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Take-Two Interactive and 2K Games announce Michael Condrey as President of New Studio

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Take Two Gaming and 2K Games, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Take Two Gaming, announced this morning that Michael Condrey has joined their company as the President of a New Game Development Studio located in Silicon Valley, CA.

Michael Condrey was the former Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games, a Activision studio which developed Call of Duty titles since 2010. Sledgehammer Games was founded by both Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield, both of whom joined Activision after leaving EA and Visceral Games.

Condrey and Schofield both left their positions as Studio Heads of Sledgehammer in early 2018 following the release of Call of Duty: WWII. Both were moved into certain “executive” roles within Activision for 2018, but then left Activision in late 2018.

The new studio will be developing an “unannounced project” under the 2K Games label. There’s no information yet if that title will be a first person shooter or a different type of game.

Here’s the announcement from Take Two:

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) and its wholly-owned label, 2K, today announced that video game industry veteran Michael Condrey has joined the Company as President of the label’s new game development studio based in Silicon Valley. Best known for co-founding Sledgehammer Games and leading development for the renowned Call of Duty franchise, as well as his roles as Chief Operating Officer and Director at Visceral Games in establishing the popular Dead Space franchise, Condrey will build and lead a new development team to work on an unannounced project.

Condrey brings more than 20 years of creative, production and development leadership experience to 2K. His industry acumen played an integral role in bolstering one of interactive entertainment’s most distinguished franchises of all time – Call of Duty – including the development of the award-winning, first-person shooter titles Call of Duty: WWII (2017), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011). Condrey also led creation of the third-person, survival-horror shooter Dead Space (2008), which earned Action Game of the Year honors at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ Interactive Achievement Awards, as well as guided the James Bond 007 franchise to critical and commercial success.

“At 2K, we offer our collective audience a variety of engaging and captivating entertainment experiences. We continually seek opportunities to empower and invest in the right people and ideas,” said David Ismailer, President at 2K. “Michael’s unparalleled creative, production and leadership accolades are well-documented and deserved. We are greatly inspired not only by his passion but the potential for his new studio to complement our existing portfolio and development expertise. We welcome Michael to the 2K family and look forward to seeing our new Silicon Valley studio flourish in the months and years to come.”

“Great games come from the passion of a team driven by the pursuit of quality and the empowerment of an independent studio model. 2K’s studios have creative and technical autonomy, backed by a world-class infrastructure of support, and that offers the perfect recipe to build a new studio and craft experiences that will lead the next generation of gaming for fans everywhere,” said Condrey. “David and the dedicated people at 2K and Take-Two have an extensive history of rich and established brands, as well as a long tenure of executive leadership committed to supporting the ambitions of their independent studio teams.”

“Today’s announcement represents a rare and special opportunity for developers to help build and shape a new Silicon Valley studio from the ground up,” added Condrey. “I couldn’t be more excited, or thankful, to embark on this next step in my career.”

The website for the studio is live here.

Call of Duty League

CDL Commissioner Johanna Faries set to be lead both CDL and OWL

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This week has been an interesting week for Activision Blizzard’s Esports division and leagues.

It was first reported earlier this week that Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez is in talks with Immortals to reacquire the OpTic Gaming brand. With that, H3CZ would also acquire the CDL LA Spot.

Since H3CZ is a part of NRG has Co-CEO with the Chicago Huntsmen, Activision’s rules state one organization cannot own two spots in the same league. Rumors of who H3CZ plans to sell the spot to is rampant, but no official information has been disclosed.

Late on Thursday, Esports Observed also reported that Pete Vlastelica, the Commissioner of the Overwatch League stepped down from his role.

Now, EsportsObserved reports that Johanna Faries, current Commissioner of the Call of Duty League, is expanding her role to become ‘Head of Leagues’ at Activision Blizzard. In this newly created position, she will lead both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League’s league administration and broadcast operations.

Brandon Snow, current Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports, is expanding his role to include marketing & analytics for the league. The former Chief Marketing Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports left in early September to be VP of DC Comics division of WarnerBros.

Both these new roles will take effect October 12, per EsportsObserved.

The first season of the Call of Duty League ended on August 31 with the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. The event featured the most viewers in Call of Duty esports history, capping off a dynamically changing year with the on going pandemic.

Call of Duty League’s second season is set to kick off in 2021 with some major changes. The league announced that it will return to a 4v4 format, leaving one player on each roster looking for another starting role. They also announced that matches will be played on PC using controllers going forward instead of extending the esports partnership with PlayStation.

Activision has not announced these changes officially at this time.

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Activision

Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer

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Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.

Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.

The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.

In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.

The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.

Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision files lawsuit against cheat manufacturer

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Activision filed a lawsuit to sue a company responsible for creating hacks and exploits for Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has sued CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to use in Call of Duty, the company announced.

CXCheats claims on their website that they are “dedicated to quality.”

This is a pathetic marketing line to convince users to buy cheats to use in Call of Duty.

The owner announced on Discord (message posted to Reddit) that they are removing Warzone cheats from their site.

Announcement Message

As some of you may know, Activision Publishing, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against CXCheats and has made it clear to us that our services violate their Terms of Use.

As a result of our lawsuit with Activision, we have agreed to cease development and support for all Call of Duty related products or services sold through the site. These products will not be returning to CXCheats in any form. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in Call of Duty may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Activision Publishing, Inc. or the game’s developers. We apologize for any pain we’ve caused to players of Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Warzone has been experiencing an intense amount of hackers since the game’s launch on March 13 on the PC platform.

With cross play, the hacks impacted the console players as well. PS4 players have opted to disable cross play to avoid them. Xbox players currently cannot disable cross play for unknown reasons.

CXCheats said on Discord that any user found using their software in Warzone will be banned, permanently.

Any user who utilizes unauthorized third-party software to gain an unfair advantage, manipulate stats, and/or manipulate game data is subject to penalty. Unauthorized third-party software includes, but is not limited to, aimbots, wallhacks, trainers, stats hacks, texture hacks, leaderboard hacks, injectors, or any other software used to deliberately modify game data on disk or in memory.

As of now, Activision has not commented on the lawsuit.

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