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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launches worldwide

Before a game is actually released, it exists only as a collection of trailers, hands-on previews and a source of endless debate among people who haven't yet played it. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has existed in that form for quite some time, and now it finally exists as something more: a game you can buy from your local store.

Worldwide, launch parties are underway and gamers are rushing home to clog servers. Activision's press release cites over 13,000 retail locations from Sydney to London to New York City. GameStop's senior vice president of merchandising, Bob McKenzie, went so far as to call it "the most anticipated video game in history."

Of course he would say that. He wants you to buy it from the retail chain that employs him. He wants you to associate your excitement for Modern Warfare 3 with the Gamestop logo. Also, he may have a point.

"This watershed launch extends the legacy of the franchise like no other previous release," said Eric Hirshberg, Activision Publishing's CEO. "Combining the narrative punch and gameplay innovations of the next chapter in the Call of Duty: MOdern Warfare series with the unique services of Call of Duty Elite will bring Call of Duty gamers together in a cohesive, fan-focused environment like no other."

You've by now heard of Call of Duty Elite, a social gaming network that is available for free to all registered Call of Duty players. Its default form makes it easy to plan matches for clans, configure load-outs, access comprehensive stats and so forth. Those who are feeling especially wealthy can also pay a $49.99 annual fee and receive nine monthly DLC packages, a constantly updated Program Guide of daily competitions for virtual and real-world prizes, clan leveling and competitions and more.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC platforms and carries an MSRP of $59.99. A Wii version, developed exclusively for that platform by Treyarch (the developer responsible for last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops), retails for $49.99 and is also available now. The game is rated "M" for Mature audiences 17 and older, and the worst language you'll ever hear while playing it will probably be hurled in your direction by 13-year-old brats who are grateful for every day that their parents remain oblivious.

And no, I'm not just bitter because they're playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 right now and I'm not. Okay, maybe I am a little.

Reported by Jason Venter


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