Call of Duty "Rank Up XP" Promo Draws Ire

Does a new promo for Modern Warfare sink to a new low?

By , Contributor

Activision must have thought they had a perfect plan: create a worthwhile promo not only for Mountain Dew and Doritos, but also for their upcoming military shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Players who begin downing excessive amounts of Dew will have a trade-off for their dwindling health - double experience points in their freshly torn asunder copy of Activision's latest wartime spectacle.

Depending on the product purchased, double experience in-game could last 15 minutes (20 oz Dew) to an hour and a half (24-pack). In other words, gamers will consume more of the sugary and caffeinated beverage than should be legal, all to rank up as rapidly as possible.

A Forbes writer takes issue with the promotion though, considering it a "new low." Paul Tassi continues:

"Why is this a problem? Because XP is currency in these games, and whoever has more of it first is at a distinct advantage. More XP, especially when the game is new, means more weapons, more perks, more attachments, more killstreaks, and subsequently, usually more wins."

His statements on other industry effects also ring true:

"... for a franchise that’s already been accused of pushing the limits with “Elite” monthly membership and overpriced map packs, it goes to show that Activision will exploit its fans in any way they can."

codmw32.jpgOn that note, he nails the problem with a Thor-sized hammer. In an effort to fully secure my total and complete geeky gamer stereotype, I'll gladly down gallons of Dew for some extra points. That's not breaking the game.

Simply put, there's always someone who has less of a life than most anyway, breaking level barriers long before the expectation. Activision intricately balances competitive multiplayer to ensure those who just shelled out $60 are on line with those who did 24 hours prior, or even a week earlier.

The crux of the problem is the cash required. It's one thing to offer double XP in a promo, but it's another not to offer any alternative. No, there's no speed requirement in Call of Duty. Players can take their leisurely time knocking out military upgrades for their soldier. Unlike most legal contests though, there's no other means to access said codes (although surely eBay will be flooded with them soon enough).

Most video game tie-ins with Doritos (and there have been plenty) were for free copies, or something like Dr. Pepper's recent stint with EA for free downloadable content. That's a promo. What Activision is doing reeks of a miserable cash grab for both sides, showing total disrespect for not only the consumer, but the loose sanctity of their product.

It's so far removed from the art, it's docking players health points and dollars just to keep it moving. Health points is how life works, right?

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Matt Paprocki is a 13-year veteran of the video game, movie, and home media scene. He has written thousands of reviews, has been published on a variety of websites, and contributes his thoughts daily on a diverse range of topics.

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