It’s that time of year again when the big boys of the video game world come out to do battle as they vie for pride of place under our Christmas tree. As ever there is something for everyone, from Just Dance 3 for your little sister, to a 10th anniversary reworking of the original Halo game for your gun-toting Sci-fi nerd cousin.
However, the bloodiest battle for console dominance has already kicked off in earnest between the titans of the industry months before the Holiday season, as Electronic Arts and Activision go head to head in an epic marketing stand off to promote their latest shoot 'em ups - Battlefield 3 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Battlefield 3 (EA’s offering) is by far the rank outsider, and naturally is releasing its game a few weeks ahead of Activision’s billion-dollar Call Of Duty franchise. Despite the analysts suggesting the later will outsell Battlefield 2 to 1, there is plenty of weight behind the campaign, with a suggested $100 million marketing budget throwning up some interesting experiential stunts and genuine gaming innovations here in the UK
A series of 16 tonne Abbot tanks were out and about patrolling across Westminster in the run up to the midnight release of the game, all emblazoned with Battlefield 3 logos, helping commuters navigate the daily rush hour grind. Another mobile stunt in the integrated campaign invited users to recreate the 'Battle of Waterloo' via interactive outdoor advertising, which saw passers by using QR codes and NFC technology to interact with billboards and trigger downloads.
However, our favourite has to be the creation of a 360 degree gaming experience – in partnership with UK TV show The Gadget Show – which turns up the intensity of the game by actual getting you shot. Admittedly it’s only with paintball guns, but the use of an omni-directional treadmill and motion tracking makes this one of the most realistic gaming experiences we have ever seen.
As for Call of Duty, well... Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg has been talking it up as "the biggest media launch in history".
Let battle commence.