See our updated post on the map pack debuting today.
Activision Blizzard confirmed today that it will launch its Call of Duty Black Ops Escalation map pack on the Xbox Live online gaming service on May 3. The announcement confirms a previous leak that the map pack, the second for Black Ops since the game launched last November, is on its way.
As proven by sales of previous Call of Duty map packs, the launch of this kind of downloadable content is as huge as a new blockbuster game on the consoles. The company said today that users have played the Black Ops game online for more than 2 billion hours.
I’ve actually put more than 60 hours into the multiplayer combat version of the game, which is second to none, in my opinion. I’m at the equivalent of level 88 (since you can get up to level 50 and then start over again).
The new map pack will have five maps, entitled Zoo, Hotel, Convoy, Stockpile, and the zombie map Survive. The price wasn’t listed, but previous map pack First Strike was sold on Xbox Live for 1200 Microsoft Points, or $15. (See the smack talk from EA’s chief executive about Call of Duty). First Strike sold more than 1.4 million copies on Xbox Live on its first day of sales.
Call of Duty Black Ops is one of the best-selling video games of all time, with sales of more than $1 billion since the launch in November. Activision Blizzard previously launched its First Strike map pack in February.
As we noted before, if video games are the new Hollywood, map packs and downloadable content are smart ways to satisfy the insatiable thirst that some gamers have for sequels. Instead of coming years later, though, these downloadable expansions to existing games keep players addicted to a recently released title.
“In crafting the Escalation multiplayer maps — Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile — the team developed them to be distinct experiences in their own right, giving players the variety they crave in both setting and gameplay,” said Treyarch Studio Head, Mark Lamia, in a statement. “And I don’t want to spoil any surprises for Zombies fans, but Call of the Dead takes it to a whole new level.”
Activision Blizzard said some time ago that it had sold more than 20 million Call of Duty map packs, generating more than $300 million in sales. So it’s clear that map packs are a big business, and video game publishers may want to avoid publishing rival games on May 3, since gamers will be a little busy.
On the weekend of May 6, Black Ops players can earn double the amount of experience points in each match they play.