kinect articles started making their way onto various game sites and the mainstream press. A quick look at the comments sections of some of these articles, and you would have thought that Microsoft had ushered in a new age of darkness by daring to foist the Kinect on the unsuspecting public. Sony fanboys wanted the Kinect to be an abject failure and Microsoft fanboys responded by calling the Move a glowing device that looked like a…well, you know. Each side is currently waiting to brag about who is winning this new sales war.

Adding fuel to this recent flare-up between Team Edward and Team Jacob was a mistake by the typically sure-footed Major Nelson. On October 29, 2010, Major Nelson stated in his blog that Microsoft had sold over 42 million Xbox 360’s worldwide. Sony had recently announced in its Second Quarter report that it had sold 41.5 million PS3’s, which would have meant that the Xbox 360 was barely holding onto second place worldwide. This sent Sony fanboys into a frenzied bloodlust. Then, a website mainly known for Anime, Manga, porn, and Japanese RPG coverage posted a list of global console sales provided by a little known Kyoto-based developer, Tose.  The list showed the 360 had only sold 41 million worldwide and that the PS3 had sold 42 million. As you can imagine, bedlam ensued in certain quarters. Of course, the excitement was short-lived as the numbers provided by both Major Nelson and Tose were incorrect. Possibly prompted by Aaron Greenburg, Major Nelson quickly changed his blog entry to reflect the correct number of units sold as 45 million. Of course, the damage was done and now there are a ton of articles debating who really is in second place this generation.

This whole exercise was quite silly. Who cares who sells more consoles at this point? Both have been successful enough to ensure that neither is leaving the marketplace. This is good news for all of us since nothing breeds a better product than competition. Don’t believe me? Pick up the latest Madden’s NFL game.

As for the new motion controllers, we reviewed both the PlayStation Move and Kinect favorably, but we readily admit that these devices are not for everyone. If you don’t like them, no one is forcing you to buy them. However, if your only reason for going on message boards and ripping either device is because they are made by the “other team” then you need to really examine your priorities in life.

Enough with the fanboyism already. You know who you are 🙂

Agree with the above? Have a personal Cheer or Jeer for this past week? Let us know in the comments below!

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