With the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Activision is rolling out a campaign that gives gamers double XP for set time limits for redeeming coupons from Mountain Dew and Doritos. But is this kind of tie-in going too far? Is it unfair? Read on to get my view on it.
Last night while watching The Colbert Report I noticed that he talked a little about the recent campaign for Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare. I read the Forbes article that thoroughly decries this promotion as both being harmful due to contributing to the childhood obesity stats, and also giving people who buy enough of the product an unfair advantage. There are some valid points here, but I find that it might be blown a little out of proportion on most of the counts.
Now, I do have to agree with the main underlying point of the article; that being that this kind of campaign is more tacky than anything else. Granted this is far from the first or last product tie-in (Hell, I covered Nathan Drake shilling for Subway yesterday) but this might be one of the first -- at least that I remember -- that can give a person a competitive edge rather than just unlocking some cute or quaint but ultimately not unbalancing content.
Each of the product tie-ins will give the user a code that once input will give them double the XP amount for a limited period of time: anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes. And since levelling up gets you more perks and bonuses, being able to do so faster does give you a marked advantage compared to other people.
The thing is though, that the article states, "Now when players fire up the game next month, there’s no telling if those at higher levels have been playing twice as long and hard as you, or if they simply bought a ton of Mountain Dew and Doritos." I would argue that this will hardly be the case. Certainly there will be people out there that got to extremely high levels off of buying an ungodly amount of double XP time, but as is the case I've found with many games, getting the experience and the perks doesn't mean you know how to use them.
The people that "played fair" will undoubtedly have more experience in just about every aspect of the game: from the optimal load outs to where the best points are on the popular maps are for ambushes, counterstrikes and what have you. The double XP people might have some of this knowledge, but a lot of them might also be overconfident that their farmed abilities will grant them a permanent edge, only to find out rather quickly that people determined to become good at the game will be levelling up nearly as fast and also get a better grasp of the tactics at a much quicker pace, thus completely negating any competitive edge the people that bought a mountain of Mountain Dew or a flatbed's worth of Doritos had. Certainly there will be balance issues out of the gate that were not necessary, but time is the great leveller of any playing field, and I honestly believe that it will take less than more in this particular case.
As for the childhood obesity problem brought up by the article, I take the same stance as some of the commenters that replied that in this case if there are indeed kids playing this M rated game (which is already enough of a problem in some people's books) that the parents should be able to interject when their kids demand 90 litres of Mountain Dew or enough chips to choke an elephant. Certainly for the older gamers there isn't a dissenting voice for them, but I doubt that anyone is going to be running out and buying then eating a ton of these things all at once. The codes don't require you to eat or drink all the contents of your purchase at once, and older gamers -- even the "hardcore" ones -- I believe have more common sense than a lot of people give them credit for, and would rather not have a cereal made from Doritos and Dew for breakfast every morning for a month just to get some short term gains. And hey, if any of them do, that's their prerogative, let them deal with the inevitable fallout that their bodies will give them.
In closing, I repeat, I don't honestly think this campaign was a good idea. I personally find it tacky and obviously unbalanced. But is it going to ruin the multiplayer aspect of the game forever? No. And is it going to lead to even more health problems for the gamers of the world? Only if they're stupid enough to let it.