a live-action ad for Call of Duty: Black Ops debuted, depicting Jimmy Kimmel, Kobe Bryant and seemingly everyday people waging war in a desert battlefield. Some people were upset to see the Lakers star wielding an assault rifle, especially ESPN -- there was a discussion criticizing Kobe for his participation in the commercial. "He's smiling while wielding an assault rifle in combat while we have troops overseas at this moment doing that same thing for real, in combat," ESPN's Skip Bayless said of Bryant.
Activision isn't sweating it, though. In an interview with IndustryGamers, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg criticized any network who would complain about the content of the ad, yet accept the money to air it on their network. "I'm going to put it in air quotes, which you can't see, but the 'controversy' surrounding Kobe Bryant I find very hypocritical. Those same networks that are now questioning Kobe's inclusion in this had no problem accepting the ad and approving the ad, and accepting the dollars to run the ad on their networks. Are they being irresponsible to their fan base by running the ad on their networks? Because if it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander. I find that to be very hypocritical."
Hirshberg also added that the core audience Activision was going for with the ad really seemed to enjoy it, so at the end of the day he considers it a job well done. "The thing that I'm most happy about and relieved about is it seems to be getting an almost universally positive response from the gaming community." He's right -- at least, when it comes to that Joystiq site, anyway.