According to Anders Behring Breivik’s Facebook profile, now deleted but immortal in an archived PDF form, the Norwegian terrorist was a gamer, playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The terrorist was responsible for killing more than 80 (the number continues to rise) youth camped on the island of Utøya. While his motives are unclear, Anders Behring Breivik tweeted a John Stuart Mill quote, “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests,” days before the attack, and uploaded a YouTube “manifesto” (see 2083 A European Declaration of Independence.zip if you want to read the plagiarized document) including the following image:
According to his manifest/diary, he viewed “Call of Duty, Modern Warfare” as “a good alternative as well” to marksmanship training:
I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there and it’s one of the hottest games this year. I played MW1 as well but I didn’t really like it as I’m generally more the fantasy RPG kind of person – Dragon Age Origins etc and not so much into first person shooters. I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I’ve still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations.
While the link between violent video-games and real-life violence is subject to much debate, the use of ultra-realistic games as effective simulator trainers, either for flying airplanes, carrying out military missions, or learning other skills, is indisputably an issue. In today’s world, when one can lookup how to make bombs online and practice shooting in Call of Duty, anyone could become a one-man-terrorist.
Kotaku has more commentary on the role of Video Games in this act of terrorism . For more general information, see At Least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting from the New York Times and Follow Up of the Day: Norway Attacks Suspect Identified.
Update: Slashdot has published The Oslo Massacre and Violent Video Games: the Facts, decrying “media hysteria” about the role of videogames in committing this act of terrorism.
Although it was speculated that the Modern Warfare® 2:
Stimulus Package, which cost 1200 Microsoft xBox live gamer points (~$15), would fail due its premium pricing (also known as high cost), a press release delivered today from Activision assures us that this and other DLC packs for the Call of Duty series have been a massive success, selling more than 20 million units in total.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug 02, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced that during the quarter ended June 30, 2010, life-to-date map packs for the Call of Duty(R) franchise surpassed 20 million units. Call of Duty remains the #1 best-selling first-person action franchise in the U.S. and Europe, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and GfK, and has consistently raised the bar for the video game industry with its innovative and engaging online multiplayer experiences and downloadable content offerings. The most recent map pack for the franchise, the Call of Duty(R): Modern Warfare(R) 2 Resurgence Pack, was released on June 3 for the Xbox LIVE(R) online entertainment network and on July 6 and 7 for the PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system and Windows(R) PC
That’s $300M of revenue from a few tiny pieces of downloadable content for a popular game. To me, that proves that DLC-premium-added videogames have a working business. As long as your game is popular enough, you will be able to aggressively release and price DLC.
What do you get for your $15? Microsoft describes the “Stimulus Package” DLC as:
The best-selling Xbox 360 game of all-time just got bigger, with more epic multiplayer content, first on Xbox LIVE! The Stimulus Package delivers 5 additional action-packed multiplayer maps featuring a variety of locations: “Bailout,” a multi-level apartment complex; “Storm,” an open industrial park littered with heavy machinery; “Salvage,” a snowy junkyard fortified by stacked debris and crushed cars. Two legendary fan-favorites from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare return, including “Crash,” a war-torn urban environment; and “Overgrown,” which features a massive dry creek bed.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author had an investment interest in Activision-Blizzard common stock.