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Psst, Call of Duty: Black Ops is out today. And be sure to enter Raptr's giveaway for some slick COD Gunnar shades.

News Blips:

Call of Duty: Black OpsRetailers across the country pulled out all the stops for the midnight release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. A total of 4,408 GameStop stores participated in the event, with fellow chains Walmart and Best Buy opening 2,700 and 700 stores, respectively. "As of last Friday we hit the largest number of reservations we've had on any release so far," said Bob McKenzie, GameStop's senior vice president of marketing and merchandising. Chris Poad, Amazon's gaming sector director, reported to GamesIndustry.biz that Black Ops "has more than double the preorders Modern Warfare 2 achieved at the same point." It looks like gamers don't really care for the name behind the game: Whether it's from Treyarch or Infinity Ward, Call of Duty games are guaranteed to fly off the shelves.

The Xbox Live Indie Games section returns to its rightful place in the Games & Demos section of Xbox Live. A recent dashboard update moved the games to the Specialty Shops tab, much to the vexation of independent developers who felt that their work wasn't reaching enough consumers. Microsoft defended its actions by stating the change would "bring focus" to Xbox Live's catalog of indie games. The move has since been reversed, and the games are now back in the Games & Demos section. Indie developers should get some special Achievement awards for such fruitful dissention.

Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinski describes the role of violence in the company's games. Speaking with the BBC, the mastermind behind the Unreal and Gears of War franchises cited violent content as "cartoon-like" rather than unnecessarily graphic. "The majority of what we implement into the game we do for feedback and interactivity, not because we're strange sadistic people who want to see how much blood we can put on the screen when you shoot one of the lizard creatures," he said. "We do it to let the player know you did in fact succeed, that you are hitting a target, and you need that kind of feedback in order to create what is a successful interactive experience." Watching my screen get doused in torrents of blood as I saw through something in Gears of War is feedback enough, Cliff.

TimeGate Studios (Section 8) Chief Executive Officer Adel Chaveleh thinks that companies who solely focus on retail are "in for a rude awakening." In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Chaveleh predicted that "it's just a matter of time" until digital distribution fully eclipses retail sales. "I think anybody would bet money on that. The momentum of online is only going to pick up, there's so many reasons for it to go that way," he said, adding, "Companies that are 100 percent focused on retail right now are in for a rude awakening in the near future."


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