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Call of Duty fans get their own convention

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Call of Duty XP

World of Warcraft fans have an annual get-together. So do EverQuest players, and Quake aficionados.

Now the biggest game in the industry is launching its own shindig -- and you're invited.

Call of Duty XP, a convention for fans of the wildly popular shooter series, will have its inaugural gathering this September 2 and 3 in Los Angeles. Roughly 6,000 fans are expected to pay $150 per ticket to attend the event. Tickets go on sale July 19.

And, in a nice surprise, all of the money raised in ticket sales will be donated to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit charitable program run by Activision that helps veterans land jobs after returning from overseas missions.

"I've been here for just under a year myself, but I feel like the size of this franchise has reached such a critical mass that it just felt like a no-brainer to do something that would just thrill the fans and build that connection with the game," Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told Gamasutra.

The event is chock full of events that seem guaranteed to whip Call of Duty fans into a frenzy. Activision will unveil the multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 3 at the event, giving attendees hands-on time with the game. They'll also show the full functionality of Call of Duty: Elite, a premium service that adds a social layer and exclusive content (along with a monthly fee) to the game.

But the real fun comes in the extra: roundtable discussions with the game's developers, live entertainment, a tournament with $1 million in cash and prizes at stake and, most notably, real-life recreations of Call of Duty maps that attendees will be able to play in live-action paintball tournaments.

If you're not lucky enough to grab a ticket to the event, the paintball game is obviously out of the question, but that doesn't mean you're shut out entirely from Call of Duty XP. Activision says it will stream portions of the event like the keynote speeches, panels and game footage.

The celebration is more than just a fan event, of course. It also has marketing value. Modern Warfare 3 hits store shelves on Nov. 8. Two weeks prior to that, EA's Battlefield 3 will be available, a game that's expected to give Call of Duty a run for its money this year.

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