Stars come out for gaming party

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News, Los Angeles

image captionRihanna and Eminem peformed a duet

Games publisher Activision pulled out all the stops at its E3 event this year, with a plethora of A-list celebrities and musicians in attendance.

Eminem, Rihanna, Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction and Nerd all played a live set in front of 5,000 invited guests.

The event - held at Los Angeles Staples Centre which is home to the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers - also showcased the firm's latest games including Call of Duty: Black Ops, DJ Hero 2 and the latest instalment of Guitar Hero.

The skateboarder Tony Hawk also made an appearance on stage to promote his latest game, Tony Hawk Shred.

Notable absence

While much of the event was dedicated to entertaining the crowd, with a mixture of performing musicians and artists (including a pole dance performed at 75 feet), there was a little information on some of the games, with Tony Hawk saying the new game would "have a distinctly old school feel".

The event kicked off with a launch for DJ Hero 2, although this was mostly a solid mixing session from DJ's DeadMau5, David Guetta and Z-Trip, along with a set from Usher.

The next theme - Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock - saw a full choir perform Queen's classic Bohemian Rhapsody, before the stage was taken by Janes Addiction and Soundgarden.

The end of the night saw a set by Eminem, who was joined on stage for a duet by R&B artist Rihanna.

However, one notable absence was a new Call of Duty game from the developers Infinity Ward.

The last version, one of the big draws of E3 in 2009 - was released in November and has now grossed more than $1bn in revenue.

Call of Duty has been a major asset for Activision, helping to push its market value over the $14bn mark, nearly three times that of its closest rival Electronic Arts, which has a value of $5bn.

However, there has been an ongoing dispute between Activision and a number of former employees at Infinity Ward.

Until recently the studio was led by Jason West and Vince Zampella. Then in March this year they were suddenly dismissed by owner Activision for unspecified "breaches of contract and insubordination".

The dismissals triggered a wave of resignations from Infinity Ward with nearly half the workforce leaving the firm, including the lead designer and programmers who worked on Modern Warfare 2.

A number of lawsuits and counter claims have since been filed by West and Zampella, Activision, and a class action brought by former employees calling themselves the Infinity Ward Employee Group.

Prior to the Activison event, rivals Electronic Arts held a press conference where the officially announced a partnership between themselves and Respawn, a software development house started by Jason West and Vince Zampella, although no other details - such as any titles they might be working on - were available.

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