Activision’s Epic Call of Duty Event Elevates Esports
Call of Duty XP 2016 went way beyond the typical brand activation with a massive fan experience that celebrated the history of the franchise and showcased new experiences to come. It integrated a live-broadcasted consumer- and press-facing keynote presentation by Activision ceo Eric Hirshberg, a professional Call of Duty esports competition and a theme park engagement that included the opportunity to play a completely new game and a re-mastered version of a previous one. Cutting-edge production, multiple live-streaming platforms, RFID technology, gameplay, live experiences, entertainment and zombies (yep, zombies) engaged 30 million-plus global community members and generated billions of impressions.
Outside of the world of sports video games, Activision is the only major publisher to release a completely new game within a specific franchise each year: the critically acclaimed and fan favorite Call of Duty. In 2016, 14 years and 13 titles into the franchise, Activision was preparing to release Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and a re-mastered version of 2007’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. To engage its highly jaded millennial audience, Activision leveraged a formula: epic live experience + future technology and production = mind-blowing results.
The activation combined the power of three successful global events into one unprecedented experience: the global reveal of the new game by the ceo of Activision on the world stage; the Call of Duty Championships, a competition of the best 32 out of 1,000 teams; and the Call of Duty XP fan experience, which literally brought the legacy of the Call of Duty franchise to life in approximately two square mile blocks that combined digital, virtual and live experiences.
Held at The Forum in Los Angeles the event included 10 live broadcast streams, four satellite trucks, RFID maps and check-ins, social media integrations, digital and physical badging, alternative reality games, virtual reality demos, 1,200 feet of zipline, juggernaut cage fighting, more than 330 networked gameplay kiosks, and more, not to mention the first-ever Facebook Live integration that pushed gameplay directly to social channels creating 420,000 impressions out of 1.5 billion total impressions.
Custom-designed 48-foot-tall Hero Entry Towers modeled after in-game architectural elements and home screen theme music anchored the experience. In addition to the zipline flight and hands-on gameplay, there was a zombie-infested Spaceland Arcade and a football field-sized paintball course complete with 1950s-style tract homes and swing sets.
A custom-powered event app and branded RFID wristband helped attendees find their way through it all. And after the final match, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa closed out the four-day event.
Seriously, folks, does it get any better than this?