Call of Duty XP 2011: Activision Announces Its First-Ever FPS Fan Fest

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From book clubs to cat lovers to germaphobes, you’ve got online communities for just about everything. And, occasionally, they’ll do meet-ups, so that everyone can put faces and real names to the people who share their passions. Someone will say,  "Hey, I like sticking tweezers into surge protectors, too!" And someone else will ask, "What brand of tweezers do you use?" And so on.

Activision’s doing the same thing for Call of Duty players, but without the threat of electrocution. The game publisher’s going to be hosting Call of Duty XP 2011, a two-day celebration of its ultra-successful war game franchise happening this Labor Day weekend.

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The community event will take place on 12 acres of Los Angeles real estate, where activities will include a competitive multiplayer tournament with a grand prize of $1 million and entertainment from yet-to-be-revealed celebrities.

Attendees will also be the first ones to get hands-on time with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, says, " It’s going to be the ultimate Call of Duty fan experience. We’re striving to set a new bar for these kinds of live, fan-based, experiences."

It should be noted that Activision’s sister company Blizzard has been holding its own fan event called BlizzCon for years now, but COD XP will be an Activision event all the way.

And what’s all the square footage going to be used for, you ask? Well, how about a real-life version of a COD multiplayer map? Attendees of XP 2011 will be able to engage in paintball skirmishes in a real-world version of The Pit, a popular multiplayer map from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. There will also be recreations of the Burger Town fast food restaurants that pop up in COD games and an armory/museum featuring the gear used in the franchise’s virtual conflicts.

In addition to all the bragging and fragging, fans hankering to know about the new co-op and competitive tweaks to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3‘s multiplayer offering will also get the first details at XP 2011. Want to know the full deal on what’ll be free and what won’t on Call of Duty Elite, the social platform that will house all your COD activity? XP 2011 will have news on that, as well. Hirshberg explained, "There will be a role for Elite leading up to the event and during the event. We are going to use the Elite beta, which is going on over the summer, as part of the qualifying rounds for the big XP tournament."

And how many people is Activision ready to welcome and how much will getting into XP cost? The publisher says that they’re expecting around 6,000 people to show up and that admission will cost $150 a head.

Before you start groaning about how much money they’ll be making off loyal fans, know that Activision’s donating 100% of proceeds to the Call of Duty Endowment. C.O.D.E is a charity that helps veterans and soldiers coming off active duty transition back to civilian life with job placement assistance. In fact, the cost of putting on XP 2011 will be more than Activision will earn from it, so they’ll be mounting the show at a loss—if you’re enough of a COD fan to open your wallet for XP tickets, the cash will be going to a worthy cause.

But if you can’t go, you’ll still be able to get almost the full experience. "Through social media and through our digital connected universe," Hirshberg says, "we’re going to create the ability to be there without being there through a constant stream of high-production value videos, a constant stream of status updates, photos, posted interviews, and posted keynote speeches." Since Microsoft is co-sponsoring the $1 million dollar tournament, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to watch streams of COD XP 2011 exclusively on Xbox Live.

More news on the Call of Duty XP 2011 event—like who’ll be performing at the show—will be rolling out in the weeks to come. "We’re super excited about it," offers Hirshberg. "We want to set a new standard that’s befitting of the Call of Duty brand and do something really special."

So get cracking on Black Ops multiplayer and jump on the Elite beta as soon as it opens if you want a shot at the big money. As with all things COD, competition’s sure to be fierce.

MORE: Activision Unveils ‘Call of Duty Elite,’ a Facebook for Frags