Tony Cade isn’t in the video game business, but recently at his comic book store in Stone Mountain, he picked up on several conversations about a particular game - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
“I know for a fact that I heard at least eight guys talking about that game in the middle of a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament,” Cade said.
At social gaming lounge Gamers Xperience in nearby Lithonia, owner Walter Smith said customers have been busy playing Modern Warfare 2 until they get their hands on the sequel, which comes out Nov. 8.
“People definitely are looking forward to it,” Smith said. The newest game will be available to play at the lounge on Thursday.
A number of local retail outlets that are having special events tonight leading up to the midnight release of Modern Warfare 3 are expecting a crowd of at least a couple hundred eager fans to pick up their copies and compete in tournaments.
The store in Stone Mountain is one of them.
“We will have plenty of GameStop game advisors ready to get fans through the lines quickly at midnight so they can get home and start playing the game,” said Mark Qualls, a Game Stop regional director in Atlanta, through e-mail correspondence.
As for crowd control? They’ve got this, Qualls said: “GameStop stores are the expert in the midnight event launches and our staff is well versed in crowd management.”
Starting at 8 p.m., the on Rockbridge Road is one of 2,700 of the retail giant's stores to have tournaments of the game tonight before its release. Local tournament prizes will include a copy of the new game.
Some businesses see the popularity of the games as a way to help a cause.
Besides a Call of Duty tournament on Saturday, Nov. 19, hosted by ATLgamers.com, Gamers Xperience will have a community food drive the next day, on Sunday, Nov. 20, where people who bring in a minimum of 10 cans of food can play all day for free.
So, for the novice, or the parent who’s hearing about this game from their kids for the umpteenth time, what’s the appeal of Modern Warfare 3, which is rated "M" for mature?
The game's title says it all, explained Gamer Chadd Franklin, CEO and founder of Chaddstournamentfuntime.com.
Previously, there were Call of Duty games set in World War 2, Franklin said. The wildly-successful “Black Ops,” first released last year, is set in the Cold War era.
With Modern Warfare, “people got to see how soldiers today fight wars as compared to soldiers of the past. The guns are different, the tactics are different," said Franklin, who will have a Modern Warfare 3 tournament in Douglasville on Wednesday.
One thing's for sure: somebody's getting very rich off this franchise. An article in USA Today reported that Modern Warfare 2 earned $401 million in sales (4.7 million copies) on its release date alone, Nov. 10, 2009.