If you’re like most fans of Blizzard games, you cringe at every new gleam in Bobby’s Eyes, while hoping Blizzard will continue to hold off the financial encroachments the Activision brain trust continues to cook up. What’s the latest promotional scheme to fall like manna from heaven upon hapless Activision gamers? Hope you like Doritos and Mountain Dew.

    Mountain Dew and Doritos have partnered with Activision on a new promotion for “Modern Warfare 3” called “RankUpXP.” This promotion will allow gamers who redeem codes from Mountain Dew and Doritos products up to 24 hours of “double XP” gametime (time during which actions in the game result in double the rewards other players get ).

    …Activision seems dead set to kill the goose laying golden eggs. Core games, especially popular ones, consistently avoid “pay for performance” tactics. Activision might want to have asked Blizzard (whom they merged with) for advice. In “World of Warcraft,” gamers can spend money at the official store for vanity items only, not anything that changes gameplay (and players were more than happy to do so). In the upcoming “Diablo III,” Blizzard will be capitalizing on a “pay for performance” market, but only by facilitating one that is player to player.

    Blizzard has done promotional deals with Mountain Dew (and plenty of other products) in the past, so that’s not a big deal. That MW3 is basically using junk food as a cash shop is an odd twist, though. I know nothing about Modern Warfare 3 other than that the founders and developers of the series were abruptly fired after MW2’s fantastically successful debut, for what seemed to be entirely financial reasons by Bobby’s lawyers, so maybe the XP you’re getting from these “food” products isn’t a big deal, or maybe there are other ways to buy it while doing less damage to your wallet (and body fat).

    It does remind me of a news item from last year, about a rare bit of good news from Activision; that they’d declined to sell blatantly-invasive in-game advertising. Since I photoshopped up a silly picture of the Witch Doctor’s Firebats as new Fiery Ranch Doritos, I must include that image again in this post, and hope such sophisticated, high-brow humor doesn’t go over your heads.

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