Modern Warfare 2 map pack hits Xbox Live March 30

[UPDATE] First add-on to controversy-stricken Call of Duty game arrives on Microsoft's console in three weeks; PS3, PC DLC coming afterward; game reaches 25 million unique players across all platforms.

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Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling's Twitter feed is often the first source of all official news regarding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Today, he used it to make two major announcements about the game. First off, he revealed the first downloadable map pack for the popular shooter will arrive "in three weeks," or on March 30. He also pointed to a tongue-in-cheek teaser site for the packs, Mapathy.com.

First revealed at Microsoft's 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo press briefing, the map pack will debut on Xbox Live. It is the latest collaboration between the publisher Activision and Microsoft, which also released a limited edition, 250GB Xbox 360 Modern Warfare bundle alongside the game in November. According to another Bowling tweet, "Both PS3 and PC will receive the DLC at a--yet to be announced--later date."

"Three weeks? But I want to kill now!"

No further details about the Modern Warfare 2 downloadable content have been made public, including its price and contents. The DLC will likely be an instant hit, though, as the map packs released for Call of Duty: World at War each sold over 1 million units within days of their release in 2009.

[UPDATE] Activision has since officially dubbed the DLC as the "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package," and confirmed a simultaneous release in North America and Europe. It also said that from March 12-15, Xbox Live Silver (i.e. non-paying) members can play Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox Live for free.

Bowling also revealed today that, combined, all three versions of Modern Warfare 2 have 25 million unique users. "Most on Xbox 360, then a close second goes to PS3, will [sic] millions more on PC," he tweeted. Released in 2009 to critical acclaim, the game brought in $550 million for Activision within its first week of availability and $1 billion within two months.

While normally the map pack announcement would be universally celebrated by Call of Duty fans, it comes one week after the franchise was plunged into controversy. Last Monday, Activision fired Infinity Ward president Jason West and CEO Vince Zampella on charges of "insubordination" and "breach of contract." Within 24 hours, the publisher announced plans to expand the first-person shooter brand into other genres, including action adventure games and Asian-produced massively multiplayer titles.

With at least three more Call of Duty titles in the works, West and Zampella are now suing Activision for $36 million and control of the Modern Warfare brand. The pair accused the company of trumping up the charges and conducting an "Orwellian" HR investigation so it could fire the two developers rather than pay them royalties. According to Zampella and West's suit, the Call of Duty franchise has brought in $3 billion since 2003--the same year Activision acquired Infinity Ward.

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